The weekend after hosting our cocktail party, we were on our way to France for vacation. Earlier in the year, we found a wine tour we wanted to go on in the Champagne-Burgundy wine regions. The tour started on Monday, May 30th so we decided to go a little early to enjoy the weekend before the tour.
We flew to Paris on the morning of Friday, May 27th and immediately hopped on the train headed for Versailles. We arrived that afternoon, checked into the Hotel du Cheval Rouge and wandered over to La Boeuf a la Mode restaurant traditionnel to have a late afternoon bite. We ordered the tartar of avocado and smoked haddock salad and the plate of freshly sliced Pata Negra Spanish ham, along with a bottle of rose and sat outside, enjoying the springtime weather. We walked around town before heading back to the hotel for a relax. We went out for a later dinner that evening around 9:00pm at a lovely outdoor dining option just down the street from our hotel.
The next morning we were waiting at the Palace gates at 9:00 am in hopes of beating the tourist rush. Originally this was Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government there in 1682. We did the tour of the State Apartments first including the King’s state apartment and the Hall of Mirrors but the Queen’s apartments were closed. We then walked outside to the Palace grounds to watch the fountain water display at Latona’s Fountain. We followed the suggested morning walk through the gardens before getting hungry for lunch. We grabbed a quick bite then visited the Grand and Petit Trianon et Domaine de Marie-Antoinette. At this point it started to rain but luckily we had our umbrellas. The rain subsided and we started back to the main palace grounds to grab a coffee to rest our feet. We were debating whether to take out the row boats on the Grand Canal, but some dark, ominous clouds were looming so we decided not to. We continued on the great lawn and stopped at some of the other gardens and fountains but by this time the rain was really coming down so we made our way out of the Palace grounds towards our hotel. It was a full day at the Palace of Versailles! We grabbed a snack at the Notre Dame market on our way back to hotel. That evening was the Champions League final so we found a nearby bar playing the match.
The next morning we hopped on the train back to Paris. We dropped our bags at the hotel, freshened up and were soon strolling down the famous Champs-Elysees. We stopped for a bite of lunch at the George V Cafe. We ordered a couple glasses of wine and I got the soup l’oignon and Dan went for the Nicoise salad. We then did some shopping at Massimo Dutti, Zara and Banana when we decided we deserved a drink after all that hard work. We hopped in a taxi to take us to Harry’s New York Bar, the famous cocktail bar Bartender Dan was wanting to visit. Harry’s opened in 1911 attracting expatriates and celebrities and was the birthplace of the Bloody Mary (one of the conflicting claimants anyway), the French 75, the Sidecar, and the Monkey Gland. We ordered our cocktails and enjoyed the ambiance. We then hopped in a taxi back to our hotel as we had to get ready for our dinner party that evening.
We had been invited over to a friend’s place for dinner that evening. We hopped on the metro and were at their apartment by 8:00pm. They started us off with a foie gras appetizer and some champagne – two of our favorites. We then sat down for the seafood extravaganza they had prepared including crevettes grise, crab claws, and langoustines. They then whipped out the most amazing plate of local cheese. We thought we were finished with that but soon appeared the final desserts. What an amazing feast! We soon had to head back to get a good night’s rest before the start of our Champagne to Burgundy wine tour the next morning.