Versailles on our Anniversary
Trip Start Aug 04, 2009
13Trip End Aug 17, 2009
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When we got to our chosen RER stop, we discovered that station was closed due to renovations, so we headed up to the next stop on Line C
Another tip we had read about making entry easier was to pick up the ticket at the tourist office (TI) across from the RER station in Versailles. Some people obviously heard about this too, because there was quite a line there, but nowhere near the lineup at Versailles for the entry ticket…at the Palace, once you stood in an hour long line for your ticket, you stood in another equally long line to get into the Palace. The TI was on a shaded side of the street, so not only did it save time, but sun exposure!
Straight down the road we went to the Palace, after getting through all of the street vendors lining the entrance, something we hadn't been exposed to yet. The Palace 'wowed’ me from the start - I remeber saying once to a friend in history class in high school that I would love to go there, and here I was (only 16 years later!)
The gardens of Versailles I found much more enjoyable, as the crowds were thinned out and the breeze beat the heat of the sun. The view of the Chateau from the park, the Orangerie, the Canal, the pink marble colonnades of the Grand Trianon…maybe someday we will be back in the off-season! The heat eventually got to us that day, so we took the electric tram back to the main entrance, and found a park bench in the shade, near the TI. We had our lunch, while watching an Egyptian Mummy mime (we had seen one like it the night before) and then a quick washroom and cold drink break at the McDonalds beside the station. The rest time on the train ride back to Paris gave us enough energy to come up with a plan for the afternoon of our anniversary – first up was the Eiffel Tower, a must-see for us
By this point in our vacation, we were hot, tired and, unfortunately, de-sensitized to architectural and historical sights. There were lots of things I wanted to see and do in Paris, but I think the desire to keep things simple and relaxed outweighed wanting to make a tick on the checklist, so we did a Hop on, Hop off (HOHO) green bus (the company was called L’OpenTour). Using the buses enabled us to cover a lot of territory and see things that we may have ended up missing. They had four different circuits that went through Montmartre, Bastille, Montparnasse and the major tourist area around the Seine. The pass was good for 24hours and we used it to get around Paris that afternoon and the next day. That early evening we managed to drive past Napoleon’s Tomb, cross the Pont Alexandre III, the Opera House, La Madelaine, the Louvre, Notre-Dame, Le Petit-Pont…all while resting our feet and enjoying the breeze ontop of the bus. We knew being on the ground couldn’t be replaced, but that was the kind of evening we needed!
We happened upon Il Teatro for our evening meal, near Haussman. We enjoyed the food, it was quiet, the cold beer really hit the spot...a bit odd to have pasta in Paris, but it did the trick. We ended up having a very long walk back to the room, why it did not occur to us to take the subway, I have no idea, and we didn’t get the hang of it until our last day. But we got back to the room to see the lights twinkle again!