Friday, January 10, 2014

A Return to Versailles.

Pages from Jan's Travel Journal: Sunday March 13, 2011

It has been a fun and busy day, though tinged with a bit of sadness knowing that it was our last full day in France. We began with a walk to a patisserie near the Moulin Rouge, where we all picked out some delightful treats for breakfast. We then walked across the street to a Starbucks (a rare treat for Darcy) and we sat outside enjoying our petit dejeuner and our view of the street. It was already busy with tourists and locals scurrying about. 

Not a bad view at breakfast.

A view of Boulevard de Clichy from Starbucks.

We boarded the Metro at a stop nearby, and were soon on our way to Versailles. Jennifer got a kick out her first-ever subway ride. The double-decker train we switched to at the end of the Metro line gave us some interesting views during the 45 - minute ride to Versailles. We were treated to an impromptu accordion serenade on the way, and dropped a few coins into the musician's cup in thanks. Once off the train, we simply followed the crowd to Versailles, but were dismayed at the enormously long line for admission. We turned back toward town, where we found a wonderful cafe in which we had a delicious lunch. Darcy ordered the lamb chops, Jennifer and I each had the braised chicken, while Craig enjoyed his veal which was smothered in a mushroom-cream sauce. Jennifer experienced another first - a Kir Royale, which she found to be delightful. 

The four of us enjoyed lunch at a cafe in Versailles.

Returning to the Chateau, we found the lines to be much shorter, and soon we were wandering around the opulent palace. The stunning Hall of Mirrors, the Music Hall, and the other amazing rooms we visited were a feast for the eyes.  It was very crowded, and at times we feared becoming separated in the throng. It was a relief when we finally went outside onto the grounds. By that time, we all had tired feet, so we willingly shelled out the extra cash for a tram ride around the magnificently landscaped parc and down toward Marie Antoinette's little palace. We were too tired even to peek inside. We left Versailles soon after and made it back to the center of Paris by dinnertime. We had planned to walk around a bit to scout out a good restaurant, but settled instead on the nearby Flunch. It was fun and interesting, especially for Jennifer, who had never before eaten there. 

It was hard to believe our visit had come to an end! Jennifer would stay on for a while, and accompany Darcy to Orléans, where she would enjoy her time spent in getting to know the town and reacquainting herself with Mathieu. I have no idea when my next visit will occur, but I am already thinking of the future.

There is so much to see beyond the golden gates of Versailles.

Tired tourist feet.

TRAVEL TIP: When visiting a museum or other large space, first designate an area where you can all meet if anyone becomes separated from the group.

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