A girly weekend in Paris

A few months ago, my girlfriend Dot and I, rather impulsively decided to head to Paris for a girly weekend. Over dinner and wine (once we received our respective husbands' go ahead), we bought our train tickets and booked our hotel.

One of my favourite things about living where we live is our proximity to this iconic French city, which still remains one of my favourite cities in the world. It takes a mere three hours by train from Karlsruhe to Paris, which makes me wonder why I don't make the journey more often! Oh yeah, I have kids. And as much as I love Paris, it is certainly not the easiest city to navigate with a double stroller in tow!

View from our hotel room at the Hyatt Etoile Paris
Thankfully, on this occasion, it was just Dorothy and I with our single hand luggages, so moving around was not a problem. Unlike the last time when I visited the city and went everywhere on foot, this time, we traveled a lot using the Metro system, which was fairly easy to decipher once you got the hang of it.

A chicken Panini and a glass of wine at the Montmartre
We didn't really have much time to sight-see as we were only there for two nights, so we decided to keep it simple by only going to the places/attractions we/I haven't been. We arrived in Paris at lunchtime, and after checking into our hotel, we took the Metro to Montmartre where we stopped for a quick bite to eat, before taking the funicular up to the Basilica di Sacre Coeur.

Basilica di Sacre Coeur
Time for a selfie
What an amazing cathedral!
The view of Paris from the top of Montmartre was breathtaking. Although crowded and teeming with people, we found some room on the steps at the top of the hill to sit and enjoy the view of the city below for awhile. It was a glorious, sunny, blue-skied day - the best kind of day to sit back, people-watch, and thank God that you're lucky enough to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

View from the Basilica di Sacre Coeur
Hi, Paris!
After Montmartre, we decided to head back to the hotel to freshen up and go out for some dinner. I was tired and still recovering from a stomach bug, but thankfully our hotel is located in a great location with plenty of restaurants right outside our doorsteps so we didn't have to go far for some delicious food.

Calamari, Mussels and Anchovies!
We had dinner at Leon of Bruxelle's where Dot introduced me to deep-fried anchovies, which were utterly addictive! If you're hankering for mussels, Leon is also apparently THE place to go, judging from the many pots of steaming mussels that were making its way from the kitchen to tables. 

Unfortunately, I didn't want to risk unsettling my just-recovered tummy, so I settled for some delicious but not-very-French Fish and Chips instead.

Arch de Triumph
After dinner, we took a short walk to the Arch de Triumph, where there were hundreds of people (looking like little bugs from where we stood at the bottom), standing atop the iconic structure! One day I'll have to check out the view from the top for myself!

A statue of Louis XIV
The next day was all about Versaille. The train to get there from Paris takes about 45-minutes, but it took us nearly an hour and a half because we caught the wrong train connection. Nevertheless, it was worth the early morning and the mistake, because the palace and its gardens were simply breathtaking!

Queue to visit the Versailles Palace
ACTUALLY, we made several mistakes. We'd pre-booked for a guided tour of the palace at 1pm before our visit, but upon heading into the grounds in the morning, we were ushered into a long queue which we assumed were to get into the palace grounds AND gardens. 

We'd wanted to walk around the gardens before meeting our tour guide in front of the palace gates after lunch. We ended up waiting in the queue for an hour and a half before finally talking to someone and realising that we could have just gone a different way directly into the gardens, and then come out again to go for our guided tour without being in the queue at all! 

Bye, bye, queue!
In front of the Versailles gates
When we finally realised our mistake, we'd already wasted most of the morning and only had an hour before our tour was about to start, but it was still enough time to grab some lunch and rest our aching feet.

Thankfully, the restaurant Ore by Alain Ducasse is located right at the entrance to the Versailles Gardens, and we immediately headed there to fill our tummies and indulge in some much needed wine!

Ore by Alain Ducasse
We deserve a treat!
A light and delicious lunch to carry me through the day
With our tummies finally satiated and our bodies rested, we met up with our tour group at 1pm and went directly into the castle (no queueing if you've bought tickets for a guided tour!), spending a good hour and a half learning about the history of Versailles and its very interesting occupants!

Portrait of Marie Antoinette and her children
Us at the Royal Courtyard
Such beautiful and intricate designs
The castle and its majesty and beauty far surpassed my imagination. The guided tour was so worth it, and I'd highly recommend going this route to anyone wanting to visit! Not only do you not need to be caught in the hours-long queue, but for only a few euros more, we were able to see rooms that were not available to the general public, as well as learn with more depth the history, architecture and stories of how these rooms came to be. 

The Porcelain Dining Room

The Opera House
The Opera was hands down my favourite room in the castle. I could have stayed in there marvelling at the architecture, design, paintings and structure of the room all day!

Hall of Mirrors
After a few hours of walking around inside the castle, we were, however, glad to be heading outside to the Gardens for some fresh away, and away from the back-to-back crowd.

It is easy to see why most people spend about two days visiting Versailles. If you think the palace grounds is huge, the gardens are even more vast and breathtaking!

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One of many fountains in Versailles!
How beautiful is the landscape at the Orangery!? 
Latona's Fountain
We spent another couple of hours exploring the gardens, before calling it a day (mostly because our feet were screaming in agony) and heading back to the hotel!

Confit De Canard
Dinner was a simple but oh-so-delicious Duck Confit with creamy mash potatoes, at one of the many restaurants in front of our hotel because we were both practically falling asleep while walking there. It was a comforting and heartwarming end to a tiring, but oh-so-wonderful day!

Breakfast at Paul
The next day was dedicated to shopping, and also some mouth-watering treats at Angelina's before we caught the train back to Germany. I had the signature Mont Blanc dessert, while Dot indulge in some Chocolat Chaud, which was the perfect end to our little girly getaway.

One of the best Patisseries in town!
The signature Mont Blanc at Angelina
Au Revoir, Paris!
It was a short but perfectly sweet, and much needed getaway for the both of us. It reminded of why I love this iconic city so much, and of how much there is still for me to discover! I'm already counting the days till the next time I can visit again and explore more facets of this wonderful city.

Until next time, Au Revoir!


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