. The train was pleasant, we got to Parisian-watch those on their way to work in the multiple corporate parks located on the outskirts of Paris. After negotiating with a French automatic coffee machine to regulate Mark's caffeine deficiency, we realized that there was a Starbucks across the street (viva the American corporate machine)! We followed the crowd to the Chateau and started the tour. BTW, we've been using Rick Steves'
Paris guide, we highly recommend it. It's the only tour book that we've seen throughout Paris, so far. (Great travel tip: if you want to figure out who to ask to take your picture, look for the person holding a Rick Steves English version! You're assured that they at least can understand you
. We met a nice guy from Texas this way in front of the Chateau) We were awed by the splendor and gilt throughout the palace. We were really impressed by the Royal Chapel, the Salon of Abundance, but most of all we liked the Hall of Mirrors, where the Treaty of Versailles ending WWI was signed. We wandered around the Gardens, which were splendid, with beautiful harpsichord music playing throughout the gardens. Each area was playing a different arrangement of music by Lully, Desmarest and Rameau, played by Christophe Rousset. We grabbed a bite to eat (panini venise- jambon and fromage). We met the cutest cat that Marla named Louis (said- loo ee) who loved being scratched and petted. OK, another BTW, our Italy trip was a dog trip, everywhere we went we saw dogs. Ireland was a sheep trip (no shock there). France has been a cat trip. While Louis was the first to enter into our blog, we've seen cats everyday. He also is the first that we've petted and the first to be named. OK, on with the story... we made our way to the Mirror Fountain to watch the Musical Water Display to the sound of Rameau's Acanthe et Cephise and Nais Overtures. The gardens originally had over 1,500 fountains, only 300 remain, courtesy of La Revolution! Our favorites were the Encelade Grove, Colonnade Grove and Mirror Fountain. It was nice to walk around the gardens and see the little children running and playing, the ducks fighting with the mammoth carp in the Grand Canal, and the sunlight coming through the canopy of trees
. After wandering for a while, we made our way into the town of Versailles to get crepes at A La Cote Bretonne. It appeared we were the only tourists around, which was a treat. Surrounded by the citizens of Versailles having a leisurely bite or a shopping trip to the lovely rue des Duex Portes, we had a wonderful time indulging in a mid-day meal- crepes framboises creme fraishe, cafe and chocolat with whipped cream. Satiated, we made our way back to the apartment. After a quick sprucing up, we set out again to the Galeries Lafayette
, a huge department store. Picture three LARGE buildings side by side, the main store is 9 stories tall, the others are 4 and 6 stories. Each is filled to the brim with only the most expensive and fashionable things (Paris is known as a major shopping destination). The Gourmet Foodstore in the Lafayette Homme (the Men's store) was exceptional. There was a gorgeous display of spices from around the world that made us want to cook (OK, maybe not cook right now, but sometime in the near distant future, we're having too much fun going out and getting served each evening). While we tried very hard to spend some of our hard earned money, nothing seemed to call to us besides the spices. It was just really hard to feel like buying something that we can often get in the States. What we did enjoy was the perfect view from the top of the Galeries and the beautiful belle epoque dome. Mark was craving curry, so we made our way back to the 15th district to find an Indian restaurant
. We wandered around the shopping area by the apartment for what felt like forever. We got so tired and discouraged that we decided to eat Thai (on the basis that it has curry dishes) that was directly across from the apartment. All that walking for nothing! The Thai was delicious. Ironically, Mark did not order curry, but Marla did (funny how that happens, eh?) The dim sum appetizer was delicious and the entree was excellent. After dinner, we took a short break in the apartment before making our way to our landlord's place. Christophe and Oxana live just around the corner from the apartment. The kicker was that there's an Indian restaurant immediately across from their door! We had a wonderful time talking with them. Christophe's father was a diplomat and the family moved around throughout his childhood. Oxana is from just outside of Siberia and is Asian to boot. They have two beautiful boys -Thomas and Charles. We stayed up past midnight chatting about everything from politics to global warming to mad cow disease. Christophe served us a great aperitif- red currant liquor and sparkling wine, followed by a white port. They served wonderfully tasty treats- toast with cream cheese and caviar, sugared candies, pistachios, chocolate covered almonds and more. We had a wonderful time and retired to the apartment looking forward to our trip to Montmarte the next day.
We woke up and dragged ourselves to Secco for croissant and cafe, which were delicious. Feeling pretty jazzed up by caffeine (OK, I can't lie, Marla was practically tweaking, but Mark was majorly dragging), we headed off to the Metro and on to the RER C train to