Yes, Adam posted some pics of some delish picnic eats, but little did he mention, this was from our Versailles Gardens day with our first guests of the year, VP and Martha Trinh. It's VP and Martha's first time in Europe, and they decided to drop in for a few days before Eurorail'n it through Switzerland and Italy. We had an awesome 3-day visit with a whirlwind tour of Paris including a stop at the big sights, many pics, and of course, an introduction to Paris' outdoor gear shops. VP was in search of a new daypack. I think the sight of our Au Vieux Campeur stores blew their minds as one can find dozens of shops sprinkled all throughout the 5eme. Being that this company has so much stock and that real estate space is precious, they have rented out a multitude of storefronts within a few blocks radius, each with their own theme; backpacks, maps, climbing gear, scuba gear, snowboards, you name it, there's a shop for it. It's an outdoors lover's dream.
In general, though, everything seemed to fall right into place with VP&M's visit...perfect weather, Eiffel Tower twinkling right as we arrived, gardens in full bloom....and it just so happened that the day we visited Versailles was the first day that the gardens were playing music throughout. Ah but alas...the hordes of tourists! And apparently now that it was 'high season', the gardens were no longer free. We had a couple walking back from the palace warning us to turn back, the line would take hours. blah. We weren't in the mood for this, so Adam and I dug into the coffers of our student-day memories to figure out how we used to get into the garden sans charge. We walked along the side of the garden walls and found a side gate with a worker unlocking it; it was worth a shot. And somewhere outa nowhere, the courage came out and I walked right up to the man and asked in the best french I could if we could enter here for a picnic. He gestured that we could picnic somewhere outside the gates, but a simple puppy dog face and a "mais pas les jardins, monsieur?" (but not the gardens) melted his authority. First he fidgeted with his cell to ask his superior, then simply waved us in and kindly directed us to the gardens. I guess the french really does work sometimes when you want something. Needless to say, we got in and had a magnificent spread of fresh market eats and wine along the canal followed by a full day of promenading throughout the grounds.
Just hours after arriving, we all took a stroll though town and stopped at each park along the way for a jet-lagged snooze
Coffee break before heading off the to outdoor gear shops.
Look at the WOW face with these pop-up tents!
Along the Seine for sunset
Introduction to French Cider. I think we found a winner.