Paris Day 3 – Versailles

AKA “Ann’s Bucket List Day”
DH had to work on Tuesday, which was my last day in France. Since he had already been there years ago, and had no desire to revisit, I hopped on the train (which was 1.6 km from my hotel, a nice walk) to Versailles. I’ve wanted to visit Versailles ever since I first read about it in grade school. It was the most wonderful day of my trip, even though DH wasn’t there with me. Words can’t express the joy I felt while I was there. It was one of those experiences that I’ll take with me throughout my life. The day was stunningly beautiful, the light was perfect…

And the crowds were massive.

Helpful hint if you ever go to Versailles: you may want to avoid Tuesdays. Versailles is closed Mondays, and on Tuesdays they have music piped into the gardens. This attracts large crowds. But since Tuesday was the only day I had, and since I wasn’t on any schedule other than meeting Joanne in the afternoon, I persevered. I arrived around 9:30, and I went for the full ticket, getting me not only into the chateau, but also the gardens and the Grand and Petit Trianons. Another helpful hint – you can bypass the ticket line by using the ticketing kiosks. I walked right up and bought a ticket, getting ahead of several hundred people in the queue. The lines to get into the chateau are about 1/2 hour long but they move steadily. I ended up in the middle of a Russian tour group. I split off once I got on the grounds. I wandered all over during the morning, and in the afternoon, I met up with a customer/friend, Joanne. Once again, enough of my yammering, let’s look at some prettiness.

It really was that bright as I approached.
The sky was that blue and clear. The week before had been cold and rainy. We really lucked out!
The entrance is the gray low building on the left. The line snaked around to the right, down towards the gate and back up.
But it moved quickly, and once you were inside, the crowds dispersed somewhat.
The chapel, with a really beautiful pipe organ
One of the side gardens
The Man himself, Louis XIV
See what I mean about the crowds? The Hall of Mirrors was more like a wall of people.
The King’s bed. Now THAT’s a canopy.
The Hall of Mirrors from the other end. It was so beautiful.
The Queen’s chamber. None of the furnishings are original. Those were looted and sold during the French Revolution.
This is the view out the window from the Queen’s bed.
The King and Queen ate dinner every night observed by the court. I suppose that’s one way to stick to your diet.

After touring the chateau, I wandered through the gardens and found a lovely little restaurant for lunch. I’m not into taking pictures of my food (really, who wants to see that?), but I couldn’t resist this shot:

I could get used to this…
This is how they trim the trees. Trucks with massive hedge trimmers attached.

After lunch I wandered down to the Grand Trianon. I never made it to the Petit Trianon, alas. My feet were killing me and it was time to meet Joanne. And my stupid iPhone battery died on me. But I did get some pictures at the Grand Trianon.

Everything at Versailles was just breathtaking
And this was the informal house for the Royal Family!
Now, THAT’s a pool table!
This is the Malachite Room. The Malachite pieces were gifts to Napoleon.
The grand fountain. It’s so beautiful!

All in all, it was a picture perfect day. I met up with Joanne and we wandered more amongst the gardens. Joanne is one of those people whom I felt like I have known my whole life, even though we had never met. What a lovely lady and what a perfect day!

Amend that – almost perfect. Remember how I said that my stupid iPhone died? Well, I knew I was invited to dinner with DH and his colleagues, and I got on the 6:00 train back to Issy. I walked to the hotel, and just as I arrived (Ladurée macarons in hand, dreamy happy expression on my face), they were all walking out the door. DH looked worried sick. I felt terrible, because I couldn’t call him. As he said, he was planning to give it until 8:30, then call the hospitals and the police. Fortunately, all’s well that ended well. It really was a perfect day, and I’m so glad I went! I’m still smiling at the memories.

Well, thanks for sticking with me, and thanks to all for your patience while I’ve been away. All the orders that came in while I was out have shipped. And there is some really exciting stuff coming down the pipeline (not just fabrics, either)! The next couple of months will be really cool, and I can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on. Until then, let me leave you with my favorite picture from my day at Versailles.

This is how I will always remember Versailles.

Happy sewing!

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17 thoughts on “Paris Day 3 – Versailles”

  1. Thank you for posting such great pictures. I totally enjoyed them as they bring back so many beautiful memories for me. Glad you had a great trip. Parlez-vous francais, maintenant ??

  2. Loved reading about your travels and, even though sightseeing alone sounds less than ideal, it can be wonderful. Sounds like you had a perfect trip!

  3. Versailles is amazing, but is it ever NOT crowded? I laughed when I saw your photo of the Hall of Mirrors . . . I took the exact same shot (with the same number of people) when I was there four years ago in August. I’d really like to go back there sometime when it isn’t so crowded and have more time to explore the grounds.

  4. Loved seeing Paris again and Versaille. One of our best memories was biking around the canal at Versaille and lunch in the gardens. The trianons were closed the year we were there so was great to see what we missed. Thank-you

  5. Don’t you feel like you really understand the French Revolution after seeing Versailles? So very over-the-top. Even the very worst of American nouveau riche consumerism pales in comparision. Absolutely mind-blowing in my opinion. So glad you had a perfect day.

    1. You know what struck me even more, Jeannie? How very, very weird life must have been in the court. The fact that the royals had to eat their dinner while being watched by their courtiers (who didn’t eat in front of the king), the bizarre ceremonies to awaken the crown… talk about life in a fishbowl!

  6. Thanks for sharing the gorgeous pictures. The hall of mirrors is so crowded! Glad you had a great time there and made it back to the hotel just in time for dinner.

  7. Ha! How much difference a week makes. I was at Versailles that cold, rainy week before you. I, too, had been fascinated with the place since learning about it in grade school. I also left the place with sore feet. However, I was soggy and cold for the majority of my visit; this put something of a damper on my experience. I am glad you had a better day than I did.
    One tip, in addition to never go on Tuesday, would be to tour the house in the afternoon. The morning crowds have entered the gardens by that time and there is much more room to move about in the rooms. I could actually see myself in the mirrors of the Hall of Mirrors.
    Thanks for the pics of what it looks like when the sun is visible!

  8. Ann, loved your write-up of Versailles. We were there in July (and it was hotter than blazes); didn’t go into the chateau (both Himself and I had previously visited), but did wander the gardens and even went down to the Petit Trianon and — even better — into the Petit(e?) Hameau (Marie Antoinette’s fake village) — fabulous… Next time, make it down there. And, sorry about your feet… I, too, thought my feet would fall off! But totally worth it. Glad you and DH had a great time!

  9. Anne,

    Everything you said about Versailles bought back wonderful memories of our trip there,with our 3 kids last year, with similar huge crowds. However, it is very strange to think that way back then, in all that splendour, toilets were not a priority and only 6 were built for in the royal quarters, with nothing for the rest of the court. The rest of the court had to squat and “make do” when the need arose, in and around the palace. Imagine!

  10. Missed the Petit Trianon? Well, you’ll just have to go back again!! I visited Versailles on a lovely summer day two years ago, with my daughter. I liked the chateau, although it was crowded. I really liked the gardens, which were delightful. The Petit Trianon was a true gem, and Marie-Antoinette’s little village was just the highlight! We spent the whole of a very long day wandering around, but I could still go back again and enjoy it all over again!

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