Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Versailles underwater

Back home finally! It is nearly 8pm here and we are all EXHAUSTED. Sean and I pulled up pretty rough this morning after our adventures at the Oz Bar, but we saddled up and headed out early(ish) to meet Jules and Ryan and head to Versailles! Alfie and I have wanted to go to Versailles forever, but we hadn't had the chance too last time we were in Paris (4 years ago, on the contiki, and we only had 36 hours in Paris). Anyway, we got there around lunchtime and saw the wonderful State Apartments. I took stacks of photos, but it started to depress me because I would look back at the little square on my camera and it would look nothing like the scene I had just tried to capture. The sheer size and grandeur of the ceilings and the gilded cornices and the ornate fabrics and intricate paintwork is just so mind-blowing. When you squish it into a little camera frame it loses so much of its magic. So I tried to concentrate on just drawing in the atmosphere around me. I still took heaps of photos, but I tried to drink it into my memory bank more. We saw Marie Antoinette's bedchamber, and the door which she escaped through on the night of the storming of Versailles is left ajar. It was wonderfully eerie to be confronted with such a moment in history.

After the State Apartments, we all ended up in separate groups and Sean and I visited the Dauphin's Apartments and then the gift shop. We went to head out into the gardens, and discovered it was raining. Not heavily, but it was freezing cold to begin with and the rain made being outside pretty unpleasant. So we picked up a hot chocolate and peeled off our wet clothes and just warmed up inside for a bit. Then we found Alfie and Cara and ate the lunch we had packed (yeah, economic travelling!) and argued about whether it was worth purchasing a 5 euro ticket to get driven through the gardens to the Grand and Petit Trianons and Marie Antoinette's Estate. We all wanted to see these parts, but the idea of trooping through the rain and mud for ages didn't fill us with joy. On the other hand, 5 euro seemed extreme for the Petit Train we would be taking. In the end, Cara, Alfie and I bought Petit Train tickets and Sean took our one umbrella and walked the length of the gardens to meet us there. (We had all, of course, offered to buy him a ticket but he is stubborn and proud, like a snobby mule, and wouldn't accept it). So we met him at the Grand Trianon, along with Jules, Ryan and Neil, and walked through the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon and Marie Antoinette's estate. It was very beautiful, but being as tired and cold as we were was quite the distraction, and we were ready to head home after that. We stopped quickly at the other gift shop and I will take this opportunity to inform the cyberverse that if anyone ever wants to buy me an expensive perfume, 'Josephine' from the Versailles gift shop will do nicely, thank you.

We broke a cardinal rule of our European adventure and stopped at Macca's on the way back. I just really, really needed a cheeseburger. I may have expired from the cold or murdered someone otherwise. Then we trained back to Pere Lachaise and grabbed some groceries on the way. I am full of food now! Tomorrow we plan to do the Opera Garnier, the Catacombs, the Arc du Triomphe, and some washing. Keeping it real, peeps.


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