Yesterday was the trip to Versailles. We took the train out of Paris and arrived at the palace. We joined the enormous queue to enter the building. It was not very well organized; thousands of people shuffling through one small door, single file. We waited in the cold wind for our turn, sure that the wait would be worthwhile. It wasn't.
The palace is lovely - it is a palace after all, and perhaps if i had never seen such grandeur before i would have been awe stricken, but having been to palaces in Vienna and Russia, this really wasn't anything new. Additionally, it was SO crowded. Rooms packed with tour groups wearing audio guide headsets and video taping every gilded nook and cranny...it was not the most pleasant environment for viewing. There was, however, a lovely display of portraits by a single artist (the name escapes me) that we enjoyed viewing. Also the hall of mirrors really was beautiful.
We had planned to stroll about the gardens and fountains at a leisurely pace, but there were two problems: the fountains were not turned on and the wind was blowing cold rain at an angle that made umbrellas inoperable.
Agreeing that we had seen elaborate palace grounds and fountains before, at Peterhof, we decided to bid Versailles Adieu and returned to Paris.
On a more pleasant note, we had the most wonderful lunch in the opera quarter (soup, bread, cheese, walnuts, and honey) and spent the next few hours walking and browsing in shops and churches on our way back home.
Today is 1 May and is a holiday, so most attractions are closed, but plan to stroll through the Luxembourg gardens and allow the day to unfold from there.
We leave for home tomorrow.
dale and betty-lou
Post Script: I don't know what kind of magic they have here that makes the bread so extraordinary, but it is delicious. One could exist here entirely on a diet of bread, butter, and coffee. I am in heaven.