The second half of our trip was mostly spent exploring Paris as much as we could. As I've mentioned in previous posts, Courtney and I really like to feel like a local when we visit any destination as much as we possibly can (1st step, learn the public transit system). Of course, you're going to hit up the tourist hot-spots. There is a reason why those spots attract so many visitors, but after taking in the must see spots you kind of want to see how the locals live. I feel like we successfully accomplished balancing both aspects on this trip. Courtney and I figured that Paris is such a beautiful city that we had to take in as much of it as we could. In the end, when you're in one of the world's premier cities for the first time, you enjoy it as much as you can no matter what you end up doing. I'll highlight some of the sights of our second half stay in Paris after the jump!
There was one more must see stop that we had to make while we were in Paris, and that was making the short trip out to the Palace of Versailles. To get out to the palace from the city you have to catch the C5 (yellow) on the RER line. The RER serves as Paris' commuter rail system and links seamlessly into their metro system. The ride from the stop near our hotel to Versailles Rive-Gauche stop (last stop on the C5) was a little under an hour. We thought we had a fairly early start, but by the time we had arrived there was already a huge line to get in. Luckily the wait to get inside wasn't too long, maybe half an hour. Considering the length of the line plus the fact that all visitors had to go through security, 30 minutes to an hour didn't seem that bad. Once inside, we mad our way throughout the palace. For me, the most impressive aspect of the visit was the architecture. There were other sights that Courtney and I wanted to see that day, so our stay at the palace was a little rushed. You could spend an entire day out at Versailles. Not only is there the palace to explore, but the gardens and Grand Canal as well. We did explore the garden for a little bit after touring the palace, but decided not to make the walk down to the Grand Canal. The view from the garden of the Grand Canal is gorgeous, so if you just want to sit in the garden and take in the beauty of the scenery, I'm sure that'll do. Like I said before, we got an earlier start just to get out there so we could have enough time to look at everything, but the length of the line was surprising to us. If you're going to take a visit to Versailles, plan to make it at least a half day affair. Once we finished up at the palace we headed back to the commuter rail station to head back into Paris. The next half of the day was spent exploring one of our favorite neighborhoods, Le Marais. We actually spent some time here, not only after our trip to Versailles, but a couple of days after. It was a vibrant neighborhood with shops, markets, and numerous cafes to choose from.
Le Marais was a vibrant and diverse neighborhood, and one of our favorites to explore on this trip. There are countless cafes and restaurants to choose from. Every corner you walk around you will find a line of restaurants full of people sitting inside and outside. There are also a couple of open markets in the neighborhood that offer great street food and produce for purchase. This area is perfect for street photographers. You can capture a lot of candid moments in this area. From tourists to locals and everything in-between, it really makes for some great and unique photos. I feel like Paris is one of those cities that lends itself well to street and candid photography, much like New York or London. If we had spent time in other neighborhoods, I'm sure I would have had just as many opportunities to get great, candid photos.
Of course, walking along the River Seine never gets old, especially when the sun is setting. There was more than a few occasions that we found ourselves along the river. With great views of the Eiffel Tower, and close proximity to landmarks like The Louvre and the Notre Dame, you do find yourself frequenting the area along the Seine. Like I said, that's not a bad thing. It's definitely an area that you will end up taking tons of pictures at. There are so many perspectives that one can photograph from that you want to try and capture them all. Of course, that can be time consuming and even unnecessary, but if you're enjoying it, who cares? On our last night, we enjoyed a sunset walk along the Seine, before dinner at Kong. We actually enjoyed late night walks along the Seine two times. Once, to visit The Louvre, and the other time to see the Eiffel Tower at night. One thing I will say about the Eiffel Tower is that it is pretty impressive at night, especially on the hour when it shimmers.
As I said in my previous post, the trip was a great success. Leaving Paris was a little bittersweet. We definitely were ready to come home, but at the same time we realized that it might be some time (if ever) until we come back. Even though we aren't sure if we ever will come back, we know that we made some great memories while we were there. When you get an opportunity to visit a place you may only visit once you really try to make the most of it. I feel like we did just that. After visiting Paris, I understand why it is one of the world's greatest cities and why so many people want to visit it many times over. We may not know when or even have a time frame in mind, but Courtney and definitely hope to come back for a visit. Until next time, Paris. More photos from our trip below.