Sunday, 7 August 2011

This one's not a film

It was time to take Laura to see Versailles. I'd already taken her to see the interior of Rambouillet castle to get her warmed up so we headed off to Versailles Chantiers gare by train on Monday. Note that Versailles is closed all Tuesdays and that during the summer the fountains play with music only on Saturdays and Sundays.

Catching the train and walking to the chateau was easy, waiting in the queue was not. We wondered what on earth the horrifically long queue further along was for; it was doubled up on itself in an effort to keep the queuers in the grounds.

Happy not to be in that one we shuffled along until we reached the ticket office and collected our maps. I suspected we wouldn't have time to do everything and that was certainly the case so we stuck with the Grand Apartments, the women's apartments and the main grounds. Alas we couldn't manage Le Grand Trianon, Petit Tranon or Marie-Antoinette's Hamlet. The audio guides in English were handy to have (more queueing) but we discovered to our dismay that we were forced to join the nasty long queue. In the high season it's the one where you've got your ticket but still have to queue to get in past security.

Although this was my third visit to this monument to Royal extravagance I still noticed new things and the gardens were in a different season to my other visits. After spending two hours on our feet indoors we pottered around admiring the garden view and having something to eat at a restaurant on the grounds. It was very average. In fact, you'd do it better at home but after hours on our feet we needed food.

Note: not all the eateries there are open all the time, especially mid afternoon. It started to rain so we made the long trek back out of the grounds of Versailles. Then I made a wrong turn somewhere along the way. I'm not sure how it happened but we made a figure eight and circuited back on ourselves-hello castle.

With feet screaming for mercy and hearts pounding with all the physical effort we finally found the train station and dashed for the next approaching train. Then there was the walk back home. All in all we'd been walking for a total of 8 hours but we didn't feel fitter or thinner. Tomorrow would be a lot more walking; Laura's introduction to Paris.


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