By far, one of our most favorite places we visited in Europe was Versailles. I had no idea we would love it as much as we did, but it was a place Maika and I will remember forever. First, we travelled by train (Eurostar) from the London St Pancras International Station to the Paris Gare du Nord Station and it was such a smooth, relaxing ride. We booked most of our train tickets online prior to the trip and next week I’ll share some of our tips for how we booked all our hotels, B&B’s, trains, etc.
We stayed in Paris for a couple nights and we weren’t sure what to expect. On one hand, I was fantasizing about how romantic it would be- after all, it’s “The City of Love”, right? But on the other, we had heard the Parisians were not the friendliest towards Americans. Well, our fears were put aside quickly as we met the couple we were staying with- they were just the sweetest people!
It had taken us a bit longer than expected to find our way to the Trocadero area, where we were staying. The maps and street names at the station were all in French and it took us a few minutes to get our bearings. On a side note, the underground train stations in Paris were just as efficient as London’s, but not quite as pleasant smelling- beware! When we got to the Trocadero area, we ascended from the underground station to find that it was pouring rain! But not to worry, I had a poncho AND an umbrella ready to go and my wonderful husband maneuvered our bags up the street to our place. The couple we stayed with was so welcoming and their dog, Nala, was perfectly adorable and snuggly- it was really nice to have a pup around since we were missing our dog, Hachi.
We had arrived late in the afternoon, so we took a quick nap and headed out for a little night adventuring. Our first experience with French food was to die for! The Trocadero is filled with restaurants all within a short walking distance of some of the best views of the Eiffel Tower. We just popped into the closest one and the first thing on the menu was a cheese platter- sign me up! Oh, and I credit that restaurant with starting Maika’s obsession with Tiramisu. After eating, I was bubbling with excitement! I couldn’t believe I was about to see the Eiffel Tower- something I had been dreaming about for so long. As we walked hand in hand towards the tower, I caught Maika watching me- I probably looked like a kid on Christmas morning- smiling from ear to ear. We came around a corner and there it was, in all its sparkling glory. The area was bustling like it was a celebration and it was so exciting to see!
I love you so much @quickmotion87!! Thank you for an amazing three years- I’m so happy to be your wife and to be able to say that every year together has just gotten better and better. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us this year!! A photo posted by Cherie Mariko Murashige (@cheriemariko) on
The next day we were off to Versailles on a tour that we booked on Viator.com. Let me preface this by saying that while this was by far one of the best experiences we had in Europe, we think that booking the “skip the line” tour was one of the keys to the wonderful day we had. That line can get up to a few hours long and that would definitely take some of the fun out of the whole experience. Also, while the palace was cool to check out, the gardens were definitely the best part about Versailles, to us. Wandering around, learning about the lesser known stories about the gardens and the royal family- I couldn’t get enough!
For the second time on this trip, I watched my husband, Maika, the self-proclaimed hater of history lessons, just eating up all the stories about the French kings and Versailles. He particularly liked the fountains and insisted on taking a photo of each one of them. So cute!
This was one of our favorite spots!
After the tour, we wanted to see as much as possible in the time we had left, so we rented a golf cart (a slow golf cart) and went to some of the further areas of the gardens. I was swooning the whole time! If I had known how much we were going to love it there, I definitely would have planned to spend the whole day there, rather than just a half day. There was so much more to see, like Marie Antoinette’s Little Hamlet, but I didn’t wear my walking shoes and we had a train to catch. I can’t wait to return to Paris so I can visit this beautiful place again!
Things we would do if we go back:
1. Wear walking shoes.
2. Pack a picnic (complete with baguettes and macaroons because you just have to).
3. Tour The Queen’s Hamlet.
4. Rent a boat or a bike… or both!
5. Get more of that AMAZING strawberry dessert we had at the bakery in the gardens.
6. Bring my Contax to shoot all this beauty on film. Or even better, photograph a couple here/have a photographer friend take our photos!