Friday, September 24, 2010

Versailles Palace and Gardens...a beautiful day (with rain of course)

Paris 9 September

Ahhhh what can I say? The day started out fresh and cool and absolutely gorgeous. We caught the train to Invalides and hopped back on another train to Versailles. It was about a half hour trip out of Paris with very nice scenery on the train.
Versailles is so beautiful, especially the gardens, we could’ve spent another entire day in the gardens wandering around the many chalets and fountains and the Grande Canal.
But first we went through the Palace and saw all the wonderful architecture and the interior design and decoration. The Palace is decorated with gold leaf ceilings, flocked wallpaper, marble and timber flooring and of course priceless works of art and furniture.
As you walk through the first hall there are many rooms leading to the main staircase leading up to the apartments and ballrooms and long wide corridors. I think if you are planning a trip to Paris you really must take one day to visit Versailles and see how the royals lived in France many years ago.
The views from the windows to the gardens are spectacular.
The boys were very excited about heading out into the garden, so we did and it started to rain lightly. We had promised Phoenix that we would hire a boat in the Grande Canal, so we headed down the centre of the gardens past secret passageways and marble sculptures. We hired a boat for 11 euros an hour. Iain rowed the boat out for us and we relaxed in the sunshine for a little while. After floating around for 3o minutes the big scary grey clouds descended upon us and started dumping huge drops of water everywhere. I told Iain to pull over to the side of the lake for us (the boys and I) to hop out and get under the trees. Iain had to row the boat back to the dock. Well the trees did not help very much so I used Iains jumper as a raincoat, Iain got soaked of course…hehe. The boys wanted to run in the rain to their father so I let them, after a few minutes I went to meet them as well.
Soaked and feeling cold we went into a restaurant by the lake and had coffee and sandwiches 50 euros (ouch). Nice restaurant though and good coffee.
The rain stopped for a while and we went and hired some bicycles to ride in the park. This was a surprise to my boys because they have never seen me ride a bike (it has been 20 years). Luckily it is true you never forget how to ride a bike. I was glad I didn’t have to wear a helmet.
The bicycles were very well worn and the brakes were not as good as I would have liked, but the ride was very enjoyable and Phoenix loved seeing me ride a bike (so did Iain). We rode for an hour or so through the trees, along the street with sheep farms and down private roads (people live in the Versailles gardens) and along the lake. It was so beautiful and photogenic. I may even buy a bicycle when we get home.
After our bicycle ride we went back to Paris and had fried chicken takeaway for dinner (well after not having it for a few months it is very tempting). Did I mention we have been having pastries every night for dessert? Well we have in Paris, just can’t help myself they are so good.

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