We left Madrid EARLY this morning - flew out at 5:45am... Ugh. We got back to Beauvais around 8:40am and got our rental car and headed south towards Paris again. We went to the Palace of Versailles this morning on our way through. The place is absolutely huge, and the gardens (probably hundreds of acres of gardens) are beautiful. There are fountains everywhere (although they weren't on) and small lakes, and beautiful manicured trees and hedges... it's amazing. Looking away from the castle out over the gardens, it looks like a painting really. I'll add the pictures to this blog when we're back in the states. We were going to go into the palace, but it was 20Euro per person, and the lines were REALLY long, so we didn't go in. We'll save that for next time. Marie Antoinette's estate is also around there, but we didn't see that either.
We decided to try to avoid the toll roads on our way to Lyon. It should have taken us about 4 hrs to get from Paris to Lyon, but the GPS took us on the back roads (at our request) so it took around 7 hours. The french countryside is GORGEOUS! Anything I could possibly write about it wouldn't do it justice at all. Huge, green rolling hills, with lots of little towns spotting the countryside. Lots of white cows, and those fields of the yellow crops that we still don't know what exactly it is, but it smells good. All the towns have a church in them and that's usually what stands out. Everything is so detailed here. Every building is in similar styles, but they all seem to have their own unique quaintness.
Lyon is beautiful too. There was a traffic jam on the interstate, so we decided to go through town and I'm so glad we did. There is a HUGE church on top of one of the bigger hills and you can see it from all over the town. There are rivers running through the middle of the downtown area and there are rows and rows of colorful buildings about 6-8 stories high lining the banks. I was expecting Lyon to be flatter, and not as quaint. It kind of feels like Galena a little bit, but the city is larger and so are the buildings. I love it here. I'd definitely like to come back and spend more time here.
Tomorrow we are going to go to Nice (pronounced Niece) in the French Riviera. It's on the Mediterranean coast. The Cannes Film Festival starts tomorrow so Mark is hoping we'll see some stars. We'll see. After Nice, we're heading to Pisa (to see the Leaning Tower) and then we'll spend 2 nights in Florence before heading to Rome.