"I Know What You're Going To Say" - France Sept 2019 - Update 12/4 EMH, 12/5 Disneyland, WDS and Remy

Dis_Yoda

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Yay! I’m so excited for your adventure! So sorry Dorian was stressful! Travel safe! Can’t wait for updates!
Thank you! I'm excited for finally be on this adventure as well! I'm very glad Dorian didn't visit us this time around but we know that is a risk of Florida living.

Hurrah for being on vacation! Thank goodness Dorian was not an issue. I’m following along on insta too... hope you have an amazing time!!!!!
So far it has been! Our Tauck portion officially kicks off tonight with the welcome dinner in about an hour. It's going to be hard today to decide what photos the day I'm going to be using for Instagram as there was just so much!
 

Dis_Yoda

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Welcome to Trianon

Our drive from the airport to Versailles took about 75 minutes. I was amazed by the amount of graffiti along the highway but I live in a town where that isn’t tolerated and my husband reminded me of some other places we have lived where it was common. The ones that were good were at least fun to see. We also passed two of my former customers back from when I still worked in Aerospace which made me smile a bit.


Transport


Arrival

Our room was ready so we headed up to the fourth floor where we were pleased to see we got an upgraded room as well. We settled in. I took a shower to get the feel of travel off of me while my husband played on his computer.







We debated on getting a bite for lunch downstairs at either the bar or the Veranda but once we sat on the bed, we knew we shouldn’t go anywhere. We took a long nap as we felt like zombies anyway. When we woke up, we stuck around the room a bit more before heading down to the Bar Gallerie for a glass of Champagne as we knew if we stayed in the room longer, we wouldn’t be able to get moving again. We also had our first miscommunication of the trip when I asked for the check and we ended up getting a second round of champagne. I had the Deutz Rose while my husband had the Taittinger Brut. They brought us some bites of praline almonds, herb coated cashews and olives. The almonds were the best part of the three and we quickly finished those out.



We did get the bill but still had some more time to kill before our reservations so we walked the hotel grounds. We found we were along the farm of the Royal Grounds of Versailles so we said hi to the goats and sheep.





 
  • TeeterTots

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 9, 2014
    ooh, I love your room! looks like you are off to a good start with the rose! Lovely photos!
     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    That room looks so big.
    Have a great trip!
    For a room in France, it was very spacious as I know European Hotel Rooms are typically smaller. It actually was smaller than our room at our second hotel where we have a real sitting area along with a skylight and lovely bathroom, but the second hotel is rumored to be haunted so I'm not sure what's better.
    So far it has been great (other than I may make an enemy of the other couple from Naples as I'm about to snap at them for their entitlement and constant rudeness since they have been late now both days for start time and they just don't seem to care rather than apologize to us about it since when they are late - it takes away from other things - but that's a risk of group travel)

    ooh, I love your room! looks like you are off to a good start with the rose! Lovely photos!
    I loved that room! Can't go wrong with rose to start off the trip! Lots of wine to follow!
     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    Chef’s Table at Gordon Ramsay’s Au Trianon

    We checked in right before 7:30pm and were led to the table in front of their kitchen. We had our photo taken and upon looking at it - I can tell, I’ve lost weight as that dress was swallowing me. Guess that’s a good thing!




    Place Setting


    73 page wine list


    Chefs in the kitchen

    Our meal included a bottle of Champagne Dehours and we also ordered a bottle of Trainon 2010 which was a red wine made from Merlot nearby and aged to the right point. We switched to the red after the first few courses and finished the champagne with the desserts.

    We were given our amuse bouche which was three small bites of veal head, fish tartare and a piece of tuna. I enjoyed each of those while my husband just liked the first one.


    Amuse Bouche
    We had two types of bread - french baguette & olive bread that were served with salted butter. We went through three of baguettes over the course of the evening as they were so good!


    Bread and butter

    The next course was a lot of caviar. The best part of the dish was the sauce which made eating all the salmon so much easier. My husband only ate half and was told he should speak up if there are things he doesn’t like. He explained he rather try things and if he doesn’t love them, save stomach space for all the goodies we knew we had coming.


    ‘Scottish’ Salmon, Smoked with Beechwood, Caviar,cucumber flower

    The next dish also was a winner for the cream used. That cream could have been on anything I probably would have eaten it. The meats were simple in preparation with just the right amount of seasoning but that sauce pulled it all together. We loved it!


    Chicken, Sweetbreads, Lobster with Almond Cream

    Our next course was all about the vegetables. While I really loved the onions and carrots, lentils are not my thing but they are my husband’s so he stole everything I didn’t eat. This might have been one of his favorite dishes of the night!


    Beluga lentils from “Perche” glazed vegetables, sorrel condiments, Roasted jus

    Continuing on, the lead server plated our next dish in front of us with the deshelling of the lobster along with pouring the bisque on top. This was a lot of lobster for me but it was well done. The bisque was velvety and really was my favorite part. I couldn’t finish it as I knew we had a lot more to come.


    Blue Lobster, tomato tartare, creamy bisque emulsion

    Our main course was lamb. I was nervous my husband wouldn’t enjoy it as he usually doesn’t like lamb dishes. He enjoyed it but not as much as the lamb dish he had in Capri but I doubt anything could top that.


    Lamb, 4 ways with eggplant caviar & onion straws

    They rolled over the cheese cart to present the cheeses to us. I’m sad I didn’t make notes of what the cheeses were. I skipped the blue as I knew it would probably be too strong for me. The flower jelly was almost like honey and I really loved it on the stronger of the two cheeses with the jelly on it. It reminded me of a parmesan reggiano but stronger. My husband got all three and confirmed he isn’t a fan of blue cheese either.


    Cheese Cart


    Cheese with Frozen Grapes, Flower Jelly

    We cleaned our palettes as we moved to dessert. I’ve had mint sorbet and yuzu sorbet before but the combination of those two flavors with basil was refreshing without being too sweet.


    Yuzu, Mint, Basil Sorbet

    The first dessert was simple. Custard with fresh blueberries and a very light meringue on top. The blueberries were so tiny that they were amazing. I loved them.


    Blueberries

    The next dessert was incredibly light and a hit for both of us. There was also a salted caramel bourbon ice cream served with it which I could have easily eaten more of.


    Crispy Mille-Feuille, Madagascar & Tahitian Vanilla Cream

    The next dish was a ginger-cream filled baba that was flambed in front of us with some more fruit. We really loved these as the fruit was also perfectly cooked with the rum as well.



    Baba on Fire


    Flambed Baba, Roasted Pineapple with Ginger, Rum Ice Cream & Chantilly Cream

    As we had our espresso, we also each got a small hazelnut puff pastry which was a lovely way to end the dinner.


    Hazelnut Puff Pastry

    As we settled the bill (which was actually cheaper than I was expecting), we were given a thank you gift to bring back to our room. It was some type of cake pastry which I ate one so far. It was wonderful but well, Tauck has been keeping us full so I haven’t needed to snack much during the day to eat it. Overall, this meal was wonderful. It took about four hours start to finish. Would I do it again? Probably not because of the costs involved & there are so many places to eat if I was to return to the area but I’m very glad I did it this one time.



    Goodbye Gift

    Upon return to the room, we had a letter from Tauck welcoming us along with a few reminders for the trip. While we could get our tickets tomorrow morning, the tour would officially kick off the next evening at 6:30.


    Welcome Letter from Tauck
     
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  • Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    That dinner looks amazing and a lot of food. If you don't mind me asking how much did it cost?
    In my initial email, I was told it would be 770 Euros & the wording of my inquiry made it seem for the table of two that the bottle of champagne wasn’t included and it was only included for tables of 4 or 6 (that table starts at 1200 Euros) This made me think it would end up being around 900 to 1000 Euros as I figured my husband and I would have either a couple wine pairings or a bottle of wine or two. This is why in our initial debate to do it or not - we agreed if we were to do this - it would mean counter service at Disneyland Paris as we didn’t want to give up Jules Verne. It ended up being 700 for the Chef’s Table including the bottle of champagne. Our additional bottle of wine was 80 Euros so 780 in total. Still not a cheap meal but worth it for a true treat.
     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    Heading to Versailles

    We hadn’t set an alarm when we went to bed the night before to help us finish our adjustment to the time zone. I woke up around 7AM while my husband woke up around 8AM. When he got up, we got ready to head downstairs for breakfast since it was included with our stay. Breakfast was decent. I stuck to basics with bacon, french bread, fruit and cheese slices. We weren’t really hungry but it was free so we figured we might as well get some food before heading out for what we figured would be a long day.


    Breakfast Plate

    After breakfast, I headed to the concierge to pick up our tickets. I told them our last name and they just looked at me. When I told them I was with Tauck, I got looked at again. So I pointed to my name on their Tauck list and I said, I know, I don’t look like their usual guests and he laughed. Pretty sure the couple near us was along with Tauck & didn’t appreciate that comment. We were given a map on how to walk to Versailles but even with that, we took a wrong turn to add to our already high mileage day. At least it’s kinda like training for the Disneyland Paris races we have at the end of the trip right?


    Versailles Ticket

    Eventually, we got to the right place and we entered through the side entrance near the Neptune section of the Gardens and we headed towards the Chateau so we could visit the palace.







    Palace Gates

    Once we got through security, we headed with the rest of the mass of crowds through the initial art galleries, king’s bedroom and chambers followed by the queen’s bedroom and chambers. While the rooms were incredibly detailed, they were crowded from all the guests and tour groups not listening to the ‘no discussions in this room’ signs.







    The hall of mirrors was also gorgeous.




    We continued to the other floors until we think we visited everything there was to see inside. If we missed something, oops!



     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    Versailles Continued

    We left the Palace and continued onto the Gardens. We stayed to the west side and central with the intention of finishing the east side after lunch.










    While we had reservations at Ore, we ended up missing them due to the timing of them and where we were located at. One of the restaurants of Versailles ended up working for us as it was located where we felt was a good resting place before heading over to the Trianons, the Hamlet & the Farm. The La Petite Venise had just opened for the day so we headed over and took a seat at the patio outside.


    Menu

    We weren’t really hungry so we each got something light to enjoy. My soup was wonderfully refreshing and just enough to keep me going for the rest of the day. My husband enjoyed his chicken but my husband enjoying Caesar salads should not be a shock for anyone that has ever read one of my reports.


    Wine & Bread


    Fresh Watermelon Soup, Buffalo Ricotta with Basil, Melon, Pane Carasau


    Grilled chicken fillet with rosemary (Caesar Style), Romaine heart, Mimosa egg, Parmesan Sauce, Dried Tomato
     
  • Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    Trianons

    After lunch, we headed down the path to the Trianons.


    Path

    We started with the Petit Trianon which was the one that had been gifted to Marie Antoniette.









    As this was not enough for her, she also built for herself English style gardens and a Hamlet. We loved these as they just felt so different than the rest of Versailles. Sadly, the insides weren’t open to explore but the outsides were so unique!










    After the Hamlet, we found the farm that still has animals kept there along with the working farm dog. We had to say hello!






    Found the Farm Dog






    We also found Black Phillip.


    Black Phillip

    As we headed back towards the entrance of the Trianons, we realized we were okay with skipping the Grand Trianon and the rest of the gardens as we had already walked a ton and we still had to get back to the hotel. Am I sad I missed them? A bit, but we also saw a lot as we had been there for over 5 hours already. We walked back to the hotel where I took a bath and played on my computer while my husband went for a run in the hotel gym (that half marathon is sneaking up on him!) before it was time to meet the people we would be spending the next 12 nights with!​
     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    Tauck Welcome Dinner

    At 6PM, we got ready to head downstairs. We were about 10 minutes early but the director was already there and she was super friendly. We put our name tags on and got some wine from the bartender in the room.


    Welcome Sign

    For the first 30 minutes, we mingled with a few guests - a couple from Ohio and two sisters that were traveling together since the rest of their travel party canceled due to an illness of one of their in-laws. Another person was solo due to her husband recently having knee surgery so in our group of 20, we had 5 solos. There was another couple from Naples but they were a more traditional Naples couple than what my husband and I are so you can imagine how well we get along (although they are oblivious). They brought along their niece for her graduation present from university so we weren’t the youngest! At 7, we sat at the tables and looked over the menus to make our selections while also going around to introduce everyone. Overall the meal was great - although my husband discovered he didn’t enjoy Foie Gras but this would be the place to try it.


    Menu


    More Bread


    Smoked Salmon, Lemon & Cream


    Foie Gras with three peppers, toasted brioche


    Yellow Chicken Breast, Crusty Polenta, Sauteed Vegetables, Chicken Juice


    Chocolate & Caramel Short Bread, Iced Chocolate Ganache


    Macaron

     

    2xcited2sleep

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2008
    Wow!! Everything sounds and looks so amazing. Except that couple who is consistently late - so disrespectful. The chef’s table experience sounds ridiculously amazing. How far in advance did you have to reserve that? And is there only one table in the kitchen or multiple? Good to know that there were solos on the trip as I’d likely be if I went. I take it the Tauck demographic trends older? Love all the exploring you got to do so far.
     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    I’m loving everything!
    Me too!

    Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my screen!
    If you're drooling now - you're going to be drooling more later!

    Wow!! Everything sounds and looks so amazing. Except that couple who is consistently late - so disrespectful. The chef’s table experience sounds ridiculously amazing. How far in advance did you have to reserve that? And is there only one table in the kitchen or multiple? Good to know that there were solos on the trip as I’d likely be if I went. I take it the Tauck demographic trends older? Love all the exploring you got to do so far.
    It has been mostly amazing. I booked the chef's table about 2 months in advance when I couldn't get a table in the normal reservation - I figured I could try for the chef's table & if I didn't get in - it wasn't meant to be. There is only one table in the kitchen that can seat up to 6.

    The Tauck demographic skews towards those 50s+, mostly retired or close to retirement. We are the youngest couple. It's funny how people are shocked my husband and I have been married 11.5 years (said disrespectful couple keeps asking if this is our honeymoon :sad2:)
     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    Travel to Chartes

    We woke up around 7AM to get our luggage together as our luggage would be picked up from the room inside the door around 7:30AM so it could get to our next location. We had blue tags with our names on them so that they could be delivered directly to us upon arrival. It is always nice to not deal with luggage!

    We had breakfast at the restaurant. Our plates looked similar to the day’s before - bread, butter, cheese, prosciutto. I’m loving how prosciutto has been everywhere around here. We got on the bus around 8:45AM and onto our assigned seat. (On Tauck buses, your seat changes every day by two rows so no one gets the best seat or the worst seat. It helps avoid drama) We should have left at 9AM but what would become our ‘favorite’ couple of the trip, they were late. This is when my husband and I discovered our bus had free wi-fi. It isn’t the best quality but something to keep us busy while driving from place to place. Our tour guide was trying to get them and then just the husband showed up. His wife was 15 minutes late and acted like she was on time. This prompted our tour guide to saying the time means wheels rolling & when we’re late - it takes away from other things (I.e. now we got less free time in Chartes)



    We were trying to turn but we got to be amused by a guy walking two bulldogs. The one bulldog was over it! They refused to continue so we just laughed so much! Eventually we made our way to a drive by of Versailles and then we got on the road to Chartes.


    Nope


    Leaving Versailles

    Chartes is best known for its cathedral, Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Chartes which is one of the best preserved Gothic cathedrals & the construction began in 1205 for the current structure. (There was a previous cathedral, Celtic temple and Roman temple there too prior to that) The blue in their stained glass windows has not been able to be recreated as it is a lost art.



    Our visit started at the International Stained Glass Center where we learned how the stained glass is created and flattened out after being blown. We also learned the steps of making the artwork and the techniques used for framed (lead extrusions)





    After the discussion, we headed to the Cathedral. We talked about how the stained glass is completely removable due to the method of framing used which is what saved many of the windows from the wars over the years. There has been some new windows put in (recently the American Architects did one) but most are original.






    We headed inside to the see the stained glass. Each window told a full story in their panes. Our guide talked about those stories ranging from the life of Jesus, the Zodiac signs, Mary Magdalene, etc.








    This church is also one of the few that still has its labyrinth in France as many were removed over the years.


    Pagan Labyrinth



    This is also where we learned that many statues were beheaded or defaced (nose removed) during the French Revolution. Typically they weren’t fixed as it is part of their history but there are a few exceptions made.


    Beheaded Statue

    They also work on restoration and cleaning consistently. It was interesting to see the difference between the ceiling of a recent cleaning versus not. The cleaning is a slow process due to the delicate nature of the materials.


    Clean/Not Clean
     

    Dis_Yoda

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2008
    Free Time in Chartes

    After our time in the Chapel, we were told where to meet and that we had only an hour and fifteen of free time in Chartes. It would have been about 15 minutes longer but well, we know what happened this morning. My husband and I decided we should eat first and then if we get to the ATM and shop, great, if not, we’ll have another chance later on. We found a creperie and got a seat inside. Glad we were quick to get there as they soon filled up! We each got a local beer. I got a Smoked Duck, Cream, Apples In Buckwheat Crepe & my husband had French Onion Soup. We both were happy with our options!






    We settled the bill and then went on a quest to find a BNP Paribus bank. Bank of America considers them in network so no nasty ATM fees and reasonable foreign exchange rates. I did the math and realized it was smarter to get our Euros that way rather than paying the shipping fee at the bank. I got out 150 Euros for right now. (I’m writing this on Day 7 of our trip & we still have 60 left so not too bad as it will be easier to use credit in Paris & Disneyland)

    Walking back to the center of town, we stopped at a few shops to browse but we ended up buying at a local chocolate shop some chocolates and macarons. The macarons were so good there! The chocolate was also excellent.




    We made our way back to our meeting point and then headed back to the bus. On the initial part of the bus ride, our guide talked to us about the history of where we were going, along with some French/English phrases to know, recommendation for a book or two.









    We stopped at a gas station about halfway through our 2.5 hour drive to stretch our legs and get a snack if we wanted where I found my favorite Red Bull. This one tastes a bit different but still was tasty! We took a nap afterwards as we drove.



    We then headed to St Patrice (right outside of Langeais) where we would be staying the next two nights at Chateau de Rochecotte. This hotel was the former estate of Prince of Talleyrand and Duchess of Dino. At the hotel, we had about an hour or two to relax and get settled in before we headed out for our next adventure.





     

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