Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 5 of Paris

Before I left home, I went to the Versailles website and booked a 25 euro ticket to see the château and gardens of Versailles. I booked early so that I could avoid long lines like I did at the Louvre yesterday. Unfortunately, the line with a ticket was at least a 2 hour wait. This was beyond frustrating as there was not a cloud in the sky. Thankfully, I am a trini accustomed to rain at all times of the day, and as such, I walk with an umbrella EVERYWHERE. I felt sorry for some of those people in the line. I saw some covering with scarves and others with sunscreen, but lots just had to grin and bear it. Was the heat and the wait worth it? I think so, yeah. I saw parisian royalty opulence at its highest. I saw beautiful gardens and got lost due to their lack of signage and my lack of direction. I saw the reason why there was the revolution. I mean, it's gorgeous and all, but was it really necessary? The start of this visit, was naturally, at the gate. This was a pretty gate.

The sides of the gate have these nice statues.

Try to guess how many people are in there. The line snakes from the top to the bottom of the courtyard after the gold gates no less than 6 times. Then there is another set of gold gates and another courtyard with the entrance to the side.

We were only permitted to see about 1/3 of the palace since most of it is under renovation, and I would imagine that seeing servants quarters are not that appealing anyway.
The start of the tour passed two of the king's areas. One seems to be a throne room and one is a balcony.

Then went through rooms that explained the history of the palace. Apparently it was the temporary home for many generations of kings as they had many places to choose to spend their time. There were some nice statues and paintings in there depicting who was what and how the palace looked at each time. The statues were restored from the garden like this one, called Monkeys Riding Goats.

It was not until Louis XIV decided to permanently settle there that things really picked up for the château. Following him, Louis XV and XVI (honestly, I never understood why they couldn't come up with their own names but I guess it helps to remember them chronologically), the palace and its massive (and I mean, MASSIVE) grounds became what we see today.
There was a series of statues along the corridor...

... while we passed closed doors.

Apart from the King's

And queen's bedrooms, each had rooms for their guards, noblemen and women, dining rooms and entertainment/ game rooms. I should mention that Louis' bedroom had gold thread tapestries. Opulence much? There were also rooms dedicated to different Greek figures like Hercules




A war room

A peace room

Large areas which I'm assuming were ballrooms, including one with a pair of shoes made from pots

A coronation room, an 1830 room with a giant pink feathered helicopter

And a few other rooms including the Dauphin's room in this building. I then entered the garden:

There was a music fountain show that day. So classical pieces were played on speakers and the fountain danced. This, btw, was the only working fountain in a place that probably had no less than 20 fountains.

I walked around a bit and got lost looking for the restrooms. I asked one of the grounds staff for directions and he just shook his head without watching me and said no, no, no. He kind of waved me off too. I didn't know if it was because he was too tired to talk, couldn't understand my broken french or if he isn't allowed to talk to guests. *shrugs*
On my search for the restroom, I saw a boy sitting on one of the concrete benches studying a map of the place. Like, really concentrating and not with the wtf expression and looking around that I had. I sat down and asked if he knew where we were an he told me he was 90% sure we were in either of two places. I figured that was good enough and he ended up talking for a bit about where we were from (he's from Peru) and what we were doing in Paris.
We then walked around a bit looking for specific areas in the map to visit.

I was laughing most of the time and he was being silly and sarcastic about everything like the 3km between the King and his wife which must have been convenient for him, or how walking in this garden would have been dreadful with the clothes they used to wear, or how the place lacks proper signage so we he had to keep checking the map. He said not to underestimate his cheapness and he was going to walk and see 25 euros of Versailles. I was also given a tip on how to repel the hustlers trying to prey on tourists - he takes out a piece of bread from his bag (cause of course, he's too cheap to buy food in these places, which he learned from visiting the Louvre and starving) and biting off a piece of it. It makes you look poor so they don't harass you to buy anything.
We saw many fountains (that did not work):

Then we went in the Queen's building because naturally, she didn't even stay in the King's building. She also had gardens - a Grand Trianon and a Petit Trianon because one wouldn't be enough.

In the middle of one of the gardens, there was a Temple of Love, which I used as a resting point because it was very hot, I was tired since I woke up and Peru boy walked very fast.

We had to leave when some man asked us to move because he wanted to take a picture without us in it. I wanted to ask him if he used that tactic in the palace when 946757340623 would have been in all the pictures (if the walls had to be photographed).
FINALLY we made it back to the main building and found a restroom but a grounds lady went in and locked it for the day.
Since we came up through the another side from the one I went down in and I saw these fountains outside and couldn't resist capturing them.

Peru boy and I took the train back to Invalides and then parted with a handshake and names. I already forgot his, and he was talking to a pair of mexican girls we met on the train so I figured he forgot mine too.
When I got back to the hotel, I finally got a restroom.

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