My job allows me to visit a lot of Alaska on a yearly basis. I wanted to capture the trips in one location!

Bus 69, the Eiffel Tower, and Rue Cler.

Afternoon dec. 18, 2014

On your last visit to Paris we saw the Eiffel Tower in the evening only. We decided this year would be interesting to see it in the daylight so we headed there after the castle. After seeing you both in the daylight in the evening it’s stunning both times however I feel the evening is when it is at its romantic best. Starting at 5 o’clock every hour on the hour the tower lights up and twinkle which is just a surreal experience.

Since we were at the Eiffel Tower we decided to follow the advice of one of our tour books on the city bus 69 for a cheap tour of the city. According to the bus stop sign the bus was to come every 15 minutes however after waiting for 30 and rereading the sign it indicated it would not be there for another hour we decided to venture elsewhere.

We went exploring Rue Cler a quaint small community not far from the tower. We enjoyed walking up and down the streets and looking in the queen little shops. On our way back towards the Eiffel Tower we noticed a Nother bus stop with both 69 soon to arrive we opted to happen on. (We are still not sure why there was a delay earlier in the day, even locals were curious.) The bus ride ended up being a pretty positive experience however because it was late in the day the sun started to set by the time we got over to the Maris region of town the sun has gone down and Paris had turned into the city of lights.

We spent a little more time exploring that region of town before hopping on the metro back to the Eiffel tower where we were just in time to watch the 7 o’clock late twinkle. We opted to head over to Rue Cler for dinner and eventually walked back by the Eiffel Tower just in time to watch the 9 o’clock sparkles-it was a brilliant day all.






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Palace of Versailles in Paris

Dec. 18, 2014.

We were so excited when we bought all day train/bus passes to realize we could go all the way to The Palace of Versailles on the total opposite end of town from where we stayed. We awoke early and headed out arriving about 8 am knowing it did not open until 9, but wanting to avoid lines we’d read about. Let me assure you we were the first in line at 8;45, there were no lines for tickets in Dec!

Originally a cottage or hunting lodge this castle sits in what used to be the country for those living in Paris. Now the area is a suburb for people with money! It is easy to find the castle once you get off the train just go around the corner and head in the direction you are facing when you get off the train.

Louis XIV moved to the castle in the late 1600’s and began the elaborate decorations and expansion of the palace. That is of course until the beginning of the French Revolution when the family was forced out of the castle and back into France due in part to His arrogance and extravagance while many lived in poverty. During the Revolution much of the original furniture was auctioned off or pillaged by Parisians unhappy with the monarchy.

On the tour one of the most stunning room was the Hall of Mirrors. The chandeliers that line this room are stunning. The windows (mostly original glass) help make the room bright and airy. There were rooms/apartments for everyone, the king, his wife and their daughters. Another standout room was the Public Dining Room where common Parisians would come by nightly to watch the royals eat dinner. Such arrogance.

Another beautiful area of the castle are the gardens. Though they were dormant in Dec it is easy to imagine these gardens in the spring/summer. The fountains were off and the statues were all covered for winter. However, from reading posts it sounds like many of the fountains are off all summer as well.

We also ventured to Marie-Antoinette’s estate which is a (poorly signed) 1 mile walk from the castle through the gardens. It was worth the visit but almost a let down after the castle. NOTE: This does not open until noon!

All in all we spent about 4 hours exploring. Thankfully there were not as many tourists as in the summer months though there were many “tour groups” entering vs independent travelers like ourselves.