On this morning we woke up and decided we were going to make the mission out to Versailles. It had not been a part of our original plans, given our limited amount of time in Paris, however G stayed up later and planned the day.
Alarms went off at 6.30am and it was time to move. We legged it to the Metro station and made our way down to Invalides where we would take the metro out to Versailles. Our timing was impeccable, we mastered the metro station, the timing, the platform. We even had time to scarf down our coffee and pastries. Then as we sat at the station and watched a train pull up, people run for it and then it leave – we looked at each other with a knowing ‘we nailed this, you don’t see us running to a train’, then we realised pretty quickly that it was our train. Leaving. Without us.
Ah well, next time hey? How many times could you make simple mistakes in Paris with the Metro? ;). The next train was only half an hour away and it still had us at the gate by 9am, which is when it opens. I am so glad G spent the extra seven euro’s to get the gate hopper. There was still a line but not one stretching all the way out to the main-gates. We also had the audio tour option, which was pretty touch-and-go, but when it was working, it provided a pretty impressive history to the area.
We must have been there for two hours, the weather started to turn so we bailed and headed back to the train, via our second or third coffee run for the day (Paris coffee, ah-mazing). So, there is the Versailles history which most people know – King Louis XIV chose to move to Versaille in 1682 after he abandoned his Royal palace and home at the Louvre. As well as the not-so-comfortable history for poor old Marie Antoinette. However, some of the more interesting facts, in my opinion are:
Versailles is not the world’s largest palace, but it is the world’s largest royal domain, spanning across 2,014 acres and the palace itself is 721,206-feet in space.
King Louis XIV, XV and XVI all had courtiers attend twice-daily ceremonies in the King’s bedroom, where they would watch him wake, and they would also send him off to sleep. Ick.
A third of the budget of Versailles was consumed by the fountains as they required the diversion of three separate rivers, however as there was never enough water to fuel all of them, they was some sneaky backstage open and closing of floodgates behind the scenes.
The Hall of Mirrors took 8,000 candles to light the hall (which is half the size of a football field) and in fact, everything in there was made in France. Now, something super creepy is that since Venetians held a monopoly on mirror production, they deployed assassins to poison any worker found out to have helped build the Hall of Mirrors.
Later that day we had tickets booked to get to the summit of the Eiffel Tower, the weather was coming in quickly so we are lucky to have gotten there in time. Waiting in lines is never fun, but honestly the people-watching aspect of it, will always be my favourite. There was a pretty decent line of us who had pre-booked tickets and there was this one couple who approached the front of the line and started asking the guy (also in line), how they were meant to get to the Eiffel tower. There was a back and forth exchange with the guy trying to let on that he lined up, and she should really line-up and yes, we were all waiting to get up. I don’t know what was more awkward, the back and forth or the length of time it went on for?
The top of the Eiffel Tower is gorgeous, the ride up goes really quickly and even though the storm was rolling in and it was hard to stand up straight, it could not have been more perfect. Moody skies = love. We got some good shots and then headed down the tower, making out way back to the other side of the bridge and getting stuck into a new restaurant. Grant tried escargot and beef tartare (mistaken for carpaccio, which resulted in a pretty funny eating situation). I had tomato and mozzarella salad and duck confit (drool) and we shared a bottle of red as well. Because, Paris.
Back to the hotel for another outfit change (layers this time, many, many layers) and then back to the Arc de Triomphe to start our Big Bus Tour. Honestly, you cannot go wrong with these. Even though I am a Brisbane lover, I am perplexed as to what could justify that sort of expense back home, but the two-hour night tour was fantastic and well worth the money. We were absolutely freezing but refused to sit inside!
We finished the night with crepes and wine and then headed back to our gorgeous little hotel for our last night there. Perfect end to an absolutely manic, yet rewarding day!
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