Our apartment on Rue Montgolfier in the 3e arrondissement is a gem: charming, awaking to the sounds of children playing the schoolyard across the narrow street to the immense green door welcoming us to our Parisian home. We are living like Parisians, visiting the market for groceries, and soaking up the late evening sunshine as we dine on fresh baguettes and brie from our quaint dining room table. C'est la vie! The Notre Dame is celebrating it's 850 year old birthday this year. It's not showing its age one bit: the gargoyles are breathtakingly eerie and surreal, the stained glass within takes your breath away, and its not a bad place to duck into in the middle of a Parisian thundershower. Words simply do not describe it.
And then, there's Versailles. After successfully navigating the metro system, or not, we find ourselves 10 miles outside Paris, but in another world altogether. With its gold-plated gates welcoming us (and the rest of humanity, or so it seemed), it ushered us into a world of kings and queens, king Louis XIV and Marie-Antoinette surely know who to build themselves a home for the ages. Wow. Room upon room upon room astounded us with beauty on every square inch: floors, ceiling, chandeliers, tapestries, and mirrors. And that was just inside the Palace. Outside, we were star-struck by the first garden and fountain we saw, which led us to explore as much of the vast grounds as we could. Imagine a statue at every turn, a topiary every other foot, fountains where mermaids, cherubs, and Greek gods frolic. We thought we saw it all until arriving at Marie-Antoinette's estate, a hamlet built for her as a reincarnation of her country home. Her temple of love filled us with joy, but it was her simple kitchen gardens, the mills, the cows, and the beauty of a rose bush that had us each picking out which home we would call our own.
With blisters on our feet, we begrudgingly left, back for Paris for another joyous meal at our table, with delicious, but simple food. If only we ate like this every night. Tomorrow, we plan on seeing the Louvre, the Jardin des Tuileries, and climbing up the Eiffel Tower, to take in the grand sweep of this city that has swept us off our feet.