I should have listened – Versailles

Paris and Versailles
Versailles, France

Versailles, France


The weather reports suggest rain may be coming so the consensus is to head down to Versailles today. We wait for the commuter rush to finish before walking to the metro station. The weather doesn’t look promising with a light drizzle threatening, but this is soon forgotten as we descend into the tunnel system. To our dismay the train is leaving the platform just as we arrive. Oh no, we’ll have to wait at least two minutes for the next one – oops, we seem to have caught the Parisian urgency bug. We do the one station, change trains, two stations, change trains limbo and finally settle in for the trip out into the country.

On leaving the Versailles station, Nanette engages with a nice young lady who tries to direct us to the nearby ticket shop, rather than waiting to until we get to the chateau. The shop is crowded so the boys convince the girls to keep moving. Bad move.

We reach the chateau and join a huge line of people that snakes back and forward across the car park and then – it starts to rain. I sheepishly offer to dash back to the ticket shop, leaving Murray to bear the “I told you so” looks all on his own. Tickets bought, I get back to find the others still in the line. Apparently, this isn’t the ticket line after all – it’s just the line of people who already have tickets waiting to get in the gate! When our turn comes and we pass through the security scanners, I’m done with queues and ready to see some old stuff. Ah, that’s right, we’re all over fifty. Oh look, there’s an even bigger queue for the toilets.

We finally get to pass through the entrance doors and see what the fuss is about. The place lives up to its reputation as one of the most opulent palaces in the world. Every wall in the main palace is hung with masterpieces and every inch of ceiling seems to have been painted by someone famous. I think back to those walls I haven’t finished painting work at home. Hmm – maybe – nah.

Murray is complaining that he only has five thousand shots left on the picture card in his camera. We think he is joking at first, then realise that every room tries to outdo the previous one and there’s lots for the happy snapper to focus on. Our senses are a bit overwhelmed when we finally emerge into the daylight again. The rain has stopped and the garden’s beckon. We’ve heard just how big this place is and opt for the little tourist train around the grounds. Good move.

We hop off the train to visit the Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s little getaway shack and the Grand Canal and notice extra people buying tickets for the return journey at each stop. It’s obvious that the newcomers have walked from the main chateau, and don’t have the energy for the long walk back. Murray and I speculate whether the ladies in these groups had suggested getting train tickets up front, but were convinced by their men folks that “it is not far”.

We’re surprised to find it’s 5:00pm when we get back to the chateau. It will take a bit over an hour to retrace our train, change, train, change, train routine so we turn for home. Maybe tomorrow will be more relaxed.

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