Waiting in Paris: A Day of Lineups

We got up before sunrise to pick up fresh baguette at Les Gourmandises d’Eiffel, the bakery at the end of our street – it always had a long line outside, so we’d never bothered. But at 8am in the morning, we had the bakery all to ourselves!

We ordered a traditional baguette, croissants, crepes and an escargot shaped pastry. I was hungry, so I ate my crepe as we walked around killing time before the grocery store opened at 8:30am. Everything was warm and fresh out of the oven!

Once the grocery store opened, we bought a bottle of French wine and a corkscrew for a picnic at Versailles in the afternoon. Packed for Versailles, we thought it would be lovely to have our morning cup of coffee on the Eiffel Tower.

photo of a telescope on the Eiffel tower looking out on the city of Paris

Ride up the Eiffel Tower

We lined up at the entrance to the Eiffel Tower. The first security check opened at 9am. They took their time opening the gate and it was all very confusing. Only one elevator was open, so we all lined up for half a hour to buy our tickets. I was prepared to skip the ride up the Eiffel Tower by then as it was cold and I was tired, but Matt coaxed me into staying!

Then we went lined up for yet another security check where our wine and corkscrew were confiscated. They almost took away Matt’s metal comb too! We were very sad to loose our picnic wine and corkscrew.

After lining up yet again to get on the elevator, we finally got up to the second level. I chirped up once I saw the view. It was beautiful! We ordered espresso at the cafe and enjoyed the view as steam from our cups warmed our faces.

photo of crowds in the fog outside the gates of Versailles


We took the train out to Versailles. We snacked on the baguette as we watched the houses go by, declaring it the best baguette we’d had! It’s no wonder the bakery is so popular with the locals.

Despite yesterday’s weather report saying today would be sunny and with a high of 6C, Versailles was covered in thick fog when we arrived. We waited outside in line for over a hour! Fortunately they had free wifi in the square to entertain us.

The palace was interesting, but my favourite part were the vast gardens! Even in winter, it was wondrous and my imagination painted vibrant pictures of it in summer: warm sun, lush green leaves, and fragrant flowers!

At the opposite end of the garden was Marie-Antoinette’ estate. It was very small, drab, and dark in comparison to the palace. It nothing like what I would had associated with her! The doors and furniture were tiny too. She would have been a very small person – a testament to how nutrition has improved, even for royalty!

photo of the hall of mirrors

Royal with Cheese

In homage to the film Pulp Fiction (and to quench our hunger) we popped into the McDonalds outside of Versailles for a Royal with Cheese (hamburger). Matt did not like McDonald’s hamburgers, calling them slimy and making a face. I thought differently however, so got to enjoy one and a half Royal with Cheese hamburgers! Yum, yum!

Catacombs: Take Two

We got to the Catacombs at 5:15pm, just after sunset. To our horror there was a very long line all around the park outside the entrance. Matt and I waited for over half an hour, hardly budging. He went and asked someone near the front how long they’d been waiting: two and a half hours! If we waited that long ourselves, we’d get there just before closing at 8pm. Disappointed, we aborted the mission.

Quiet Night

We went home and did laundry, packed, and set about making dinner. We cooked the rest of our French pasta for dinner, finishing up the leftover baguette and comtĂ© cheese. We lit candles and sat back with glasses of Bordeaux wine to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle one last time, listening to a Parisian radio station broadcasting from Montmartre. The fog was starting to clear finally – we could see the top of the Eiffel Tower in all its glory!

My cold had gotten bad, so I went to bed early, feeling like the most unromantic sniffly mess on my last night in Paris before Bordeaux. What with jet lag, being sick, aches and pains from so much walking, and it being so cold and damp, Paris hadn’t been as a romantic experience as it could be, but we’d made the best of it nonetheless!