Wednesday, September 12, 2012
We left the apartment at 7:45 this morning and returned at 5:30. During that time we rode the Metro twice, the RER twice, walked nine and a half miles, while taking 484 photos. I thought it was the sheer size of everything that made it worthwhile. Linda provided a much more realistic view.
Her point was that we have seen many beautiful Castles since we arrived in Europe, many just as beautiful and some even more beautiful than Versailles. (She’s right.) You hardly get to see any of the rooms at Versailles, and those you do are mostly jammed with people. (She’s right.) Sure everything is on a scale far beyond anything we’ve seen, but there is no way to see it one day. (She’s right.) As for the gardens, there are a lot of fountains that only work on certain days.(She’s right.) There are a lot of statues, but none are very interesting. (She’s right.) There are flower gardens but Giverny was far better. (She’s right.) There are miles of walking and your feet get sore. (And once again, she’s right.)
As for our advice on whether it is worth seeing or not, only you can answer that. And now for just a handful of those photos, most of which will have nothing to do with Versailles.
The guidebooks and forum posts say to take the RER train that goes to Versailles R.G. or Versailles Rive Gauche. You bet, sure. That last stop is Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche. I wonder if the people who write these guidebooks or offer advice on forums have actually taken an RER train to Versailles, or do they just mindless parrot what someone else who doesn’t know what they are talking about has written.
They talk about the long lines and horrendous waits to get into Versailles, but this was all the longer the line was when we arrived 15 minutes before they opened. It took us less than five minutes, and more likely three minutes to pass through the security check and be inside the palace once they opened the gates at 9 o’clock. For once I was glad Linda is one of those people who just don’t want to be on time, but rather wants to be early.
Posted only to solely provide proof that we were actually at Versailles and to show just how small the crowds are when you are one of the first fifty people in the place in the morning. Of course understand there is a price to be paid for being there that early, and Linda, stretched out on the couch, is paying it. Okay, so maybe she is sleeping on the idea of what she should pay for it, but there is no way you can spend a full day at Versailles and not be tired in the evening.
There is no way to show the size of things at Versailles. Camera lenses do not begin to capture the size of a room or a painted ceiling, so we will go in the opposite direction and show one of the small details, a decorative piece that would have held a hook to hold a curtain in place. Conspicuous consumption does not begin to describe Versailles, and in the end it cost Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette their heads. The were the robber barons of their day, wonder what the effect would be if we were to do the same to several of the robber barons of today.
The Hall of Mirrors, early morning version.
I really enjoyed the topiary in the gardens, and it looks like I got a bonus, Marie-Antoinette herself was actually out in the gardens today.
It looks like all that walking took its toll on Linda’s feet. I know it did on mine, but it was most likely the cobblestones we walked on that were the cause.
We found this friendly but fat girl in the back corner of the garden near where Marie-Antoinette had her little peasant playground built. You don’t want to get me started on what I think about that. Anyway back to the pig. Linda has selected this photo just to show what that little chubby girl was eating, referring to the pig of course. It was tree leafs, and not just any leaf, but only a certain kind of leaf. The travelogue blogs will tell you what you see at Versailles, we tell you about the things no one even cares about. Like Linda says, “If you’ve seen one castle you’ve seen every castle, but a pig, every pig is different.”
There is no way to adequately convey the size of Versailles. This looking away from the Chateau across one of the dozens of fountains on the grounds, and in the distance you see a grand canal that is nearly 200 feet wide and a mile in length.
Turning 180 degrees, this is the view towards the Chateau which has 2,300 rooms. I don’t know how far away it is, but it is a very long way and almost every step is uphill.
Every evening we stop at the Monoprix on the way home from our adventures. Every day Linda takes a photo of what we have bought, and every day I choose not to use it in the post for the day. Tonight it is time to post one of those photos. Tomatoes, pork liver and mushroom mousse, Linda’s cookies, fresh figs, Camembert cheese, natural yogurt, a melon and bottle of tonic water. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Linda just loves these melons, she is thinking about planting some in Retama as soon as she can get seeds. Reading about them, this is true cantaloupe, while the common melon sold in the US as a cantaloupe, is actually a muskmelon. My Dad always said that if it tasted great it was a cantaloupe, but if it tasted normal it was a muskmelon. Needless to say, I never heard him say a melon was a cantaloupe, and now I can see why.
Speaking of seeing great melons…..