Saturday, September 7, 2019

London & Paris 2019 - Day 6 (9/6/2019) - French palaces (Louvre & Versailles)

Today was a day of optional excursions to two former royal palaces in/around Paris.  The start time was virtually the same as the day before (actually 5 minutes later, at 8:50am), and so was our breakfast.  The plan was to connect the excursions to the Louvre museum and the palace in Versailles, with the coach not returning to the hotel until late afternoon.  Mom and I had opted for both excursions, so that was just fine with us.  I should point out, though, that the tour did make accommodations for guests who had opted for only one of the excursions.

The coach dropped us off in the parking lot beneath the Louvre and Doug handed us off to Anna for the day.  She took us through a short highlights tour of the museum (guiding us using the same ear-pieces that she had been using with us ever since arriving in Paris), with the longest stops at the three most famous pieces - Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory (aka Nike) of Samothrace.  These are the same 3 works that my only previous tour to the Louvre had breezed through 14 years prior; I still don't particularly understand what makes these 3 so famous.  After the museum tour we had about an hour of free time, which I used to go up to the ground level courtyard to take some pictures (but then also had to wait in the security line to re-enter).

The group reconvened a little after noon to board the coach for the drive to Versailles; I don't remember much of this drive, as I had a difficult time staying awake.  We were dropped off in the parking lot of the palace grounds, and then Anna led us into the palace for a quick guided tour.  After that she handed us our tickets to the palace gardens and left us to explore those on our own for about an hour.  It was during this time that my mom commented (in confirmation of what I had advised her a couple of days ago) that Versailles puts Buckingham Palace to shame.

We met the group back at the bus at 3:20pm for the drive back to the hotel.  The trip took a little over an hour, and Doug was waiting to meet us upon our return to relay information about the evening plans.  We assembled again at 6:15 to drive out for the tour farewell dinner.  This meal was at a restaurant close to the Louvre, and we were again given a 3 course meal with 3 options for each course.  I had onion soup (for the third time on the tour) as my starter, with a main of "wok vegetables" (the weakest course of the meal), and a tasty slice of apple tart for dessert.  Mom and I sat at a table with Dan and Merle (the same Houston couple we had dined with 2 nights prior) for the meal.  The ladies from Michigan were once again a rowdy table, even without an accordion player to spur them on.

After dinner we boarded the coach for the drive back to the hotel, where we said goodbye to (and exchanged contact info with some of) our fellow tour-goers.



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