The gardens at the palace of Versailles

©Stella Kalaw

From a distance—and especially if contemplated on an axis—Le Nôtre's universe may appear to be static. But this is merely an illusion of formality, dispelled as soon as the spectator moves into the space and begins negotiating the complex shifts in level, the visual tricks at play and the everchanging relationships between volumes.

—Eric T. Haskell
from Michael Kenna’s Le Nôtre Gardens

So many things have been written about the gardens of Versailles and how magnificent it is. But for T & I, being there renewed our appreciation for architectural sight lines—your experience of a space in one spot can be completely different from your experience of it a few feet away in any direction. We walked the grounds for two hours or so. For lunch, we sat on a bench under a shaded tree and ate pastries we bought from a local boulangerie near the hotel earlier in the day. From the palace, the gardens stretched as far as the eye could see. We wanted to go on but had to catch the train back to the city.

More Paris

©Stella Kalaw

Light rain greeted us as we stepped out of the RER train from the airport to the Denfert-Rochereau station. We debated whether we should transfer to the local metro which was closest to the hotel or to exit at this stop. T consulted a map and determined that we were two blocks away. We had no sense of how far the walk would be so we opted to do the transfer. We dragged our roller bags up and down stairwells and caught the Line 6 train to Saint Jacques. Later, we found out that the two stations were within one short block of each other.

Thanks to Mr. B who upgraded our airline seats, T & I got some decent rest during the flight and had enough energy to squeeze some sightseeing that afternoon. The rain had stopped so we headed down to the Picasso Museum. We arrived to a sign that said: closed for renovation until August 2011. We checked the website before we left San Francisco and did not remember reading such closure so we were quite disappointed. We looked through our list so we could pick other options. We decided to walk over to the Pompidou then later catch the 69 bus to the Eiffel Tower.

For the next four days, we zipped in and out of the subway system to get to our destinations. Paris is a beautiful city and I must admit, I appreciate it more now than my first visit. We had a packed itinerary so we could take in as much as it can offer. We wished we stayed a bit longer so we could enjoy our activities at leisure. But, that only means we will have to make our way back there someday.