Day 3 in France

Grand Trianon in Versailles and my future home to be

I woke up this morning on a mission–I was finally going to see the largest palace in Europe. Since we had already previewed the Chateau while it was closed the day previously, we knew exactly when and where to drive, park, and stop for a quick cafe’. 

So I was finally able to taste my first French coffee–cafe creme–and I was not disappointed. It was lighter than I had imagined, I was always told espresso in Europe was thicker, but it was smooth and perfect in every way (Just like Mary Poppins). One thing I’ve noticed, in France, is that coffee seems to be served with a mint on the side which is BRILLIANT. I have an irrational fear that my breath would resemble coffee so much that people would write about it in a suggestion box like they did for Michael Scott in The Office. I will find a way to carry on this tradition back home.

After that I ordered a plain omelette with a side salad. Sounds boring, but it was actually pretty fulfilling while also being light and fluffy. Really makes you reconsider the American standard bacon, sausage, hash browns, and grease plate. There was also a gentleman sitting across from us who was busy typing away on his Mac while his yellow lab hung out under the table at his feet (Dogs seem to be allowed almost anywhere). His pup was super cute and started to get a bit restless. I’m sure the dog didn’t understand English, but he seemed to respond to “Hey Boo Boo” and “Puppy Cutie” as he came to our table and sat politely staring. His owner got a little sheepish about it and packed up to leave with a friendly wave to us as Mister Doo Doo Tail reluctantly followed.

We were now ready to head to Chateau Versailles. The first thing you’re greeted with is a large statue of Louis XIV, also known as The Sun King, credited with being the main architect for much of Versailles. I didn’t snap a shot of this because I prefer to think of Louis as the dear Alan Rickman in the film A Little Chaos. Be right back, I’m still crying about that closing shot. Okay. The ground floor consists of the majority of the palace tour–unless we had access to areas we weren’t aware of further up or in, we don’t know because it was PACKED there. I actually don’t have much in the way of pictures to share because of how many people there were everywhere. I decided to visualize and take in what I could without trying to wrestle with a decent shot. Much of the main floor as been turned into a gallery to tour with spots intended for audio listeners to watch brief history bits of the palace. A lot of the information shared in the audio videos was, in my opinion, common knowledge. I was a bit diasspointed there wasn’t any scandilizing tidbits I hadn’t come across yet. I bought a book from the gift store that will hopefully be more interesting and I’ll update my blog when I return home accordingly since I don’t have much to share aside from the tourist experience.

Hercule’s Room

My favorite part of Versailles was the sprawling gardens and outdoor portion of the estate. We had purchased a passport so that we could go explore Marie Antoninette’s estate which resided past the main gardens and Trianon and nestled somewhere near her hamlet and farm area. To get there, you have to either pay to walk through the gardens or go back around the street and through the city part of Versailles until you find the gate leading straight through. So we walked. AND WALKED.

We eventually made it to the Trianon Palace which, post French Revolution became renovated living apartments for Emperor Napoleon and his Empress Marie-Louise and now houses a modern exhibit for De Gaulle. Now, we TRIED to find Marie Antoniette’s estate–asked for directions 3 separate times, constalted every map, and walked for nearly 2 hours in the gardens alone but without signs pointing us the right way, we just couldn’t find it. We ended up giving up on the poor Austrian princess. My dear Marie, how I wanted to see where you partied. Au Revoir and hopefully next time my petite cake.

Day 2 in France

Er…traditional French Cuisine?

I count this as the first official day in France but technically it is my second. Also, given the picture above, I’m doing a bang up job of keeping things authentically French for all my loyal readers. You’re welcome.

I woke up this morning feeling like I had left half of myself behind in Minneapolis and the other part of me was lying in a small cot shivering with dehydration chills and nursing one helluva headache. These are the parts of traveling conveniently left out of escapist works such as Eat, Pray, Love–sometimes things suck a LOT. Today was one of those days in general, but bare with me. I’m going to be frank (Like my hot dog hurr hurr) and honest with you on the days events but this trip isn’t over yet and there is still many inspiring and wonderful experiences to come! 

After I had downed about 2 quarts worth of water and managed to stand up long enough to scarf down a croissant, we ventured out from Evreux to drive on over to Versailles where we intended to check out the Chateau before heading into Paris. Now, I didn’t mention much about Evreux on my last blog post and that’s because, to put it plainly, Evreux itself was pretty plain. It was probably the closest you’ll ever get to normal every day France no dissimilar to say, Brooklyn Park. There wasn’t anything particularly special about it save for the traveling circus that stopped by (We drove by a cameeeel) or the littered remains of alcohol and drugs left sitting on a school gymnasium stoop. Basically, our snap shot view of France was only going to improve from here. We figured we’d go all out extravagance after Evreux and visit the palace that helped bankrupt France in the 18th century.

We drove there in under an hour and were able to find a underground parking ramp with ease–though parking itself wasn’t. We’ve noticed that everything is fairly small and thinly spaced here in France INCLUDING parking spots. After 10 minutes of incessant beeping from our rental car alerting us of objects in close proximity, we skipped on up to the sidewalk and crossed the street over to windowed cafes and storefronts (And past a weirdo sitting on a bench muttering “Dangerous” over and over). A friendly cafe owner saw us turn the corner and immediately waved us over to his store. “Sit, sit!” He urged us. Alright, we figured a snack before our tour would do us good. It wasn’t until we sat down that we noticed our tables were adjourned to reflect the American flag and our menus wore crudely copied photos of Audrey Hepburn and Elvis Presley. We found ourselves dining in an imitation American Cuisine restaurant. We must have visually looked the part as our waiter enthusiastically greeted us in clear English–“Yes, I’ll have the Hot Dog…U.S. The U.S. Hot Dog” I ordered guiltily as I had yet to experience authentic French food. What I received is pictured above–a tasty weeny on a squirt of thousand island and dressed with the usual condiments and a sprinkle of fried onion flakes. It was actually pretty good but this will be my last hot dog on this trip.

Little French Bookstore

After we finished eating, we walked our way to the entrance of Versailles passing many little windowed shops as we went. Once our bags were checked by security and we walked by military men carrying machine guns, we found ourselves staring in awe at the palace with it’s golden gates…closed?

Versailles certainly makes one feel tiny.

Yep. If you’ve been following along and know what day we’re on–Versailles is always closed on Mondays. My companions were about ready to drag by sorry self off and have me guilliotined over the mistake but not before I was able to snap a picture or two of the grounds and garden view.

Baby Got Back

Honestly, my bad. We have every intention of returning tomorrow where I will be sure to take plenty of photos and start covering some HISTORY all up on this blog. Taking our afternoon loss well, we figured the next best thing to do would be to drive ourselves into Paris and go see the Eiffel Tower.

And…well, that’s literally all we did. 

Unfortunately, the drive into and through was quite stressful and as rush hour traffic mounted, we ended up not experiencing Paris at all and high tailed it out of there as soon as possible. It’s a big bummer, surely, but sometimes you can’t expect everything to pan out as you planned on trips and this day was one huge reminder of that. When you’re traveling in a group and you’re short on time you will inevitably need to make sacrifices–find out what are the must-see, can’t miss destinations you’d regret not seeing and do those and let everything else fall from your worries. For me, that must see is Versailles. I’ll take the loss of Paris and raise you The Sun King’s greatest achievement. 

See you all tomorrow!

Day 1/2 in France

I’m already making good on my promise to upload daily despite the fact that I’ve really done nothing worth mentioning aside from whine insessantly about my 24+ hours awake sleep-deprived bones. 

Today was a travel day.

We arrived in Paris at 8:35am after a restless 8-hour flight where neither of us had been able to sleep but not for lack of trying–I tried putting myself to sleep with an in-flight movie of X-Men Apocalypse (I lasted only 15 minutes and I don’t mean wakefulness). When we landed, we were immediately ushered into a customs check line that lasted a good 2 hours which is unsurprising given the recent unfortunate events in France. By the time we obtained our rental car–an Italian car stuck on Russian for the GPS because why not–it was around 12:30pm and we were DYING.

We spent the next few hours marveling at the plentiful graffiti EVERYWHERE, realizing it was apparently the norm for male drivers to just randomly pull over and urinate visibly on the road, and get horribly lost in a picturesque yet run down commune in France. Also, French drivers are worse than Chicago ones.

While I didn’t do much on a day where all I’ve wanted to do is nap it away, I’ll leave you with ducks. FRENCH speaking ducks:

Histastrophe in…Europe?!


I’ve made a lot of empty promises on this blog. Any where from UNESCO World Site features, to Myths and Folklores, or to updating regularly (Hah….*cries*). But here is one I can absolutely, with no misplaced delusion the level of Commodus, assure you is actually for real happening.

I am going to Europe.

France, Spain, and Italy to be exact. For 3 weeks starting TODAY.

While there, I will be updating my long dormant History blog daily (as the international wifi allows for) with my adventures. Knowing me and my profound nerddom, you can count on some historical site coverage such as Versailles, Pompeii, and if I manage to win a few tussles, the Sfroza fortress among other things. Naturally, there will probably be Instragram photos of food because I’m one of those shamelessly awful people who delights in filtered pictures of mashed potatoes and I’d also love to chronicle my journey in uncovering my family’s history and meeting, for the first time, our local Italian relatives.

So if you were already here for my History musings, there will be plenty of that to come SERIOUSLY this time. And if you’re a dear friend curious to read about my travels, please follow along! I can’t wait to share my experiences with you.

Arrivedercri and I’ll see you all in a different timezone!