Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chateau Versailles

We got up early and caught the train to Chateau Versaille.  We were hoping to avoid the crowds by being early, but the simple error of only purchasing tickets for the gardens, not the combined ticket for palace and gardens online before arriving, led to endless frustrations and choice words against the French lack of interest in customer service.  After being informed that there was absolutely no way to refund tickets purchased online, we gave up and just bought the palace tickets. 

The palace is impressive, very impressive.  It’s extremely ornate, and apparently took half of France’s annual GDP when it was being built.  Unfortunately the extreme excesses of the French royals, the palace was stormed and Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were dragged into Paris and eventually guillotined.  Eventually the palaces became open to the public.  We were fortunate that Tuesday happened to be a day when the “musical gardens” were going on.  There was classical music being played throughout the gardens and at the fountain there was music coordinated with the fountain display.  Finally finding a bit of sun and warmth at the site of the musical fountain, we napped on the grass. This was possibly the only time I was warm while outside on the entire trip.

Entrance Gates, which have recently been refurbished.

Courtyard at the palace.

Typically French.

Chapel, extremely impressive. 
Hall of Mirrors

Louis XVI's Bedroom.  I liked the feather poofs on top of the canopy.
The musical fountain display

Relaxing in the sun while enjoying the musical fountain display.  Finally it's sunny and slightly warmer.

One of many fancy fountains.

Another impressive fountain

The Simone de Beauvoir bridge which has recently been built, spanning the Seine.  We walked around here after Versailles.
We headed back into Paris to meet up with Diala for dinner.  Diala studied in Lebanon with Dan.  She’s originally from Syria, and currently is at the very end of medical school in Paris.  She recommended a classic French Bistro in the centre of the city.  We stayed for hours talking about Syria, the Arab spring, the decline in civility, and much more.

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