Day Twenty Three/ Versailles

Trip Start Dec 17, 2011
Trip End Jan 14, 2012

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Today, we were determined to go to Versailles.  We went to the metro, bought tickets especially for the zone that Versailles was in, and took the first two of the three trains we needed to take. By this time, we had realised that the Palace is not open on Mondays. Elyse had read the travel guide as saying it was open all days, except public holidays, but missed the 'Tues-Sun' written after wards. Nevertheless, we decided to continue with our journey, thinking that we could just peer through the gates to the castle.
Versailles is said to be the most beautiful and impressive Palace in the world, and it does not disappoint. It is huge; covering 67,000 square meters.  It is amazing to think what one person would want with so much space.  It is beautifully designed, and it has many intricate and delicate features, which is impressive on something so big.
We realised that although the Palace was closed, the gardens were not.  The gardens are equally as impressive as the castle.  It spans over 800 hectares, with over 200,000 trees.  The trees line fountain after fountain.  In the middle, there is a large stretch of water, called the Grand Canal, that I would qualify as a lake.  There are over 50 fountains in the gardens, tough it is impossible to see them all in one day.  They were also not turned on, because in winter, the pipes freeze up too much for the water to run smoothly through.
Dad wanted to walk to the other end of the Grand Canal, which looked far off into the distance.  We didn't even take into consideration that as it is in the shape of a cross, we would have to walk around the sides, too.  Altogether, the perimeter of the Grand Canal is 5.57km, and it was a struggle to walk.  It just felt like it kept going and going, and we were considering petitioning for a bridge over the canal, to cut off walking time.
Even as far back as we were, we still couldn't see all of the Palace together, as it was obstructed by trees.  The trees were also being cut by the biggest hedge-cutter that I have ever seen.  I think Dad's in love. It made sure that all the trees were trimmed to the exact same height, and was quite an impressive contraption in itself.
Nanna decided not to embark on the long walk to the Grand Canal with us, so we picked her up once we were done.  We started the walk with beanies, gloves and tightly buttoned jackets, but finished with bare heads and hands, and jackets slung over arms and shoulders.
We felt that we deserved something for all our exercise, so we went to McDonald's.  This turned into a mini discovery in itself.  The McDonald's had about 7 computer screens set up, where you were able to use the touch screen to order your food. It spat out your receipt, after you stuck your card into the machine, and the order was already being made by the kitchen staff as soon as we had sent it off. Everyone else stood in line, while we walked to the front of the non-existent queue for those who ordered via computer.  The computers only took card, so cash payment had to be done by queuing up as normal.
We got back on the train, and went back to our apartment.
We decided to pack a little, before going back out again.
We wanted to see the Eiffel Tower at night, but the metro had other ideas.  There seemed to be a backlog of trains, which made us wait for about 5 mins at every station.  I read somewhere that if 1 train is late by 10mins, that it affects 40,000 people.  I am not surprised, as we were squished in like sardines, due to the lateness.
We finally arrived, and had the most beautiful view of the tower.  It was lit up in gold lighting, and on the hour, lights all over it flashed like a camera flash.  When the lighting display began, everyone around gasped, it was so breathtaking.
We got a crepe to eat, before returning to a restaurant near our apartment to have a late dinner,
It was the perfect way to spend our last night in Paris!
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Ron & Lyn on

What a pity you couldn't see inside the palace; but as you saw it's huge. and incredible - it's something for 'next time.

xxx to all.

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