The last Paris post! I've been so pleased to share this special trip with you and have loved your comments and thoughts. It truly was a dream come true to go there and whet our appetite for more travel (so long as the grandparents are willing to stand in with the kids!) Here are the other five posts:

PARIS {PART ONE} MARKET TOUR AND COOKING CLASS

PARIS {PART 2} NOTRE DAME AND SHAKESPEARE AND CO. BOOKSTORE

PARIS {PART 3} THE SEINE

PARIS {PART 4} THE LOUVRE, CHAMPS ELYSEE, ARC DE TRIOMPHE

PARIS {PART 5} THE GLORIOUS FOOD AND WALKING AROUND!

If you are interested in purchasing any prints of France, I have them all up on my client gallery on my website:

1. Click HERE and then type in "Paris" as your login.

2. As you watch the images scroll through, click on “Purchase options and image info.” at the bottom and place your order. (Free shipping on any orders $25 or over…otherwise $3 shipping will apply. Prices include tax).

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Her mom is one of my dear friends and she told me that her daughter is a lover of things French so sweet Taylor, since it may be a few years until you get to go, these are for you.

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Taylor, I promise you, this pastry was delish :) .

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Near the end of our trip, Fiona kindly took us on a tour of Versailles. We fortified ourselves with crepes before we entered.

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The grandeur and art and wealth of the palace was truly indescribable. What began as a hunting lodge where the kings would enjoy their sport, became a royal chateau and the center of French political power. In 1683 Louis XIV moved out of Paris and the royal family and their entourage lived here until they were forced to return to Paris in 1789 at the beginning of the French Revolution.

Here I am with Louis at the entrance.

 

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It was so stunning there. Hello, gold.

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We started at the chapel were a daily mass was held. I was scrambling on our tour to listen to my headset and to photograph the opulence.

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The paintings, the art, the design..it was remarkable.

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When we went into the very famous Hall of Mirrors, it was so remarkable to think of the history that had happened here. This was the very hall where the Treaty of Versailles had been signed, which ended World War 1.

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In a brief moment, of no one else in the frame in the middle of that super crowded room, I caught my own silhouette.

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Then, in the spirit of Louis XIV, I got slightly narcissistic and photographed myself in several mirrors around the chateau.

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Eeps, here I am again, after a nice Asian grandma saw what I was doing and scuttled out of the picture.

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Fiona was so fun to be with. What a blessing it was for her to take time out of her schedule to tour us around.

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Marie Antoinette's bedroom. What was most remarkable to me is that these rooms were all connected not by a hallway, but by doors on either sides of the rooms. Can you imagine having people traveling to a couple rooms down, just trotting through the queen's chambers?

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We finished off the day, wandering the gardens and eating chocolate ice cream at an outdoor cafe.

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Here's a little money talk on how much this trip cost as some of you were interested. It's sometimes hard to know what to budget for a trip like this so we had set aside plenty of money and were pleasantly surprised to come in way under budget. We didn't pay for our flights as we used airmiles to travel over there which really covered a huge part of the expense.

I've converted funds over from euros to US dollars.

$1, 730 on accommodations for eight nights. We weren't in the most luxurious accommodations but we loved our little hotel and especially loved its location and proximity to the center of the city.

$400 on the cooking and market class at La Cuisine. It cost a bit but this was our splurge and we would do it again in a heartbeat.

$1, 400 on all of our transportation, museum passes, food, shopping. I'll have to add, we were not conservative with this money. While not wasteful, we certainly went out for nice meals, saw what we wanted to see, and brought home plenty of goodies :)

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$3, 530 US which we thought was pretty great.

So we took a few walks around the iconic Eiffel Tower. It was a short metro ride from where we were staying. We'd had a print for years up in our dining room and were determined to find the street from which it was taken. I think this was it.

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The gorgeous trees and parks around were so pretty to walk through.

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On our last day in Paris we were pretty much toast after walking so much all week and seeing the sights so we decided to have an easy day shopping locally and then we packed a picnic for dinner by the Eiffel Tower. Romantic, yes?

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After we ate and read for a while, we walked around the pathways and found a spot past an expanse of grass that was blocked off.

I took a picture of Ben.

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He took a picture of me.

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Then I said, "Oh, for heaven's sake. We're at the Eiffel Tower, I need a picture of us together." Scanning around, it was almost completely empty there with only about three or four students taking pictures of each other several feet away so I set up my camera on my bag, turned on the timer and did the whole dash and run in thing.

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After two times, I was ready to set the timer and run back and Ben said, "STOP, stay there!" Not noticing anything really, I waited and then when he said to go ahead. I took one last shot.

Afterwards he told me that three guys had approached and separated on either side of us. As I was giddily running around, he saw one look at us, look at his buddies and look at the camera. Ben caught his eye and stared him down until they slunk off together. Those stinkers!

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Ben made sure I got one good shot and then told me.

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Afterwards I was just shaking and chilled by how close I had come to losing all that equipment...and my memory card of the whole trip! When they say to watch for pick pockets, they mean it! Thank goodness for my keen husband!

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It was a wonderful trip, one we would do again in a heartbeat. I do want to thank you for all the recommendations that several of you sent along and for your interest in re-living this trip with me!

Last but not least, I want to announce the winners of the Paris Print Giveaway! I have thoroughly enjoyed you sharing what your best and worst vacations were and feel very inspired to keep on traveling!

These four people have been drawn to win (2) eight by ten prints from my Paris galleries on my website (valued at $50 per set).

1. Lisa Alleson

2. Stephanie Rotthaus

3. Shelly Vandiver

4. Michalina Adolf

Yayyyyy! To all the others who "shared" or commented in this contest, if you would like to place an order, you will receive 25% off your Paris Print orders if placed by FRIDAY, JUNE 29.

Winners, will you please go to the galleries and order your prints (disregarding payments, of course!) by FRIDAY, JUNE 29. Thank you!!! I hope you enjoy your prints :) .

Thank you all so much for your kindness and support! Au revoir :) .

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