Paris - Day 3
Last evening we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at a nearby restaurant called Les Marches. Originally, we had reservations at another restaurant much further away from the hotel, but decided yesterday morning to dine somewhere closer.
Keith had spoken with the concierge at the hotel. He asked for a recommendation of a place which served traditional French cuisine.
The restaurant is very popular with locals. If you want something modern this is not the place to go but that is not what we were looking for. It is a good thing we had reservations because all of the tables were reserved and the ones outside were full as well. Our reservation was for 7:30 PM when the restaurant opened and by 8:00 PM there was not an open table.
The restaurant was a short walk from the hotel. We made a right turn out of the hotel and walked a few blocks and made another right and looked for the steps to our right and the restaurant was close to the foot of the steps. Easy peasy.
We each had salads and Anne Marie had a delicious piece of beaf while Keith had the fish of the day which was Cod. They each came with sauces on the side, but the food was so tasty that we didn't even use a drop of the sauce. We each had wine to accompany the meal; rose for Anne Marie and a Cabernet/Merlot blend for Keith. We skipped dessert as we shared a pastry back at the hotel.
Before leaving the hotel we enjoyed the view from the Terrace.
We returned to the hotel on a different route so we could enjoy the views of the Seine River. The weather was very nice and it was a pleasant walk.
We had breakfast out on the terrace and had cereal, fresh fruit and we shared a pastry. We prefer this style of cereal to what we often see back home as it is not coated with sugar. It was very quiet outside as we enjoyed the view of the EiffelTower and other nearby areas surrounding the Hotel.
A few months ago Keith arranged a private tour for us with the concierge of the hotel of Versailles. We had a tour guide along with a driver to take us over to Versailles. Our drive took us by the venue for the French Open.
The palace was first built by Louis XIII in 1623 as a hunting lodge. It was built with brick and stone. Under Louis XIV is was enlarged to a palace. He oversaw so much of its work as he wanted to be involved with just about every detail imaginable with a lot of emphasis on the outside due to his love of outdoors and hunting. Some additions were made under Louis V. It underwent multiple expansions between the 17th and 18th centuries. Around the time of the French Revolution the Palace went through a good deal of disrepair. Although some work to begin to restore it took place under Napoleon and Louis XVIII the major restoration effort was begun by Louis-Philippe.
Our tour was amazing. The drive to the Palace took thirty minutes and because of the tour guide we didn't have to wait on long lines to enter the Palace. Our tour guide Louise walked us through each room that was open to the public highlighting key paintings and sculptures including their history and what each room was used for. We learned a great deal about the Palace.
About thirty minutes after we entered the Palace many rooms became crowded with tourists many whom were wearing headsets. We then proceeded outside to the gardens. At the area right outside the Palace there were several tourists but that all changed as we walked the entire grounds and that included walking all around the groves and into secret areas. Most tourists touring on their own didn't realize there were all of these hidden gems since they could not easily see them. For the vast majority of the walk we saw just a few tourists. Louise told us all about its history and why things were the way they were. We could not get over the sheer size of the area and its beauty and learned that there are two-hundred people tending to the gardens.
We can't say enough about our tour guide. She provided a wealth of information but didn't continually talk and sound like a broken record (CD) and she spoke excellent english and also easily answered all of our questions.
With rain in the forecast we decided to make lunch our large of the meals. We had the concierge book us reservations at a restaurant located fifteen minutes from the hotel on foot called Le Stella. Rather then having the driver take us back to the hotel we arranged to be dropped off at the restaurant. The restaurant was terrific. The menu was all in french but with Keith's extensive knowledge of the French language from his years in Junior and Senior High School no worries. Well, extensive knowledge is an overstatement but we managed quite well. The food was delicious. Most of the people dining spoke French. About five minutes into our walk back to the Hotel it started to drizzle. Once we got up to our room we heard a large noise of thunder and it started to pour and became very windy so as they say timing is everything and we lucked out with it today.
Some photos from lunch. We ate under an overhang outside. We each had salad, salmon and spinach.
TODAY'S THOUGHT FOR THE DAY........
It is important to preserve our world-wide history. This palace is a good example of that. A great deal has been done to restore this palace and that work continues. Money comes from donations, from tour visits, from individuals and corporations and from the French Government and this includes not only money from French people but from others including individuals, foundations and companies from various areas including the United States of America. We learn so much from history. Today also was another example of the importance of seeing things through your own eyes. We have read about Versailles and have seen photos of the inside and outside of the Palace but this pales in comparison to seeing it all in-person.
Anne Marie & Keith