Versailles – Paris Day 3

Another early day in Paris! We slept in a little longer on day 3, but we were still out the door just after 9 and on our way to Versailles. Again – Paris transit is amazing. Seriously. We were able to navigate from the Subway to the RER and were even serenaded by a man playing an accordion during our ride. How very French! Like with the Louvre, I purchased a ticket to the Palace online before I left Canada, but my mum had to wait with the masses. While she queued I grabbed us some breakfast. Pain au chocolate and cappuccino for all. The one thing I noticed about Paris compared to North America is a lack of choice in size. If I were to order a cappuccino here I would have my choice of small, grande, big gulp etc. Perhaps it was just the places that we visited but whenever we were getting take away beverages there was never any option for sizes. It was one size. I suppose if you want more you just order another one. I like this. No one really needs 60 oz of coffee anyway…

The first thing we were greeted with was Louie. I’m still not entirely sure what the sculpture behind Louie was. I did my best to keep it out of the photo but I noticed them throughout the gardens. They seemed out of place.

The next thing we noticed was the line. It was long but we made a buddy. There was a man in front of us, and when we got into the actual entrance he got separated from his wife and kids at the bag scanner, we let him go in front of us to catch up to them. In our conversation he asked us if we were American, and when we replied by telling him that we were Canadian, he said, “Oh god, you probably hate me for making that mistake!”. We didn’t, especially since my mother’s American accent is thicker than her American husband’s, and that most people in Buffalo mistake her for a local. Also, I didn’t want to admit that it was fine that he mistook us for American because even as I write this I am not sure if he was Australian or a New Zealander.

Once we got in to the palace I was of course moved by just how grandiose and opulent everything is. I mean everywhere you look there is marble, and gold and people. Crowds and crowds of loud, obnoxious, camera wielding, mouth breathing, elbow throwing people. The place was packed! I immediately started drafting a list of people I hated including one woman who made it her mission to step on my sandal clad feet as many times as possible, and another who insisted on shuffling through rooms as quickly as possible and literally pushing you if she couldn’t get past. I guess language isn’t much of a barrier when you resort to physical assault. Anyway, the palace was gorgeous and I despite this description, I did enjoy it, I just would have enjoyed it more without so many people there. The one thing I would say, is that if you visit the Palace, look up. The ceilings are absolutely beautiful and I spent most of my time staring at them. Perhaps that’s why I got jostled by so many people…

This picture was taken exactly 5 times as my mother tried to get one without someone walking in front of me.

Hall of Mirrors

Marie Antoinette's bedroom

We finally escaped the swarms of people and found some solace in the gardens. This is why I want to come back to Versailles. When people ask me what my favourite part of France was I say it was the gardens of Versailles. There was always something to see, it was so peaceful and it was ever-changing. You could be standing in a garden surrounded by perfectly pruned topiaries, then in one full of flowers then standing in front of a canopy of trees that reminded both me and my mother of the Great Mall in Central Park. We wandered around for hours and I know we didn’t see half of what the grounds had to offer.

The weather was perfect and we stopped at a little outdoor restaurant in the gardens where we grabbed some lunch. We continued walking towards the Petit Trianon and then towards the Queen’s Hamlet. This was like walking into a movie. We actually joked that the little village looked like one of the jigsaw puzzles my grandmother used to do. We spent quite a lot of time here wandering around the little veggie patches and admiring the little thatched roof cottages. This little hamlet was the definition of quaint. I know that we missed a lot of other things on the grounds but we enjoyed this little section of the grounds so much that I can’t say I regret it.

At one point we were sitting on a little bridge marveling at just how many fish there were in the river when someone threw a piece of bread in and the fish began to swarm. The fish were everywhere, flapping on top of one another desperately trying to get a piece of bread. It was disgusting. It was probably what all of us tourists looked like in the palace, all trying to get the perfect picture of something we will forget he historical significance of by the time we get home. A crowd actually formed around this swarm of fish in the river (I kid you not). This is one of the things that I find so interesting about people. Presumably each one of us had recently toured The Palace of Versailles – historically significant, a beautiful example of design, and probably one of the more famous landmarks in the world, and here we were all marveling over hungry fish.

At this point it was getting later in the day, so we caught a ride on a little tram and made our way back up to the main Palace. I could have stayed hours later but we had two long days back to back and decided it would be better if we went back to Montmartre for dinner. It was at this dinner that one of our biggest French blunders was made.

To be continued…

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2 thoughts on “Versailles – Paris Day 3

  1. Corey Frye says:

    Good call making the trek out to the Hamlet; it took me two or three visits before I even knew it was out there. When my wife and I discovered it we felt just like you, like we were walking into some fairy tale or a movie. And we definitely stopped to marvel at the crazy swarm of fish!

    It’s too bad about all the crowds, but what can you do I guess…sounds like you guys kept a good attitude throughout which is the important thing!

    Like

    • Ashleigh says:

      Part of me feels like living in Niagara Falls for a few years has left me with a particular disdain for tourists, even when I am one! The gardens of Versailles is always my answer when people ask me what my favourite attraction in Paris was.

      Like

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