day five: versailles
This was a weird day, not gonna lie.
On my way to Versailles on the train I got stopped by a fare inspector not 3 minutes before arriving at the Versailles station and got a 35€ fine for not having the right ticket. Apparently the metro tickets are only good within Paris, but Versailles is just outside of Paris. I had no idea, there weren’t any signs anywhere saying that I had to purchase an additional ticket, because of course, I would’ve done so. I think the fare inspector cut me some slack, I overheard other people on the train who made a mistake similar to mine getting tickets for 50€+ a person.
I walked from the station to Versailles and stood in a line that all the big signs had indicated was the ticket line, but realized once I was about 10 people from the front that it was not the ticket line and actually the security line to get into the palace. I weaseled my way out of line, turned on the data on my phone, got back in line, and bought a ticket on my phone. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right and that I was kept on messing things up. It got a little better when I entered the palace, but I feel like the negative energy just kept following me around.
I felt pretty lonely at Versailles. I didn’t see anyone else who was traveling by themselves, there were a lot of families and couples (and even couples with their families!). I got a ham and cheese baguette from a little stand in the gardens for lunch, which was ok.
For the following shot, I placed my camera on one of the marble ledges you can see in the background and put it on self timer mode.
I went back into town with the correct ticket and walked around for a bit before grabbing an early dinner at Cafe Maison Bleue. It was ok. Nothing special. Met some new people int he hostel dorm and went to bed around 10:30 or so.
day six: a valentine’s day odyssey: wine and cheese tasting class, botanical gardens, excellent dinner
I got breakfast with Carina, a college freshman from Vancouver. She seemed nice enough, but seemed very anxious about traveling by herself for the first time and (as I would later find out) had a preference of talking about herself nonstop. She wanted to go to the Louvre, and since I was walking in that same direction to go towards the Latin Quarter for my Airbnb wine/cheese tasting class, I offered to walk together. She wasn’t a very good walker and we had to slow down several times. We split off before the Seine and I got to do a little bit of exploring around the Latin District.
I headed into the Wine Tasting in Paris store just before noon. The teacher/sommelier Thierry had forgotten to put a place set out for me, but he made sure everything was in order. I sat at one of the top ends of a long V shaped table with a couple from Oxford. I was the only person there alone, but everyone was very friendly. We tried 4 different wines (total of 6 pours) and 4 cheeses with a very nice, chewy baguette. I thought the experience was very positive.
When I stood up to leave, I was genuinely surprised about how tipsy I’d gotten. I walked over to the botanical garden of Paris and sat on a bench for a while and journalled while I sobered up. I then decided to visit the special greenhouse orchid exhibit, which was super neat. Got to see a bunch of really neat orchids I don’t think I’d ever seen before.
From there, I walked along the left bank until I got to the Luxembourg Gardens and then I decided to go to a different Pierre Hermé location where the cakes were significantly cheaper than the 86 Champs location. It cost about a euro extra to eat inside of the store, but I thought it was worth it. I got a dark chocolate cake with little crunchy bits in the base and a nice earl grey tea. It wasn’t the same vibe (no marble countertops and fancy people watching), but the cake was very nice.
I then walked over to the Louvre area and did some people watching. Took some pictures, watched the sunset.
Then I headed over to Comptoir de Gastronomie for dinner. I sat at the bar and ordered the same glass of Bordeaux as the other night and their pan seared foie gras on gingerbread toast with salad.
It was very tasty, but not quite as filling as the ravioli. I sat next to a very friendly Chinese couple who have been living in Paris for the past 5 years. They gave me a lot of good tips for things to do and places to eat. I wish I’d met them a little earlier on in my trip, could’ve saved me from a few mediocre meals. I had warm chocolate pudding cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert which was absolutely decadent.
I really liked this day, I think I’m the best Valentine I’ve ever had 🙂