Day 15 – Bittersweet Smile
11 April 2015
Last day of the tour! Wifey and I couldn’t believe how fast the time went. From being in London just two weeks ago where we started our tour and now it was our last day. We were definitely going to miss a few people in our tour. From Clarisse our tour director, to our bus driver Rafaele. One last bus trip around Paris.
Our first stop was to visit one of the famous cathedrals in the world, Notre Dame. Entry was free plus we were allowed to take photos inside, as long as we were quiet. We had seen many churches during our tour and this one was also impressive in terms of the architecture and the interior and exterior design. There was no Quasimodo in sight haha or maybe he was hiding in the bell tower lol. Tourists were allowed to climb the bell tower but you had to pay. It was still closed when we got there and so we went inside the cathedral instead. There was a mass happening inside and so we quietly walked around. Just outside the cathedral, the Kilometre Zero or the exact centre of Paris was located. Apparently if you stand on it meant that you shall be back to Paris one day. And so my Wifey and I stood on it haha.
Next destination was the Eiffel Tower. Since we already saw it the night before, we didn’t really bother taking photos of it plus it was a pretty gloomy day. Luckily we still had another day in Paris and so we were hoping that the weather would be better for photos the next day. The visit was short probably only 20mins, then we were off to the city centre near the Louvre which was to be our meeting place for those who were planning to visit the Palace of Versailles. Wifey and I paid for that trip and so after eating some lunch we got back to our meeting place where we said goodbyes to most of the people from our tour since they weren’t planning to go and that was the end of the tour for them. They were free to do whatever they wanted at that point.
Some of us made our way to the Palace of Versailles. It was just outside Paris, reaching the car park full of tour buses, we could tell that this place was going to be packed with tourists! Selfie sticks weren’t allowed inside, a part of me just died 🙁 hahaha oh well. We had to be social and asked people to take photos of us two instead. Luckily the two Melbourne girls Alison and Jane came with us lol. Initially a hunting chateau built by King Louis XIII, it was King Louis XIV who expanded it into a great palace. You could tell from the construction and the paintings and details from room to room that only the best and most expensive materials were used to create such a lavish dwelling. We saw many rooms including the bedroom of Marie Antoinette, one of the famous Queen of France who was married to King Louis XVI. She was executed by guillotine during the French Revolution for treason. Her bedroom was adorned with gold and embroidery, definitely fit for a queen.
Within the palace grounds was the Garden of Versailles, 800 hectares of landscaped gardens. It would probably take a day to explore the whole grounds but we were only given 30mins! With little time we had we immediately made our way to one of the main gardens in the middle and took some photos there.
On our way back to Paris, we said our goodbyes to the rest of the group on the bus, especially Clarisse who was waiting at the meeting place. After disbanding, Wifey and I decided to visit the Louvre as we had to see the Mona Lisa. We had a jam-packed itinerary the next day and so we thought we could squeeze this one in that afternoon. It was already 4:30pm around the time we lined up for tickets and the museum was to close at 6pm. Time was ticking for us and eventually we got in and so without hesitation we ran to find the most famous painting in the world. The museum was huge! You could definitely get lost in it. Eventually we found the wing where the Mona Lisa was and once we got in, getting a picture of it was going to be a huge task since the whole room was filled with people all wanting to take a picture of the smiling lady. Was she really smiling? Was she really a lady? hahaha there were rumours that Mona Lisa was a portrait of a man who was Leonardo Da Vinci’s lover. Anyway, Wifey and I ‘pushed’ through the crowd politely, eventually making our way closer to the painting to get a better picture. The painting was behind a glass wall and another two barriers around it so that people could not get too close to the masterpiece. After a few attempts at selfies, we stepped out of the crowd and admired the painting from a distance.
We didn’t have much time left and so we wandered around the Louvre to check out other pieces of work that interested us. I thoroughly enjoyed walking through the Egyptian wing.
After the quick visit to the Louvre, we had some ramen for dinner before going back to the hotel.
Overall, we definitively enjoyed the tour we were on. It was a good introduction to Europe. We got to see many attractions we had always wanted to see. It was convenient that our hotel and transport was organised for us. Plus the guided tours included in the package as well. We got to meet some really nice people, made new friends. After the two weeks of being on the road, we were quite tired already haha but we still had another two weeks to go! This time we would be on our own but we knew there were plenty more awesome places to see and visit and we were definitely still up for some adventure, bring it on! 🙂