Hall of Mirrors and Horse Meat

Trip Start Jul 20, 2009
Trip End Jul 28, 2009

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Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Friday, July 24, 2009

We got up at 8 and quickly got ready so we could get to Versailles at a good time. We hopped on the Metro to get to the RER C line that goes out to Versailles. Unfortunately, part of the RER C was shut down, so we had to reroute by taking the Metro around the closed part and catch the RER C at another station.

We finally arrived at Versailles to find a huge line to get the tickets. Hot tip: if you know which day you are going to go to Versailles, buy your tickets ahead of time online. We didn't know when we would go, so were stuck like a line of ants waiting to get into the Queen's lair.

The good news was that the Girl got in free, and this was unexpected. Non-EU residents under the age of 18 are free. If you are an EU citizen under the age of 26, you also get in free, fyi. So instead of 40 euros, it only cost us 20 euros to get in.

Then we got out of the ticket office right back into an even bigger line to go into the palace. It was just like Disneyland, I tell ya, with all the lines. By the time we actually stepped foot into Versailles, it was 11:30 am.

Finally, we got to see the rooms so lavishly decorated. I think my favorite things were the beds that had ostrich feathers at the top. I wonder if that will ever come back into fashion? The Hall of Mirrors was cool, but I must admit it did not ever strike me that I was in the REAL Versailles in the REAL Hall of Mirrors.

The gardens were beautiful with bright flowers, neatly trimmed hedges and topiaries, marble statues and fountains, that unfortunately, were not working. We walked to the Grand Trianon, but stopped along the way to have lunch: paninis and beverages. Then the Girl had to have a ginormous ice cream (where does she put it all?). 

The Grand Trianon was nice; we liked it better than the Palace, perhaps because it was Marie's. It was on a much smaller scale, though still lavish. From there we were off to the Petite Trianon. Again, we liked this more than the last. Part of it smelled like roses, and part of it smelled like orange blossoms. Clearly Marie Antoinette needed smaller and smaller living quarters, and a more simple lifestyle than what the Palace offered.

From there, we walked all the way around to the Hamlet, which was like something from a storybook. There were farm animals, a mill house, main house, and several other buildings all with thatched roofs. There were ponds with lillies and koi fish that just begged to be fed. It was so quaint and full of fantasy, if I were Marie, I never would have left that place. Although it didn't smell of roses and orange blossoms...

We walked back through the green space of the Petite Trianon (which was the way we should have come), by the Temple of Love, and out the front. We were so exhausted (and each had a new Bandaid on our feet--that made 5 for me), that we took the Petite Train back to the Palace. It was so worth the 7 euros for the two of us.

Before I forget, it rained off and on. Sometimes it was sunny and pleasant, other times it poured down rain. It was raining when we were leaving. Thankfully the Girl grabbed our umbrellas and stuck them in her purse. So we didn't get too wet walking back to the train station. We made our way back to the city and went straight to my favorite cafe from last summer, Cafe Charlot.

It is not far from our apartment. The Girl had a Croque Jeune Homme and I had Steak a Cheval...aka horse meat. I really didn't know what to expect. But I've been wanting to try it. I had never seen it on a menu, but then I had never looked for it either. So when I saw it, I had to try it.

What came out was a hamburger patty with a fried egg on top. I used to be totally grossed out by fried eggs, but after having raw egg as a dip in Japan, fried eggs don't really bother me anymore. My understanding is that horse meat is extremely lean, so I suppose that might be the reason for adding the egg on top. I have to say, it was delicious, even without the egg. It had better flavor than beef. I will definitely order it again.

After dinner we walked the few blocks back "home" and the Girl snagged the computer. I fell asleep. It was an exhausting day. Fun, but exhausting.

[lots of pics coming]

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