France might be my favorite country to visit with its beautiful countryside and historically old cities. I usually make a trip to Europe once a year and since Seattle has a direct flight to Paris it will always be the first city we explore. Linna and I flew over Labor weekend and we didn’t miss a beat once we landed at Charles de Gaulle airport. We flung our luggage in the rental car and took off to our hotel to quickly freshen up and then drove over to the city of Versailles to visit the Château de Versailles or also called the Palace of Versailles. When the Palace was built in the 1600’s Versailles was a country village and now it’s a wealthy suburb of Paris. This is a very cool area, we actually stayed in Trianon Palace Versailles, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel about 3 years ago.
After a nice sleep we were off the next day to the Notre Dame Cathedral or locals call it “Our Lady of Paris”. The cathedral is considered one of the best illustration of French Gothic architecture and one of the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world. Linna and I walked up the 387 steps to the top to get a fantastic view of the city and the lovely Eiffel Tower. We were still in tourist mode so we started walking along the magnificent Seine River running through the heart of Paris. Passing the many Love Padlocks bridges and eventually stopping for a long overdue lunch. I wanted to end my day at the Eiffel Tower for a few night pictures. This will be my third trip to the most visited paid monument in the world. It’s memorizing when you are on top looking down at the glimmering city lights with the glow of the boats cruising the Seine River.
Paris was complete and the next day we took a bullet train to Lyon where I picked up a rental car and drove over to Lake Geneva. My Hilton hotel was actually located near the shore in the small city of Évian. Its home to the Évian mineral water and hosts the Evian Championship women’s professional golf tournament every year. I was off to Grenoble, France for the day and later we drove down to the most beautiful city in the world…Annecy, France. We had dinner with Benoit and Audrey Clerc…a charming couple I met during my climb of Aconcagua in Argentina in 2012. We had a few beers and dinner later along the Thiou canal and near the Palais de l’Isle castle which was built in 1132. Benoit suggested we drive over to Chamonix, France the next day and take the aerial cable car to Aiguille du Midi an elevation of 3,842 m / 12,605 ft. to view the famous Mont Blanc up close. Well…there was no view the clouds were thick as soup. On the way back to our hotel in Évian I was pulled over speeding and had to pay 90 Euros on the spot.
The next day we were back to Lyon for a peaceful train ride back to Paris. We stayed downtown in the heart of the shopping area and found a romantic sidewalk café for dinner after hours of shopping. We both had flights the next day from Charles De Gaulle but in different directions, I was off to London and Linna was back to Seattle.