We wake up early (this is becoming a pattern it seems) and head to the metro that will take us to the RER train which we will take. Looking through the window, and past the bars in the wagon, I see a flash of an image of a weeping willow that will be forever ingrained in my psyche and my heart for it is under it that our péniche, Soleil, resides. The dark clouds, the drizzle outside and the quickness in which we pass it do nothing to dampen the happy feeling had.
I take a quick photo and it is a bad one but here it is.
After catching a glimpse of my little haven in Paris, a houseboat I considered my palace, we are going to Versailles, a palace with much greater notoriety, grandeur, and appeal. A fine drizzle does not cease for the full half hour the train ride takes. I wonder if it will dampen our visit. I will soon find out since we are here. We are promptly directed to cross the street for tickets which isn’t quite the truth since it’s a tour company where you buy a tour/ticket combination. But it has headed us in the right direction and we follow the crowd. It’s around 10:00 am and even with the bad weather and being a weekday, there is a huge amount of people as we approach the Chateau de Versailles.
There is a huge, interminable line to enter The Palace so we decide then and there, as we wait in line to buy the tickets, that we will visit the gardens first, rain and all.
I entertain myself with how they have chosen to decorate the area where you wait in line, or as my Brit an Aussie friends would say: where we queue up.
We get our tickets and as we walk to the gardens I find it a bit unsettling that there are guards/army guys with rifles all over. I laugh internally because these very official looking guys were merely on a break and heading to the cafeteria. This I don’t find unsettling at all… the gardens flanked by the palace are impressive, the dark skies and rain not being able to lessen its impact.
But just in case I have forgotten to look down Dean points to what at first glance looks like little colorful buttons on the fence. On close inspection they are little snails which are probably just loving this weather where no one stops for them. Suddenly escargots in butter and garlic (a dish I actually like) doesn’t seem so appealing.
Yo dude… look up!
So after this demand from the little cherub above I concentrate more on the statues we pass as we walk. Le Printemps (Spring) is in the right time of the year, since summer hasn’t officially started, but it feels like fall -cool and rainy. But perhaps daybreak, represented here may bring a sunny day.
The gardens cover such a huge expanse.
They are impeccably manicured and for now a bit deserted for not many want to walk under the light rain. I’m not cold yet so I am truly enjoying the semi-solitude it gives us
The plants and flowers in the garden are beautiful. You can also find flowers of the inanimate kind.
Though I have a green thumb I lack the skill of shaping a tree to do this: I can only imagine how incredible the water fountain show is coming out of these. This path just charmed me. From nature we go into The Grand Trianon. “A little pink marble palace with delightful gardens” is how Mansart, the architect, described it in 1867. We find Empress Marie-Louse’s bedroom. Originally it was Louis XIV’s bedchamber but she is the one that furnished the place as it is today with the exception of the bed which belonged to Napoleon. It’s a little too pink for my taste. The Room of Mirrors, the furniture was sold during the Revolution and replaced by Napoleon. The archduchess Marie-Louise, Marie-Antoinette’s great-niece, whom the emperor married after divorcing Josephine used it as her drawing room. I rarely carry a mirror in my purse. Don’t think I’d like a room where I couldn’t avoid looking at myself! Don’t remember if this was in it but since we are on the subjects of mirrors… This is the family room. Doesn’t seem too cozy to me. Even all this opulence does not stop me from diverting my gaze towards the outside. To have a peek of Marie-Antoinette’s private life we go to her estate which, compared to The Grand Trianon, is almost rustic in feel. At least the hamlet is. Starting with the Queen’s Garden.
It’s The Petite Trianon is beautiful inside and is impressing me more than The Grand Trianon. Perhaps because it has a music room with a harp and a theater (which we did not see). And a billard room with the biggest pool table I’ve ever seen. Her bedroom sitting room.
Once outside, the light rain is no more. It’s graduated to a Rain with a capital R. There’s a little shuttle bus/choo-choo-train that shuttles people for an additional fee between The Grand Trianon, Marie-Antoinette’s Estate and the Palace which we decide to wait in line for rather than walk the miles in between under the rain. In back of us in line is a family from San Diego who we chat with. Arriving to the Palace we find the line has dwindled to nothing and silly of us, thought the crowds had too. Nope, once inside it feels like there are a million people which makes it a bit harder to enjoy.
I think if this guy, Henry D’Aguesseau, – a French Chancellor -says to stop, I definitely would. But for now I have another window to look out of. What’s this? A souvenir shop in the middle of the Palace and among antique statues? Me don’t like. I’m sure that Michel de L’Hopital, a statesman from the 1500’s, would not approve either. This is what I had to battle with to take the previous photos. Ugh, claustrophobia may be kicking in soon.
Without the crowds.
With it. Beautiful with or without people.
With crowds. That was the Mars salon which is a planet and also a God of War. A bedroom.
Probably the most famous room of all: The Hall of Mirrors. Merely a passageway and waiting room and an over the top feast for the eyes. 357 mirrors adorn the 17 arches in this room. A paradise for those who like to see themselves reflected.
I like the figure of a goth girl strolling through it looking ahead, not much interest displayed.
This is me, bringing you yet another photo. :) And now to the Queen’s Antechamber where the family had its meals. Can someone show me how to fold napkins like this please? What a beautiful door. One that may lead me outdoors and even though the rain hasn’t ceased it is starting to look really like paradise just to be able to get away from the hustle and bustle of the thousand of tourists swarming around.
Yes, I want to be out there! So a sculpture later, which clearly depicts a lung, and we are out. Yay!
I’m hungry (Isn’t that rare?) so again I do not complain when we head into the first fast food we find which happens to be another upscale McDonald’s where a few Americans are talking and saying that these Frenchies are going to feel very disappointed if they go to one of our McDonald’s. Yeah, they probably would but they would like the prices. Into the RER we go. It will take us back home. This one doesn’t want to let us forget where we came from. Seems that it is trying to be as ornate and over the top as Versailles. :) We get to the apartment, quickly change and off we go again for we are going to see Toto!
We take a cab and follow the people. The Zenith Center (Le Zenith) is one of the most important concert halls in Paris.
What a fabulous day and what a way to end it. We dance (we were practically on stage) to the tune of songs like: Rosanna, Africa, Hold the Line and I’ll Be Over You, taking me back in time!!