The second part of our trip wasn’t just in Paris, but also in a town about an hour train ride south called Fontainebleau. Our time there was probably what I enjoyed most about the trip, more on that in a bit.
After the science museum I talked about in the last post, we HAD to make sure to stop by Harry’s New York Bar. This is the rumored birthplace of the Bloody Mary, but more importantly the French 75! The French 75 became my favorite cocktail of all time once I started working at a restaurant in Boulder that served it and it’s sooo good! It’s gin, champagne, lemon (or grapefruit) juice and simple syrup. Now anywhere I go, if it’s on the menu, I order it.
According to a sign on the wall inside the bar, the drink was created there in 1915 and it’s name came from “having such a kick that consuming it was compared to being shelled by a French 75mm Field Gun.” The one that I ordered there was different than any that I’ve ever had, but who am I to tell the original location what a French 75 is supposed to taste like? It had quite a bit of Absinthe in it and I’m not really a licorice fan but it was still a cool experience to have that drink in it’s birthplace. One thing that does really stick out in my mind about this part of the visit is kinda gross… there were flies everywhere on the bar! It was kinda crazy but obviously didn’t deter us from checking this off my bucket list haha.
After finishing our drink we were just wandering around and I can’t remember how we decided to to to the Galeries Lafayette, but we did. It is a huge, huge mall that basically looks like the fanciest department store on steroids that you’ve ever seen. Although we did look around briefly at some clothes which were insanely expensive, the point of going there was to get access to their roof which had this amazing view. Since we didn’t do the whole Eiffel Tower thing, it was great to get a nice view from the top(ish) of the city!
The next day we visited the Catacombs which unfortunately has to be the low point of the entire trip for me, but it was because of something that was totally my bad! That being said, the Catacombs themselves are amazing. I had visited them during my high school trip but it was very cool to come back and walk through again. I was pretty frustrated while we were walking through because of what happened before we got in… If you haven’t visited Paris before, the line to get into the Catacombs is one of the notoriously longest out of all the tourist attractions. So before the trip, I bought tickets online that were for a specific time so we could skip the line. Long story short, when we walked up at our time, it wasn’t exactly clear what we should do… so we got in line. FOUR HOURS later we get to the front and the staff noticed we had online tickets and told us we did not have to wait in line at all. I was so mad at myself for wasting so much of our day so I was pretty cranky after that unfortunately, but lesson learned.
The next day was a new day! We took a train to Fontainebleu! This is a picture of the AirB&B we were staying at. I could not get over this manicured garden! So pretty! We were in that part of France for the Festival Django Reinhardt. The festival is in Samois-sur-Seine every year, which is nearby, but because of all the rain they had gotten, it wasn’t safe to have the festival near the river, so they moved it to Fontainebleu which was so convenient for us.
We met up with some of my boyfriend’s friends and former band mates who were visiting from the UK and were in town for the festival as well. At this point in the trip I was pretty mad at myself for not bringing more comfortable walking shoes because my feet were killing me and the grounds at the Château de Fontainebleau are so gorgeous!
It was still nice to relax and look out at all the gardens and listen to my boyfriend and his friends play some music. A group of tourists came over to the bench they were playing on and were obsessed with them. They took so many pictures and selfies of the guys while dancing behind them, it was really cute.
Then it was time for the music festival! It’s a festival in honor of Django Reinhardt who was the master of the Gypsy Jazz genre and is basically the most famous jazz artist to come out of Europe. He’s a big inspiration to my boyfriend who has spent years and years playing in Gypsy Jazz groups. We got to the festival pretty early as you can see by this picture but all those seats ended up being filled! The first band we heard was more traditional and was very good, but the crowd went crazy for the nighttime performer, Gregory Porter. Ironically, he’s an American artist. His style was more jazz/soul/bluesy but it was so good! I really loved the performance.
I couldn’t not include a picture of the food that was served at the festival. Obviously there were a lot of different food trucks and stands but I was drawn to these giant vats of curry. There was one equally as big filled with rice, so it was basically a dream come true for me. After the show we were able to walk back to our AirB&B and see Fontainebleau at night. It’s such an adorable place with all the charming aesthetics of a small French city without all the hustle and bustle that you’ll see in Paris. I’d definitely love to spend more time there.
The next day we took the train back to Paris and it was our last night before leaving the next morning! We had dinner at this great Italian spot which was a perfect pasta meal followed by the most perfect chocolate mousse. The trip was a busy one but I’m happy to have shared it with my boyfriend for our anniversary! I’m hoping we can go back again for the festival and experience different parts of the city in the future.