Paris – Day 4

6th November, 2011 – VISITING VERSAILLES

Bonjour tout les monde! It is my fourth day wandering around the City by myself. My itinerary for today is a visit to the famous Versailles Palace.

Good news! Since it is a first Sunday of the month I have been informed that I can go in the museum for F-R-E-E! Whoa, isn’t this amazing! My plan is to spend an entire day over there then head back to the City early evening to meet my brother who is kind enough to join me even for few days.

Got to go…I shall be back to continue on my report.

Metro station sign

To get to Versailles, I took the metro near my apartment (Bastille) and got off at Gare du Nord. From there I transferred to RER Train (Line C) heading to Versailles Rive Gauche. My train ride took about 40 minutes and since I was sitting on the upper deck of the train I got to see the view of the City.

When I reached Versailles station there was a huge influx of people trying to reach for the main exit. I avoided them by taking the side street on the right. Upon exiting from the station, I turned right and walked pass the Town Hall and after reaching a main junction, turned left and the Palace is straight ahead. From there I just followed the crowd. It’s obvious that Sundays seem brought out the greatest crowds. In France, especially Paris, it was not only meant to be a day of enjoyment for everyone but remarkably everyone seemed entirely at ease with enjoyment. Vivez Joyeux [Live joyfully] is probably their motto!

Upon reaching the Palace gate, I started taking pictures almost immediately. I also asked one of the visitors to take picture of me in front of the gate. This is one problem of traveling alone – I have to rely on other people’s coolness in order to get my picture taken.

Long line to enter the palace

Versailles entrance

WANDERING INSIDE THE PALACE –

Wow! This Palace is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Now I know why it’s called the largest palace in Europe. I am so impressed with the size, opulence and beauty of it. I went in and started walking around with my camera on hand. I visited Chapelle Royale (the royal chapel), The King’s State Apartment, The King’s Chamber, drawing rooms and of course the Hall of Mirror.

The "Hall Of Mirrors"

The King's Bedroom

The "King's Bed"

The "King's Headboard"

Lucky for me, even though there were lots of people today, surprisingly enough the rooms were not crowded. While touring the palace I got to see some priceless items like an old clock that can indicate moon phase, year and day. I also got a quick look into the opera house that has about God only know how many seats. I also toured the smaller homes of Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV.

Galerie des Cotelle

Of course the gardens are perhaps unrivaled in terms of their size and beauty but there were no flowers in bloom and the fountains were not running. I could not imagine the beauty of the garden during the spring and summer time. Oh well there is always next time!

It’s surprising they call this humongous place a “garden.” I find it way too big than what I normally associate with a garden. It is about over 2 miles from the palace to the end of the little pond called Grand Canal. The 250 acres (101 hectares) are riddled with paths that lead to flower beds, quiet corners decorated with classical statuary, ornamental lakes, and a canal that King Louis used for gondola rides.

To stroll this area it would probably take you a considerable amount of time. It would have been great to walk/bike around this area if you are in a company of others, but if you are by yourself, you are better off taking a train ride. Which I did. I took the train shuttle to see the whole area without wasting my precious time. The train stops at the Grand Trianon and Petite Trianon located in the northwestern part of the Palace and you can get on/off the train at any station it makes the stops.

Surely, Versailles was the playground of the Kings and Queens of France and it is absolutely worth a visit while in Paris.

Decorated Ceiling

The "Queen Marie-Amelie"

The Queen Bed

Empress Bedroom

LUNCH AT ANGELINA’S

I read so many positive reviews regarding this restaurant. So since there is Angelina’s here I might as well try it. Off I go after three hours wandering inside the palace. I was so hungry and craving for a delicious French meal.

Upon entering the restaurant the hostess pleasantly greeted me and I requested a table for one (pour un personne, s’il vous plait). Oui, mademoiselle responded by the hostess. It was music to my ear being mistaken as mademoiselle! Wink, wink!

The hostess placed me in a room with other traveling Americans. I don’t know why but all of a sudden seeing them made me feel at home and relax. Gosh I have been away for four days traveling on my own and having to see them made me feel at ease, even though I am only American through naturalization and not by birth. It’s a weird feeling. I am definitely enjoying my trip but I kind’ a miss home and my husband.

When my waiter arrived at the table to take my order he was also very pleasant and friendly. He asked me what I wanted to drink and I requested a glass of wine for aperitif. Then for my entrée, I requested Fois de Gras with green (lettuce, tomato, artichokes and very light dressing). YUMMY!

Fois Gras w/green

While waiting for my aperitif, I’ve noticed other French diners (from the other room) eating their meal quite slowly. They take their time. They have shown not the slightest sign of hurry or impatience. It’s as if they have nothing else to do but sit and chat and savor what seemed to the Americans absurdly small portions, and they sip their wine ever slowly.

After the meal I ordered Angelina’s famous “L’africaine Hot Chocolate.” This hot cocoa costs 6.5 Euros and in my honest opinion I did not really taste anything special about it. I also find it too rich for my taste.

Then after half-an-hour or so, the waiter showed up with a huge plate of desserts selection. After drinking that rich chocolate I definitely could not eat anything that has chocolate for dessert, otherwise I would throw-up! Ugh.

Too rich for my taste!

I then asked my waiter for his recommendation. I informed him I would prefer something light for dessert. He then suggested to try Framboise with light cream, which I did.

My dessert

Overall, it was a great experience to try this popular Teahouse of Paris.

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