This week my parents were in Paris!! So exciting, I know. They rented a lovely apartment in the Marais, right near the St. Paul Metro stop. It had an elevator and a DRIER which is a HUGE deal because my home stay has neither of those things. Needless to say, I lived like a queen for a week.
While my parents were in town, we did a lot of shopping, and eating, and bit of sightseeing, as Goldberg’s do. We went to the Bonne Marche, Galleries Lafayette, St. Germaine neighborhood, a farmers market near my home stay, and explored Ile de la Cite (Notre Dame and the Jewish WW2 Memorial). We walked around the area below Sacre Coeur and went to Sacre Coeur. We explored the Marais and I took them to my favorite falafel place. Needless to say, we covered a lot of ground.
My parents have been to Paris multiple times so some of the “normal” touristy things were not necessary to do again.
The real adventure, however, took place on Saturday. It was a beautiful day so we wanted to take advantage of the weather and be outside, perhaps venture outside of Paris. We decided to journey to the Fontainebleu Chateau, which is about 45 min south east of Paris. We had seen pictures of the chateau and it looked beautiful. We even looked online and figured out how to get there and how to take the RER trains. We go to the station and went to the ticket counter to double check what we had found and the man there told us what train to get on and what stop to get off at. He said, “get off at the Fonatinebleu stop”. We boarded the train until we heard Fontainebleu announced on the loud speaker. We all got up and headed to the doors to get off the train.
As the train pulled up to the stop, we looked around and saw only forest. In my head I remembered that my Madame had told me that the whole magic of Fontainebleu was walking through the perfect forest to get to the chateau. So I thought, “ok, then this must be right, right?”
We jumped off the train, on to a dirt platform with a few other people. We looked around and well, there was forest, that’s for sure. There was nothing BUT forest, which was starting to get concerning. By the time it even crossed my mind that this might not be the right stop, I turned around and the train was gone.
Some of the other people that had gotten off the train with us looked like they were going treking or at least planning on being in nature for a while, and we were in fancy boots and clothing. There was a map, and the chateau and next train stop was on it… but it was a 5 mile walk.
Since we didn’t know what else to do, we started following a couple into the woods in the direction of the chateau. We walked for about 20 – 25 minutes and hit a highway. We debated just walking down the highway or hitch hiking but people were going to fast for our liking so we decided to head back to the “train station” – if you can even call it that- and wait for the next train. After 20 minutes back, we made it to the place we got off the train. Another 20 min passed and the next train in this direction was going to pass anyyyyy minuteeee. 1 train. 2 train. 3 train, 4. 4 trains passed us and not one stopped at our “station”. We started to question if this was even a legitimate stop, and we resorted to our last option…. walking.
Being that we were not wearing walking shoes, nor did we have a trail map, we decided to walk along the train tracks. Tracks lead to stations, right?! We walked the 5 miles to the next station, on the side of the train tracks, in normal clothes. It took us about 2 hous or so to reach the legitimate Fontainebleu stop and by the time we got there it was nearing 2:30 pm and we were all starving. Good thing none of the restaurants in the town of Avon were open.
Basically once we reached town, we walked around for 20 minutes just searching for an open restaurant. Finally we just decided to go to a Tabac (think 7eleven) and get water and then a bakery to get a baguette and some quiche…. and then…. get back on the train to Paris.
Overall our “trip” to Fontainebleu did not end so well, nor did we even get to see the chateau, but it was definitely a story. I didn’t take any pictures of our trek because let’s be real, we were all a little sensitive.
The rest of my time with my parents was spent walking around the Ile de la Cite and around the Marais, and of course, going out to dinner. They left super early Sunday morning, only to be replaced with Lena’s friend coming to Paris. (Shout out:Katie, and hi Lena). Once we – Lena and I- gathered Katie from the Metro, we walked around the farmers market, got coffee and headed to Versaille!