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A Weekend of Pretending to be French Royalty #2 – Versailles August 9, 2012

Posted by allisonb1102 in Travel Log.
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The day began with an early taxi into the city to catch our train out of Tours and into Paris. We arrived in Paris mid-morning with only one goal for the day: Versailles. Sometimes, the simplest of things are the easiest to mess up. When you aren’t really stressed about something, it leaves your mind completely and you forget to think about it at all. Unfortunately, this was the case with the planning for Versailles.

We got to Paris and were ready to head to Versailles. Our group split at this point, because many of our group members had not been to Paris yet, and wanted to see other things in the city. Those of us that had already been to Paris (Maria, Conrad, and I) were to meet our friend Davis and head to Versailles. Somehow a miscommunication on where and when we were meeting led us to waste a couple of hours in Paris just walking around. However, if ever you are going to waste a couple hours, I do recommend Paris as a place to do it. We got to eat some lunch and also got to briefly see L’Hôtel national des Invalides. We then headed to Versailles to meet up with Davis.

We got on the metro, expecting about a 20 minute trip, but receiving a 45 minute trip. It was about 1:00 when we arrived, though our original plan was to be there by 12:00. Our train out of Paris was at 5:40, leaving us with only a few hours at Versailles. After a bit of searching, we found Davis and got in the line for tickets. Versailles has two options for buying tickets: online, or in line. I recommend the online version, because waiting in line takes literally one hour. We were finally out of the ticket line by 2:00, leaving us with only two hours before we needed to leave Versailles for the train station (which was about a one hour trip across the city). Yay.

We were really upset by how little time we had at Versailles, but we knew it was our own fault. I had been planning on buying tickets online but had never gotten around to it, so I was a bit mad at myself. We started through the palace at a rapid pace, fighting our way around massive tour groups. The palace was extremely crowded that day – so much so that it seriously detracted from the enjoyment level. Nearly all of my photographs are taken from a height above that of a human head. The palace was really impressive, however, and it was very neat to be in such an old and historic location. The rooms were all extremely ornate, with masterpieces as ceilings. It was clear that kings and queens lived here, not just random nobility. The rooms were so elaborate that they were nearly overwhelming – I don’t think I could live in such an overdone place!

The walk through the palace being shorter than expected, we finished in about an hour and a half. We had half an hour before we needed to leave, but we had not bought tickets for the gardens or for Marie Antoinette’s cottage (thinking that we would not have time for them), so there was not much we could do. We revisited the start of the walk through the palace, reading more carefully some of the details before turning around and leaving Versailles.

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To be honest, Versailles was overall a little bit disappointing. The palace itself was great, but the presentation was not as well executed as I would have liked for the money that I paid. Much of the palace was closed off, and there was not very much information on the background of the rooms. Also, the flow of people was poorly organized, leading to major bottle-necks and difficulty navigating the palace. Granted, a large part of this was our fault. Our hurried attitudes detracted a lot from the experience. Also, the Versailles gardens are supposed to be breathtaking and massive, and we did not get to see them at all due to our own carelessness. In the end, I think I can conclude that I would like to go back, having a whole day to see Versailles. I think that with more time I could liked it much more. That being said, it was still a great day. I was underwhelmed but still impressed with the beauty of the palace. I am very glad that we got to see such a historic place. I would love to go back some time!

We left Versailles and made the journey back to Metz, arriving that evening. The weekend of French royalty was a major success, and turned out to be the best weekend I had so far!

-Allison

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