What an amazing few days it’s been. We arrived in Paris after about 24 hours of leaving Darwin. We wandered around Singapore for about 5 hours before the 14 hour leg to Paris – dimmed cabin lights for most of the way – a long night.

We arrived in Paris in the early morning and made our way to Montmartre. The trains in the city were not operating so we used a combination of metros and buses from the airport. Forgot about all the steps so lugged our bags around getting extra exercise…all part of the adventure. We were lucky the weather was beautiful – nice and fresh with blue skies.

Paris-Montmartre

After checking in at Montmartre, we wandered around to explore the area. On the way to Basilique du Sacré Cœur, there were quite a few tacky souvenir shops which we couldn’t remember being there when we visited several years ago. Besides that the place is wonderful, full of atmosphere.

Love wandering around the square to watch all the portrait artists at work and people sitting around enjoying a drink at the cafes. Took photos of the view of Paris from the top of the hill, wandered around some back streets and went to the Dali museum.

It is light until about 9:30 pm which is great for exploring. We returned exhausted and had a good sleep to recover from our jet lag.

Versaille

Unfortunately I messed up the bookings so we were due in Versaille to pick up the hire car the next day and we also wanted to visit the castle so we needed to get there and visit the castle and gardens on the same day. A helpful lady at the train station printed out the best route to get us to Versaille, about 20 km away. We dragged our luggage along cobbled streets, up and down the stairs of the Metro and took a train out of the Paris CBD to Versaille. Found our apartment and dropped off our bags early then set off to visit the famous castle and its gardens. We had read that the queues were unbelievable and they were, even with a pre-booked ticket you still have to line up for security checks!

When we got there, the queue was so long they estimated that it would take an hour and a half to get through security, so we went to the gardens first.

When we came back several hours later, the line up was much shorter – only about half an hour to get in. The castle is massive and its opulence is over the top. It was built in the mid 17th century during the reign of Louis XIV.

Versaille castle is now ticked off the list and after 26,000 steps, we hobbled home.

Giverny

The next morning we walked to the car rental company and after some messing around (by the car hire company), we picked up our car and nervously set off towards Giverny – 76 km northwest of Paris. Bruce might write a post about driving on the right (wrong) side of the road.

We wanted to visit Claude Monet’s (the founder of French Impressionist painting) beautiful gardens and house. You can see the beautiful lily ponds that became the subject of his best known works. It really was like standing in an Impressionist painting.

The gardens were a mixture of free growing flowers of widely different shapes and colours – so different to the manicured and organised gardens of Versaille and others we have seen.

I liked checking out the studio-lounge room with his great big easel and works hanging around. It was also interesting to see his collection of Japanese prints and beautiful kitchen. After quite a few hours in Giverny we had to head on to our accomodation in Honfleur.