Sunday, April 7, 2013

Versailles

One of the things we were both most looking forward to on this trip was visiting the Palace of Versailles. Every single person who had been to Paris told us it was a "must-see", and they all raved about how amazing it was - which only added to our excitement. Plus, it was covered by our Museum Passes and was a simple 30 minute train ride from our hotel (or so we thought).

Unfortunately, the day we went was a complete disaster.

We got to the train station easily and with plenty of time, but there were no trains going to Versailles, which seemed very strange to us. Side note...we have pretty strict roles when we vacation - I am in charge of all logistics (reservations for planes, trains, and automobiles. and hotels) and Bo is in charge of events, tickets, and things to do. So, at this point in the day we both thought it was my fault for not researching enough on how to get us there, and that obviously we were in the wrong place. So we got on the train that I thought should go to Versailles.

One stop later, everyone was forced off the train. Here, we learned that the train that would usually continue on to Versailles was under construction - just for that weekend! We found some transportation guys who were handing out maps with what we thought were pretty clear instructions for an alternate route.

About midway through our trek, I realized we were heading to the wrong Versailles station. There are a few trains that take you to the palace, but we were on the one that takes you seven miles away from the palace, to some museums and exhibits about Versailles.

At the very next train station, Bo saw that we had reached our (wrong) destination...but I didn't hear him, and I didn't notice until it was too late that he had already gotten off the train - just as the doors were closing. And so I continued on, by myself. I should also note this was the only day of our trip that I didn't bring my cell phone in case of emergency (we had an international plan on Bo's phone, so I rarely even turned mine on the whole time, and by day four I figured I didn't need to bother bringing it anymore). After a minor panic attack, a return train ride, and racing a few laps around the station, we finally found each other again. Although we were glad to be reunited, we were both so angry and pissed off, that we weren't even speaking to each other.

Determined to make it to Versailles, we found a nice lady who gave us new directions. In total, we took two trains (well, three for me), one tram, and two buses....and three and a half hours later...we finally got to the palace.

waiting for the bus. so angry that he refused to even look at the camera


By the time we arrived, we were starving and had to stop for lunch. We thought the day still had time to redeem itself, but no! I stepped on a jagged piece of cobblestone and apparently my cute boots were way too flimsy, and I strained the tendon on the bottom of my foot. I was in a lot of pain and had to walk miserably slow, which just added to our annoyance with the day. It took about two full days until I was feeling back to normal again. It was a major setback for a trip that requires a lot of walking!

But...we had finally made it.






We were pretty disappointed that the gardens were dead, the statues were covered, and the fountains were either frozen over or in repair. It wasn't too surprising the gardens were dead since it was the middle of winter, but that was the main thing we wanted to see and none of our tour books mentioned this. Oh well...  Obviously, we just need to go back during a different season. Despite all of that, the actual palace and the grounds were amazing.






 




We walked the grounds (ever so slowly) and headed to the Grand Trianon, which Louis XIV built for his mistress. Not too shabby.



 
Louis XIV's bedroom








We were running low on time, so we had to skip just about everything else on the grounds and head straight to the palace. I had to take a trolley to save some time and give my foot a rest. A few of the wings were under construction, but we did get to see everything inside that we wanted. It was incredible just how massive it was and how much money went into building the palace. It seemed as if everything was made of gold, and all the ceilings were painted beautifully.





















Definitely not at all the day we had imagined, though we are still glad we went. But hopefully we can make it back there one day to see the gardens and everything else we missed.




Thankfully on our way home, we found the correct alternate route and we were back at the hotel in about 45 minutes. Had we taken that route in the morning, it could have been a very different day...






That evening, we had dinner at Nodaiwa. Our hotel was pretty close to the Asian district, and Bo loves all Asian foods so he insisted we go one night. Probably not normal to eat Japanese in Paris, but we did, and it was delicious.











And for dessert, our favorite nightly ritual was to stop in a nearby market to get some wine, meat, and cheese, and take it back to the hotel. Everything we got there throughout the week was awesome and cheap - less than 5 each. Much needed after the day we had. 










10 comments:

  1. I am so happy you guys made it back to the hotel in one piece! I would have freaked out pretty bad getting separated from the husband like that....hopefully the yummy Japanese food made up for a crazy day. (I love Japanese food!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was awful, scary, frustrating...I could go on, but we survived thankfully. At least now we can laugh about it, and Japanese food always helps!!

      Delete
  2. I once lost max in an airport... And very long story but I can relate to that feeling of panic! I am glad you guys were still able to have fun :) Looks like the best trip!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh so scary! Seriously don't know how people lived without cell phones, it was so discomforting.

      Delete
  3. Man!! Talk about stressful you not having your phone! I think I would have had a breakdown. And then your foot OUCH!!!! Just thinking about makes me cringe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely. Of course, I carried it with me the rest of the trip and never used it (thankfully).

      Delete
  4. ahhh! my heart started racing just thinking of getting separated and lost in Paris!!! i would have freaked out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. trust me...I was freaking. Pretty sure the whole train station thought I was a crazy lady since I didn't know how to say "I lost my husband!!" in French. By far the worst 30 minutes of the trip :(

      Delete

I love hearing from you! Thanks for commenting :)