SO we arrived in Paris last week and have been having a great time, enjoying great cheese, great wine and meeting lots of great people...its been great!
In Paris we managed to stumble upon a free walking tour (in English) around downtown Paris, after we had our bearings and better knew where we wanted to go and what to see...including Notre Dame, Louvre, Arc de Triumph, Tour Eiffel, Les Invalides, L'ecole Militaire (where Napoleon went to Military school), St.Michaels Square. The first day we didn't go in anything just walked around and got all the trips and info and lots of history. The next day we went to Chateau Versailles, and it is AMAZING! The gardens are beautiful, we packed some bread and cheese and oranges and had a picnic in front of where the royalty lived! And then we went to see the Sacred Coeur - if you come to Paris - go here! There is a beautiful view of the city and the church is breath-taking and the area around the church is full of small cafes and beautiful houses and cobblestones and the Moulin Rouge, and we saw the Eiffel tower "sparkle" when thousands of little white lights flicker all over and it is really nice! Then we went to the Louvre...well there is a lot in the Louvre and although we saw the Mona Lisa there were many more other interesting things in the Louvre. We stayed with Denis's aunt just outside of Paris and she was very kind and we had dinner with her two daughters and Bernard and their son Baptiste and they were all very kind.
We left Paris on Saturday and went east to Strasbourg, which is also very beautiful although much more relaxing than Paris. The pace of life in Paris is quite fast and the traffic is crazy but in Strasbourg it is much smaller and quieter and perfectly fit the image of France I had in my head, there is a Gothic Cathedral de Notre Dame which was INCREDIBLE and we walked all the stairs to the top for a birds eye view of the city, went on a river boat tour complete with lockes that change the water level so you can continue on different parts of the canals. We had our first couch surfing experience with Pierre and it was GREAT, he was very generous and kind and introduced us to his friends...one of whom offered to let us stay with her in Dijon, where we are now exploring the Cote D'or wine country...the vineyards aren't quite blooming yet but there is lots of wine to drink! We had a fabulous dinner with our host Stephanie last night and ate the region's fare.
Next we are off to Avignon, Marseilles, Nice and Monaco before we head to Italy!
Hope to hear from you all soon
Sarah and Denis