Beautiful Mont St. Michel

After spending the night in Caen, we were off to see the incredible Mont. St. Michel, a castle built on a little island surrounded by the sea when the tide is up. Between morning and evening, you are able to cross out to the castle, but if you wait to late, you’ll be stuck on the island because of the water. Unfortunately, when we ordered our tickets, there was a confusion on what stop we were actually to get off. Once we missed it, the next stop was a good 30 minutes away. Thinking that this was a modern country, I thought that another train would take us back to the stop we missed. Surprisingly, there were no buses, trains, airplanes, ships, submarines, rickshaws, hovercrafts, mule-carts, or any type of public transport back to that stop. How strange is that? So, frustrated, we had to pay for a personal taxi to drive us almost an hour to the castle. The driver was a really nice man who spoke not one word of English. During our drive there though, on his radio station came the song “Georgia”. With my limited, VERY LIMITED French, I explained that we were from the US (obviously) and that my parents were from Georgia. Anyhow, we made it to the castle, and it was a great stop.

After walking around the castle grounds for a while, we headed back to a bus that would take us to the train station back to Paris. While we were waiting, we saw some punk kids making fun of the Japanese tourists. Yelling Konnichiwa and stuff like that. Well, the Japanese didn’t really understand what was going on, until they started hindering their way and such, so I spoke out in fluent Japanese (yes, I speak Japanese) and said, “Don’t mind those idiots, just pass by them.” Well, everyone was shocked, the punk kids looked, and the Japanese were thrilled that I could speak so well. So, I started a conversation with the Japanese tourists. It was really quite funny.

Arriving in Paris again, we went to our hotel, to pack and get ready for our flight home. We also went back to the Arc de Triomphe one last time for the great view of the Champs-Elysées. Sad to say goodbye to Paris, we left the next morning back for the US. I definitely would like to travel back to Paris. It truly is a magical city, and as one of my friends called it, “it is a city full of doll houses.”

Train to Normandy and D Day Beaches

The next two days we planned for a trip outside Paris, into Normandy and Brittany. We wanted to see the Normandy D-Day Beaches, and Mont St. Michel near St. Malo. So after a train ride, we made it to Caen, which is a town near the D-Day beaches. We traveled on a tour (which is really the best way ever to see these types of things) with a young lady who is a native of Brittany, and whose masters degree was in Normandy History. So, as the story unfolded of the history, I felt totally consumed by her words, and seeing the actual places we were talking about during the stories was the most educational tour I had ever participated in.

Tour Eiffel

france_003Today we slept in and decided to finally see the Tour Eiffel, hoping for blue skies. Fortunately, we did get a good few hours to see great views from atop the tower, and around on the ground. We chose to walk up the tower for the best experience, to truly appreciate the magnificence of such a structure. Not only was it great exercise, but the views were worth every step.

We also went to the Sacre Coeur Church. Here is where in the movie Amelie, she goes to meet her guy. It was still pretty dreary, but you could see far out into the big landmarks of the city from the hill.

Train to Versailles!

The next day we bought a train ticket to Versailles, to see the palace. Unfortunately, it poured down rain the entire day, and the palace gardens were under a major reconstruction. Seeing the King’s apartments, and other places in Versailles was fascinating. After seeing these places, you really feel like you traveled back in time to see them. Truly amazing.

Despite the frigid air, we had a great lunch of ravioli before we headed back to Paris. Once we got back into the city, we went to try to see the Catacombs, but they were closed for renovations :(. So we left there, and headed to the Rodin Museum that has ‘The Thinker’

Mona Lisa!


The next day we planned for the Louvre. Finding the entrance to this museum was even difficult, much less finding the works of art we had a particular interest in >> Venus De Milo, Mona Lisa and others.. Anyhow, this was a great experience to see how many treasures we do still have preserved today. We saw great Van Gogh paintings and went all around the place just trying to even take a bite of the works in. It’s impossible. I mean, c’est ne possible pas. :)

We went to the Pompidou Centre as well, and then to the Pantheon, which was closed. Cruising around the city we went to the famous Hotel de Ville and enjoyed people watching.

Musée d’Orsay


The next day, we made our way over to the Musée d’Orsay. This was my favorite museum, not only for its great works of art and sculpture, but the way it had high ceilings and didn’t overwhelm us like the Louvre. The inside of this museum looked like a train station to me. We spent the rest of the day just walking around. Paris is great to just explore on foot.


I also wanted to get a drawing of myself by one of the artists that are always around the street. So, I found one, sat down and posed for the artist. Traci kept laughing and such, and he had great ‘previous’ works he had done before, so I thought he’d be ok.. plus he offered for me not to pay if I was dissatisfied. After a while, I looked at the drawing and I was so disappointed–I didn’t know what to do. I felt horrible not paying, but I couldn’t believe what a crappy job it was. Anyhow, it was funny and we got a good laugh.

We went by Notre Dame, the Opera Bastille, and that evening, we went to the Arc de Triomphe on our way home. Believe it or not, but it’s practically at our doorstep!

We stopped at Hippo on our way home for dinner and had a nice meal while enjoying the people watching.

Off to Paris!

Today, we departed Atlanta on a long flight to Stuttgart, Germany. Yes, we flew right over Paris on our way, but that was the route for the ticket we bought. At least when we were in Germany, I was able to get Milka*!

After arriving in Paris, we took a bus to the Arc de Triomphe to find our hotel. Luckily, with Traci’s connections, we were able to get a great deal on a hotel on the Champs-Elysées. This 4-star hotel was a great way to see Paris’ luxurious offerings.

Once we settled in our room, exhausted, we took a nap, then a walk down the beautiful promenade of Champs-Elysées. We had a dinner at a restaurant and proceeded to make plans for our week in Paris.