This summer we’ve been very lucky to have lots of visitors. It is always such a treat to show our friends around our new home. In July, however, we got the chance to be visitors and see the home of our dear friend Thibaut. We travelled to Fontainebleau and Samois-sur-Seine, France to spend time with my best friend, Kim, and see where he grew up.
Not only did our trip include a happy reunion with good friends, but we did not have to fly to get there – we could take the train! We booked a Friday evening train and departed from Kings Cross to Gare du Nord aboard the Eurostar.
Boarding in London was so easy and fast. If you book in advance, the train is comparable in price to a cheap flight and a much nicer ride. The channel tunnel isn’t very long, about 30 minutes. When you emerge, you’re an hour ahead and on mainland Europe – surreal!
The cheapest fare option on our way to Paris happened to include a meal. It was fairly terrible, but the wine was good!
Once in Paris, we took a series of trains to get out to meet our friends. This wasn’t terribly confusing, but we did not figure out how to get tickets for our second train. Lucky for us, they never checked for them. All told, we got in late, but not too late to take a late-night dip in the pool!
The next morning we went for a run around Samois-sur-Seine, then headed to Fontainebleau to see the sights.
Fontainebleau is so charming and the castle is truly gorgeous. It is not far from Paris, and it could totally be a great day trip.
Wandering through the adorable streets, the outdoor tables at Café Les Glaces beckoned us for an al fresco lunch. We ordered escargot to start and had delicious rosé.
Unfortunately, its iconic steps were half under construction so the above photo will have to do. The stunning palace was home to the kings of France from Louis VII to Napoleon III.
It is enormous!
The grounds are equally as beautiful and we set out to explore them as well.
It was a lovely afternoon in the sunshine!
Our home base for the weekend was Thibaut’s parents’ house in Samois-sur-Seine. This beautiful town is set along the Seine, as the name implies. Walking into the little town nearby was like walking straight into Beauty and the Beast. Adorable and quaint are words that come to mind.
We even saw some donkeys out for a walk!
The highlight of the weekend was no doubt getting to attend a joint birthday party for Thibaut’s parents. Here is our host for the weekend, decked out his new yellow pants per the party theme.
The event was held at the beautiful Hotel Country Club. It was there we learned that the French know how to party!
The champagne was flowing and the food was incredible, as to be expected in France.
It was so fun to experience a new country with my BFF – something we had never done despite our 15+ years of friendship! To be there for epic family celebration of Thibaut’s was pretty special, we have been spoiled to have Thibaut around for Thanksgiving and Christmas back home.
They really pulled out all the stops. Thibaut even set up a painting that each guest was to help paint. It turned out beautifully.
Towards the end of the evening (after a group singalong to Que Je T’aime), someone broke out an accordion and we were shown a series of dances. The instructions were all in French so I was able to catch on to the easier of the dances, but the second was harder and I may or may not have caused a bottleneck on the dance floor before bowing out. Andrew, however, was mastering the steps in no time and dancing the night away with the other guests.
It was a great weekend spent with great friends. Despite our inability to speak French, we were received so warmly, even if there was a language barrier. We can’t wait to return to France!
Taking the train from Gare du Nord was a bit of a nightmare on a summer Sunday, but we made it home in time for dinner in London.