How much can you fit into one day in France????

Trip Start May 25, 2008
1
15
32
Trip End Jul 04, 2008


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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Looking back, these were such BIG days, it is hard to imagine exactly how "Trafalgar" fits in so much to see & do into one day...no wonder a travel diary is so essential....after only a couple of days it is difficult to pull details from the old grey cells at will!
Second day in Europe saw us make a beeline for the Eiffel Tower early in the day...on the way we went thru La Place De La Concorde in daylight, drove past Les Invalides where Napoleon rests hopefully in peace, drove thru the grounds of the Louvre (no time on this trip to go thru the 8km of hallways)....being part of a pre-booked, well-known travel group like Trafalgar made it so much easier for us all...no standing in queues, etc....we simply show up, follow the tour guide and, voila!! Up the tower we went! Everyone got to the second level, and proceeded to be swallowed into the amazing crowds which are just everywhere in Europe! We had about an hour all up to see what we could & meet back at one of the massive supporting bases of the tower at ground level.
There was no way I was going half way round the world to THE Eiffel Tower without doing my best to get to the very top, and our teeenage daughter was right with me on this point....our local French guide, just for this day, was really helpful in steering the 4 of us who were adamant about spending the extra few Euros and time in a relatively small queue to take the final elevators to the top level.......WHAT A VIEW!!?? Not having much time, we did the 360 degree walk around, snapping photos almost every second. Considering this was their beginning of summer, it was quite cool anytime you were exposed to the breeze...it's quite a way up, as any of you who have been there would agree.
Down we went to the second level (which still commands spectacular views right across this uniquely laid out city), waited for the next available dual-level (50 on top, 50 on bottom) elevator to take us all the way to the ground. The 4 of us thought it was well worth not spending as relaxing a time as others did on the second level.
The recommendation from our French guide was that our group take advantage of some of the authentically French cuisine just down the road from where all the tour coaches were parked, so that we could take lunch to our next stop...the unforgettable Palace of Versailles!!
Must have taken literally hundreds & hundreds of shots (thank God for digital cameras) whilst at Versailles...words & even photographs cannot properly communicate the grandeur, opulence, and sheer scope & size of this shangri-la. The tucker we bought in Paris that morning & enjoyed whilst sitting on a bench admiring the waterways which stretched away forever below us, included THE WORLD'S BEST dessert! The French patisseries just can't better themselves.....c'est magnifique!
Suffice it to say that a full day could/should be spent here in order to soak up every last bit of rich & dramatic history which comes at you from every angle...we walked thru the unmatched gardens, water features & fountains....we joined the throngs of tourists from all parts of the globe who all seemed to "oooh" & "ahhhhhhh" as we entered each & every different room (& there were hundreds of rooms!)...just as you thought you could not hope to see anything more splendid, sumptuous, over-the-top, or lavish, the very next room would take your breath right away. Glad we bought the book of the place as we left, because we were able to make some sense of the photos we took upon returning home...it took some time though...there is just so much to appreciate...we'll never forget Versailles...never!
Day not over just yet....back to Paris hotel to freshen up & rest briefly before the group headed out in various directions for one of the many optional extras one could select during the whole journey.....we had decided not to go to the (in)famous Moulin Rouge, as close relatives of ours had already been a year or two back, shown us the book, we had a teenage daughter with us (possibly not appropriate for her), and it seemed so damned expensive!! At the last moment, we changed our minds, and our clothes, and decided to join the other dozen or so (out of 34 total) who were going no matter what...aw, what the heck? (our 15 year old daughter had discussed the evening with us and had decided that, if we were ok with her being there in a group of mature adults, then she was happy enough to experience something this different)...gotta say we were all very pleasantly surprised and glad we spent the money to go (did I mention it was not cheap?)...it was just entertainment from start to finish.....we were seated at a Trafalgar table which literally butted up against the front of the stage!! (Trafalgar really seem to get the most out of every venue we get to) Cabaret music played by a live & very capable band was easy to listen to whilst we were served our 3 course meal & drinks. Once the show itself started, we were glad we were all able to accept the bare chests of the dancers and appreciate the actual dancing, backdrops, storyline, etc. One thing I quite enjoyed was that the main show was broken up by 4 x smaller & very different acts/performers, which kept the audience interest & participation up throughout the 4 hours we were there! e.g. a ventriloquist, expert acrobat pair, a very clever & humourous drummer who used ping pong balls to play all the various drums & symbols, etc.
Yours truly was dragged up on stage to be part of the 'fun' that the ventriloquist created where 4 x innocents from around the world were made to be human dummies & he was all 4 of our voices....really clever & obviously funny judging by the hundreds laughing at us under those hot stage lights! Not quite what I expected but our tour group didn't let me forget it for the rest of our journey! I should have received a discount for providing such spirited entertainment for them all. Believe it or not, Moulin Rouge plays two back-to-back shows most nights!! (7pm & 11pm) While we were being ushered out, another long line of people were backed up at the front waiting to fill the place for the next show!
Finally back to hotel & bed....need to be ready for whatever they throw at us tomorrow...
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