Saturday, July 26, 2008

Paris: Day 30 - Versailles

Today we left Paris to visit Versailles, the palace built by the Sun King, Louis XIV. He was called the Sun King because it was said that France and the court revolved around him. It is a magnificent palace and is very ornate. We went to the Austerlitz train station to buy tickets, and we found out that some of the tracks are shut down in Paris, so we ended up having to take the metro to the west side of Paris and get on the train there.

the Eiffel Tower

waiting for the train!

The train ride ended up being not very long, and the palace was easy to find. All we had to do was follow the mass of people that was headed there. Luckily we bought our ticket to the chateau at the train station (thanks Rick Steves!) and avoided the very, very long line to get tickets. We checked the stroller and went right into the palace.

in front of the entrance at Versailles

Alli & Luke outside the palace

The rooms are all very ornate and they were fun to see. The Hall of Mirrors was spectacular, with the long room of chandeliers and mirrors with the windows overlooking the gardens. The Hall of Mirrors was where Otto van Bismark declared William I the Emperor of Germany and also where the Treaty of Versailles was signed ending WWI.

one of the rooms - the ceilings were all like this!

Luke, Allison, & Philip in the Hall of Mirrors

The gardens were unbelievable in size, and we ended up not seeing much of them. The gardens closed early because of an evening fountain show, so we did not have much time to walk around them by the time we finished touring the palace. There are many different sections of the gardens and 300 fountains (left from 1500 originally!). We saw the fountains going when we first walked in, and that was the last show of the day. There is also a man-made canal built to replicate Venice, Italy - when it was constructed the king brought gondolas & gondoliers from Italy for it - in the shape of a cross. The long part of the cross is a mile long! Past the canal are a few more palaces that were built by Louis XV (I think) & Marie Antoinette in order to have a place to get away from the life at Versailles.

Alli & Alicia with the man-made lake behind

one of the 300 fountains

Philip & Allison with the gardens behind

Allison & Luke in the gardens

Once we were ushered out of the gardens with all the other visitors, we headed back to the train station and boarded the train to Paris. We got off at a metro transfer, and then we had to pack ourselves like sardines onto the metro. We got back to the apartment about 8:00, and we had a sesame baguette, aged & unpasteurized Comti cheese, salad with balsamic vinegar, and bow-tie pasta while Luke took a nap.

Luke & I at one of the metro stations

1 comment:

robwagler said...

Hey, Guys -
I haven't left a note or emailed since you left. I thought I would at least say HI. Looks like you guys are having a great time! I am happy you are! Glad you are feeling better too Philip. We miss you guys! See ya!

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