Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

Paris in the Springtime: Day 3 – Excursion to Château de Versailles

May 3rd, 2012

On the third day we headed out of the city by train and went to Château de Versailles.  We were prepared to spend the whole day there since you would typically need several days to tour this immense château and gardens.  When we arrived at the golden gates of Versailles there was the longest line-up […]

 

On the third day we headed out of the city by train and went to Château de Versailles.  We were prepared to spend the whole day there since you would typically need several days to tour this immense château and gardens.  When we arrived at the golden gates of Versailles there was the longest line-up to get into the Palace, so we immediately headed to the 800 hectares of gardens.  As we walked past the crowds and the view opened, we both stood awe struck at how immense and opulent Versailles is.

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Below: The Orangerie (yes, those are orange trees!) and Pièce d’Eau des Suisses in the background (a manmade lake which used to supply water for the many fountains throughout Versailles.

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From the palace looking down is the Bassin de Latone (Latona fountain) and the Grand Canal in the background.

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Looking back, the Bassin de Latone in the foreground with the palace in the background.

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And the beginning of the many, many gardens of Versailles.

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Below: The Grand Canal – the largest body of water at Versailles.  Not only did it function as a place for boating parties, it also served as a reservoir for draining the water from all the fountains and pumped it back.  Beauty and function.  And yes, we did take one of the wooden row boats out on the canal – how could we resist?

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We rowed all the way to a remote part of the canal where we got out and ate our picnic amongst some forgotten ruins and pretty wildflowers.

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After we returned our boat we headed over to the Petit Trianon, which was a “little” retreat château used by Marie Antoinette (and royal women before her) to escape life at court.  It takes about 20 minutes to walk to from the palace and is a great place to escape the crowds.

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Below is the French Pavillon which sits within view of the Petit Trianon and was used as a place for garden lunches.  We immediately loved it.

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We then continued walking until we came upon the Grand Trianon which was commissioned by King Louis XIV as a retreat to escape life at the palace.

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Wandering back in search of Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet we saw some beautiful things along the way:

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On the way to the hamlet, we stopped by The Temple of Love which was commissioned by Marie Antoinette and sits on an artificial island within the gardens of the Petit Trianon.  The statue in the centre is the God of Love which is seen carving a bow from Hercules’ club.

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Alas, we come to Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet.  Built as a working farm complete with farmhouse, a dairy, a mill, a dovecote (where they housed pigeons or doves), a barn, a tower, The Queen’s House, a boudoir (Marie’s private bedroom), and many cottages complete with gardens.  The whole hamlet is done in a rustic style based on a Normandy village; however the interiors are extremely decadent.  We loved walking around the hamlet and it reminded us of a centuries old Disneyland – all the buildings seemed miniature and everything had a sort of fake façade all set among an idyllic setting.

Below is the Tour de Malborough (built to resemble a lighthouse) and the magical talking catfish in the manmade lake.

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We then headed back to the Palace of Versailles to wander through more gardens and take in the overwhelming beauty before saying farewell.

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Paris in the Springtime
Day 1 & 2: Jetlagged and wandering the streets

May 2nd, 2012

So we went to Paris…exactly a year ago.  I know it’s slightly ridiculous that it’s taken this long to get our images up, but as soon as we arrived home last year we were in wedding season full force and put our own projects on the side.  As May 1st approached this year, we found […]

 

So we went to Paris…exactly a year ago.  I know it’s slightly ridiculous that it’s taken this long to get our images up, but as soon as we arrived home last year we were in wedding season full force and put our own projects on the side.  As May 1st approached this year, we found time to take a look back at all our images and relive those amazing memories.  Although I’ve been to Europe before, Katherine hasn’t, but this was my first time in France.  Paris seemed like a great place to take a much needed holiday and conveniently it aligned with Katherine’s 30th birthday and what better place to celebrate such a milestone.

Since my schedule is typically jam packed, she organized everything; all I had to do was pack my bags.  My biggest dilemma was what camera and lenses to bring which I mulled over obsessively.  Here is what I ended up taking: Nikon D3S body, 50mm f1.8 (of course), 45mm tilt-shift (for surreal dreaminess), 14-24mm f2.8 (to get the full scope of all that amazing architecture), vintage 35-70mm f2.8 (for all around street shooting), 70-200mm f2.8 VR (for beautiful portraits and as an expensive binocular).  A little overboard?  Perhaps, but I didn’t want to have any regrets.  My equipment traveled with me in a compact backpack made specifically for cameras and I never felt my equipment was going to be ripped off except for that one time when in a more seedy part of Paris a guy jokingly “pretended” to grab my camera.  A little obnoxious, but harmless overall.  With a body as beefy as the D3S, you don’t blend in and have to come to the realization that people will occasionally stare.

Over the course of the next two weeks, we will be posting highlights from our France adventure from Paris to Provence so stop by to get a little Old World love.  Without further adieu, welcome to our first two days in Paris, France.  Jetlagged, disorientated, hardly knowing the French language (yes, we’re Canadians, but we’re born and bred West Coasters!), and coming all the way from Kelowna, BC we arrived on May 1st, 2011 (which was Labor Day/May Day – an official holiday in France).

P.S. – To have the full experience, go onto YouTube and play the music soundtrack from the movie Amelie as you read this post.

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Once we landed we took a taxi from Charles de Gaulle Airport to our home-base in Paris: The Gentle Gourmet Bed & Breakfast.  This is an all vegan bed and breakfast that focuses on gourmet, organic, and seasonally inspired food which is in a great part of town very close to the Champs-Élysées.  This was a no-brainer and major score as we are both vegan.  We had no problems eating vegan in Paris – there was tons of restaurants to choose from, so don’t let anyone tell you you’ll starve!  Our hosts, Deborah, Paul,  Alexander, and Caroline were AMAZING and fed us the best food while we stayed there.  We look forward to going back to Paris just to visit them!  Please note that as of May 1st, 2012 they are closing their B&B and opening a café/restaurant, called the The Gentle Gourmet Café close to the Bastille Opera House where they will be serving phenomenal vegan food, including vegan pastries!  Yum.

When we arrived they had vegan brunch prepared for us and we ate looking out their very Parisian 1930s Art Deco apartment windows seen below.

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After brunch we napped and then headed out to wander the streets.  We saw so many young people making out in public and we later learned that this is a cultural norm; however, once you hit a certain age it’s a faux pas.

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And then we came across Le Eiffel Tower in all her glory.

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French hipsters hanging out at the Seine River.

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Day 2: We took the underground tunnel from the Champs-Élysées to access the Arc de Triomphe (because crossing the roundabout would be a suicide mission).  The Arc de Triomphe is a Roman-style monument commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon to honour French armed forces.  It’s big, beautiful, and took a long time to build.

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Then we caught a bus to head to Cathédrale de Notre-Dame, but ended up in a totally different part of town and had to backtrack, but the bus driver was super nice and pointed to where we had to jump out.  Merci Beaucoup!

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We visited La Conciergerie which is a 14th century Gothic building and was a former prison which held thousands of people (including Marie Antoinette) before they were sent to be guillotined.  This building definitely has some eerie vibes.  We admired the architecture a bit and then were ready to leave.

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Below are images from Cathédrale de Notre-Dame which is probably the most famous Gothic Cathedral in the world.  Unfortunately, we were too late to climb the 387 stairs to reach the top, but we did manage to catch a bit of a sermon that we didn’t understand, but sounded beautiful.

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Is it just me or does Notre-Dame look a little Steam Punk?

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There are tons of these love padlocks on many of the bridges in Paris – they represent a couples everlasting love together…awww.

Paris-style-architecture-lifestyle0723_by-Kevin-TrowbridgeParis-style-architecture-lifestyle0724_by-Kevin-Trowbridge After replenishing ourselves with salad, baguettes and wine, we then randomly came across a Chopin concert just starting in a small medieval church.
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A great way to end our second night in Paris.  Bonne Nuit!