I’ve probably taken too much liberty with the French language here, but I can’t help it, I was so excited to go to Versailles! As some people know, I have a great affection for ‘old timey’ places, and a royal palace definitely fits the bill. For my first full day in Paris I decided to head out and explore Versailles. After buying breakfast, a picnic lunch, and then getting lost on the way to the metro, I was on my way. I arrived around 12:00 noon, and was rather pleased that it wasn’t over-run with people.
NOTE: I always talk about how much I hate ‘touristy’ things. That isn’t quite true. I love going to places and attractions, and even restaurants or pubs that many would deem ‘touristy’. What I dislike is when these places are either over-run with people and you have to stand around waiting, shuffling from one spot to the next, or when they take advantage of tourists simply because they can through over-pricing or by forcing extras on a visitor and then charging for the extras.
Anyway, back to what I like about Versailles. I love the attention to detail and master craftsmanship of all the people who built and decorated the palace initially, and all those who have maintained its decadence over the centuries and through the social and political revolutions.
Today was a great day to visit the palace because it was nice balmy weather, and visiting midday, mid-week and during the low season means there are not too many people to compete with. I even got a picture of myself in the hall of mirrors and no one else is reflected in it!
I decided to buy a ticket that was only good for the Palace and gardens and skip Marie Antoinette’s Chateau, because I’ve heard what an ordeal the visit can be, and I didn’t want to feel obligated to drag myself around once I got too tired. For me, that just defeats the purpose of going to an awesome attraction. I didn’t research my visit at all, and I believe there are ways to combine your transportation and admission tickets, but I just did everything à la carte. It came out to about 22 euro for the whole visit the way I did it, and with my picnic lunch (4 euro) I didn’t have to purchase any food, and I got to enjoy it in the lovely gardens.
The only downside about going this early in the season is that all the statues in the garden are protectively wrapped, and none of the fountains are running. It’s still really impressive to see the vast hectares of garden spreading out before you, and it’s fun to walk on the paths and try to get lost. Or actually get lost…hmm, that may be the theme to this part of the trip…