Day 40: Fontainebleau and Eiffel Tower

In the morning I headed off to Fontainebleau to visit the Chateau. It was suggested by a friend and confirmed by the tourist guide as a thing to see. It is the oldest decorated royal French Chateau. The rooms were decorated in the styles of different rulers, some older than others, but the furniture was authentic, which was amazing. I can’t keep straight which Napoleons and Louis lived in this palace, so I won’t try.

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One of the most interesting things I learned from the audio guide in the chateau was that French Queens and Empresses had to give birth in “public”. This was mentioned in a room that is now named for the ruler that was born there. The rooms were chosen before the woman was to give birth and all were allowed into that room while the birth was happening. This was said to be done to prove that the heir was legitimate. Which is amusing because the heir followed the paternal side…. No way to prove that before genetic testing.

After the Chateau I headed out to the gardens area. Very pretty. I’m sure nothing like Versaille but everything also happened to be empty, much more to my liking.

I was intending to wander the town for a bit, but everything was closed (Monday is the day of being closed I guess). So I grabbed some food for my picnic lunch on the train and headed to the train station (on foot). I was very grateful I took the bus from the station when I got there. It looked close, but really wasn’t. Oh well. Exercise.

I got back to Paris and decided to head to the Champ Elysees (sp) (cham ellise is what it sounds like) which is the main shopping street leading up to the Arc de Triumph. I was hopeful I’d find some things that were must haves here, but mostly was just unhappy with the number of people on the street or in the stores. Or how giant the stores were and how I could visit a lot of them at home.

Breezy and chilly. Quite the arch way
Breezy and chilly. Quite the arch way

Made it to the Arc de Triumph then headed down the other side of the street to visit Louis Vuitton, but passed when I saw there was literally a line into the store. Funny, because I ended up passing another, with no line. Looked around, and it’s just not for me. Oh well. Money saved. I bought nothing anywhere this day. I was surprised.

I headed over to check out the Eiffel Tower. But first, by this point, I really had to pee. Enough so that I caved to standing in line for one of the toilets on the sidewalk. Well, these lines move SO SLOWLY. Turns out you go in, use it, it closes, it cleans, then the next person can go it. So it was actually very clean, but I would have taken dirtier and faster hands down.

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Took my look at the tower and had to catch the RER train to meet everyone. Well the RER station was closed. The next closest station is far. So I headed to the closest metro that got me where I needed to be, also far away. I was late to the meeting. Oops.

And then we ended up heading back to exactly where I had come from. Oh well, I never would have found everyone in the park by the tower.

We grabbed some food and headed to the park. Grabbed a seat. Too bad it had rained sometime sort of recently, we all ended up with wet butts at some point in the night. Park Life.

It was hilarious to see the guys wandering around selling drinks. They were SUPER over priced (of course). But mostly, it must be illegal because every once in a while they would hide everything in one of the few trees of the area and walk around like they were looking at the tower and then the police would drive by. Then they would go back and grab all their things. A couple were selling the small Eiffel Tower keychains and other small souvenirs which actually turned out to be a decent deal. I didn’t end up with any, but others did.

We hung around for a while, taking some pictures in the process, because what else are you supposed to do when it’s this pretty, and you have people to take fun pictures with!

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Eventually we had drank all our wine and cider and decided we should head home. I thought the metro closed at 2, so the fact that we left at midnight, wasn’t a problem at all. I had two metros to catch to get back to the hostel, easy, restful. Except the metro stops at 12:30, which means the last pick up at stations is sometime before then. So I got to my transfer point and the train pulled in and turned off. Ut-oh. And of course I had taken the metro farther from my hostel than we were to make the transfer. We were nicely at the Arc de Triumph, which had I not been so concerned about getting home, I would have stopped to take pictures in the dark. I had found some guys speaking English, looking at one of the metro maps in the station. I asked where they were going, and luckily, it was half way to where I was going. I asked if we could split the cab and they were more than happy. Turns out Paris is tiny, and the entire fare would have been 17 Euros for myself to get home. With the split and drop off I got home on 7 Euros. Sweet deal. Still a stupid time for the metro to close in such a large city. And something that should definitely have been mentioned somewhere in something I got from the hostel or on all the online info. That’s not even when you leave to head out in a lot of cities.

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