I am both sad and happy. Sad that my first Canon SLR died in France...Happy to get the new Canon 7D which does both great photos and HD video too. Now the fun begins as I learn all the new features and buttons. I really need to find a good photography course...I love taking pictures, have the right tools, now need the skills to take my photography to the next level. I just ordered some books to get me started while I find the right course to take.
We took lots of pictures of the architecture and scenery in Paris. Here are some of the highlights:
View from Eiffel Tower
We decided to take a day trip to Brussels, Belgium. We took a train and it was a wonderful way to travel and it was only and a 1 1/2 hour train trip. In Brussels, we took the double decker bus tour to tour the city. We spent most of our day in the grand place square where there are beautiful buildings, many chocolate chops and little restaurants. We also found a small craft fair during our stroll where I got an interesting pendant. We sampled lots of chocolates and had the best caramel hot chocolate. Ummm good! We brought home some too.
Blonde Beer in Belgium
We took a segway tour our last full day in Paris. The weather started out rainy but cleared up shortly after our tour began. Riding the segway around the city sure was a highlight. We were able to see many sites all around the city quickly. During our tour, we took a short break at an outdoor restaurant in the park next to the Louve. I had scrumptous chocolate crepes and Mike had an ice cream sundae. We had dinner our last night at a restaurant called Meating. They are known for their steaks which are imported from the United States. We walked home and on our way we had desert at .. We stopped at and bought delicious macaroons of different flavors to bring home.
Well, we arrived in Paris on Wednesday, June 9th. The plane ride went well except for Mike and I sleeping only around 2 hours each. We hired a car to drive us to our hotel, Chambiges Elysees. We both slept most of the ride which should have taken about one hour, but ended up almost two hours due to the traffic. We arrived at our quaint, little hotel by ten o'clock and they had our room ready. It was a good thing since we both were extremely tired. Our room was decorated in typical french styling with striped fabric on the walls with a floral printed fabric near the crown molding and the high ceiling. There is a royal canopy styled curtain that frames the bed like a head board. Overall, very quaint and comfortable too and we quickly fell asleep to recharge ourselves for our first day in Paris.
Upon waking and feeling much better, we decided to walk around Paris and explore...in the rain with our umbrellas. We exchanges money for some Euros at our first stop, had some delicious chocolates and bread at our next stop and after walking quite a distance, we found the Galleria Lafayette which is a very large shopping mecca in Paris. We wondered around for about an hour and I was able to get my Eiffel Tower charm from Tiffanys. Then we went to The Royal, a restaurant near the Galleria Lafayette, where we had steak and potatoes for dinner. We shopped a little more and headed back to our room for an early night.
On June 10th, we took a tour to Versailles, a French city located in the western suburbs of Paris. Versailles was formerly the capital of the kingdom of France. Versailles was the Palace and home of King Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
It started out as another rainy day which didn't matter once we were inside the beautiful French castle. We spent the morning exploring the castle and admiring the large, decorative rooms. When we finished the rain had stopped and the sun made an appearance. Next, we explored the gardens surrounding the palace. There were many gardens on the expansive grounds of the palace. We had lunch at a restaurant, previously the stables and gondolleir home, called "Little Venice." We had a wonderful lunch of salad, chicken with pesto, pureed potatoes, and delicious chocolate pie. After lunch, we spent more time walking the various gardens and the apartment of Marie Antoinette as well as her favorite places on the palace grounds. We returned to our hotel very tired after our 9 hour adventure.
We did decide to head back out around 9 for dessert at one of the outdoor restaurants. We had chocolate crepes and apple crumble. Both were very tasty. We walked a bit more until we came upon another outdoor restaurant near the high end shops on the backside of our hotel. There we enjoyed fresh raspberry martinis...they were made with fresh raspberries and they were delicious!
Tori's last day at Rainbow School was field day. They had some fun summer picnic type games for the kids to play. Tori was very timid during the games, but very happy that I was there to watch and have lunch with her. Here are a few highlights: