Trip To Paris France - Day 4
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If you haven't read the previous parts,
- How to Prepare for a Trip To Paris
- Trip To Paris France - Day 1
- Trip To Paris France - Day 2
- Trip To Paris France - Day 3
Day 4: Chantilly, in and around Citadium
Before leaving Paris, we wanted to see the countryside of France as well. Why just explore the city. The most popular destination in France outside Paris is the Wine country, with its elaborate Wine tasting tours. However, living very close to Niagara on the lake, home for Ontario’s popular Wine, we didn’t really feel like exploring the Wine country. My husband did some research on this and found a palace that we could go and explore Château de Chantilly, house of Princes of Condé, cousins of the Kings ofFrance.
How to reach Chantilly?
We first took the local subway to ‘Gare du Nord’ station, from where we had to either travel by RER line D (which takes about 45 minutes to get there) or SNCF line (takes about 25 minutes). Since it was quicker by SNCF, we took SNCF train to Chantilly. You don’t have to buy tickets in advance. The train was practically empty when we took it, creating a bit of confusion for us. We were not sure we were going on the right direction or not. But finally another passenger got on the train and we did get a confirmation from the passenger.
Getting off at Chantilly – Gouvieux, we walked straight down the road and found a tourism office. We went inside the office where the nice lady gave us all the information we needed.
Things to explore at Château de Chantilly were,
- The Gardens and the Park, where you could have a nice picnic,
- The Condé Museum - The Castle and
- The Horse Museum - The Grand Stables.
- Along with these, the horse museum also had special horse shows.
Nothing comes for free, and so was exploring the Estate. To gain access to all these different facilities, we had to pay entrance fee, either a combined fee or individually. We bought combined tickets.
After collecting all the required information, we walked towards the Château. On the way from the information center to the Château:
It was a beautiful and relaxing walk. On the way to the grand stable. The trees are also maintained the way we maintain bushes, nicely trimmed:
Occasionally, this place organizes Horse Race:
Reaching the stable, we got to know that the next horse talent show was a couple of hours later. So we decided to explore the palace first.
View of the palace while walking towards it from the grand stable: This is the most beautiful palace that I had ever seen from the outside:
The palace also was a Museum (The Condé Museum), with its huge collection of paintings:
And more paintings (There were many rooms with paintings covering their walls):
The museum offers a free audio tour. So timing is up to you. You can spend hours in this place. Every room has a number and you have to dial the number on the handset to listen to the details of the room and the objects in the room. I find the self-guided audio tours are the best!
The beautiful garden with its lake:
View of garden from the palace:
Before we could explore the garden much, it was time for us to go to the horse show. We went to the horse stable and admired a lot of horses and ponies and sat in the auditorium like structure, where we thought the show would be conducted. One of the instructors was practicing with her horse:
We were told the show would be conducted outside and so we followed everyone outside:
The show demonstrated how they used to be trained by different Kings, their expected behavior and some tricks. But everything was in French. I could not understand a bit and had to rely on my husband’s vague explanation. So, I was not very interested. For people who understood French, it was wonderful.
After the show we started exploring the horse museum. I liked the horse museum. It had all things related to a horse.
Saddles through ages:
Carts. I thought this one was from India, but it was not. It was from Russia (I think).
Miniature horse carts through the ages (This picture looked like Indians driving the cart carrying a British from East India Company):
More horse carts:
I wanted to explore more, but it was time to start heading back.
Although we had time for the return train, we also wanted explore the small town. Instead on retracing our steps back to the train station, we decided to take an alternate route. Did we know of any alternate route? No. Since we had some time, we randomly started on a way out and ended on an unpaved road. We were so randomly lost, I was not even sure if we were going towards or further away from the railway station. I was very tempted to ask for directions, but my husband (No idea why he does this often) insisted on going a little further. We were literally walking through forest and bushes away from the road. I wish we had taken a few photographs. But finally we neared a clearing and there was a board written in French with direction to the railway station. Signing a relief, I insisted on no more ‘short cuts’. By the time we reached the railway station, we had 30 more minutes to spend and the town seemed to have already closed for business. With nothing else to do we got some pastries from a near by shop, sat in the shade of a closed shop and relaxed.
Shopping in Paris can get really crazy
This was our last day to explore Paris and I had not yet bought my ‘fashion forward purse’. Taking this opportunity, we went on to explore the streets of Paris near Citadium mall (Saint-Lazare/Grands Magasins). The streets were crowded with shoppers:
The shops were full of branded products, but none in my budget. Have you ever wondered does anyone sell purses worth crores of rupees? Well they apparently do here. I felt everything was too precious to even touch.
We walked around in and around Saint-Lazare, in and around Bd Hussmann, Bd Malesherbes, near Madeleine subway station and finally reaching Opéra, subway station. Unfortunately I could not find even a single purse that seemed to be worth the product. I even tried bargaining from a street vendor who would not sell an un branded purse for 50 Euros.
C&A store seemed to be a bit reasonable among all.
We took the subway from Opéra to Palais Royal - Musée du Louvre, where we had some dinner. I was still not about to give up. We later went to a souvenir store and bought a purse and a few souvenirs.
Day 5: Ta-Ta Bye-Bye
By the fifth day, we were very tired. Vacations can be more tiring than the usual mundane days. We decided to wake up late, checked out and took a small walk to a nearby restaurant for brunch. We had some pasta and left to Gare du Nord station, from where we had to catch a train to Amsterdam.
The distance between Paris and Amsterdam is about three- three and a half hours. Had a good rest that day.
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