I have been back for a week and already I feel it was a dream that I was in France. I had the opportunity to take a class with world renowned decorative arts professionals Pierre Finkelstein and Jean Luc Sable at Ecole Sable in Versailles, France. Yes, I said Versailles. <sigh>. And it was amazing. Mike came with me, he wasn't going to pass up an opportunity to travel to one of the cycling meccas of the world, even if it was in March. We flew out of Dulles outside of Washington DC on the 4th of March replete with our necessities: painting materials, guidebooks, and Mike's bike in a box. Yep. Mike brought his bike. Does that surprise you? Me neither.
We flew into Charles De Gaulle Airport and took the RER across town to our little place I rented in Versaille. It was an ordeal to say the least. We didn't realize that we had to steel our jet lagged ears against singing and accordion playing gypsies, traipse up and down stairs trying to change trains, hoist our gear up into the train and race against the closing doors that will NOT reopen...not to mention the 1/4 mile hike from the train station to our place once we arrived at Versailles. All with our luggage. And Mike's bike box. But we made it 13 hours after we left Dulles at 6pm the night before.
We had two days before class started so that we could explore the town of Versailles and Paris. The day we arrived (after we recovered from our train ride) we had a bite to eat at a restaurant a block from our place and then walked around the town of Versailles and were in awe of the magnitude of opulence that is the 'Chateau'. We had dinner that evening in Versailles at Chez Lazare, where they spoke English! Tres Bien!
The next day we went into Paris and followed "Rick Steve's Historic Paris Walk" which started us at Notre Dame then around to the Latin Quarter. We deviated and took a side trip to the Pantheon and then returned to Saint Chapelle and the Concierge (which was closed.)
Notre Dame: I remember learning about these "flying buttresses" in art history class.
The third day we went back to Paris and headed straight for the Place de la Concord and walked up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomph. Mikey was in his element. It was really cool seeing all of these landmarks up close and in person. Pont Alexandre III
Here Mike is standing in the gutter on the Champs Elysees. Next time you watch the final stage of the tour, keep an eye on when they ride this stretch. Since its the smoothest part of the street cyclists fight to get a part of the gutter which is only about 16-18 inches wide. And they go about 30 mph. We then walked over to the Eiffel Tower and then back to the Musee de Arts Decoratif.
Up next: Class starts and Mikey goes on his own "Tour de France"
To be continued!