#Europe2017 Day 15: Palace of Versailles (France)

Wow. Amazing. Over the top. Extravagent doesn’t even begin to explain this place. Castle, palace… none of that seems appropriate. How about other-worldly? I don’t even know. Seriously, it was overwhelming to think about the life and lifestyle of this place, not to mention how it was built, financed, run, etc.

The palace had servants quarters for the 10,000 servants it took to run the place.

Ten thousand.

That is a small city, just in servants!

Do yourself a favor and read up on this place. Wikipedia is a fine place to go for info, but there are documentaries on youtube (might not be appropriate for kids, you know, with all that french romance and stuff).

We left the hotel around 11am, and ubered to the Palace. Well, actually, we ubered to some place in the middle of the city of Versailles. The uber driver was like “this is where you said you wanted to go…” So we got out and thought, maybe we could walk to the Palace? Google Maps wasn’t coming up on Ellie’s phone (bless Ellie’s phone!!), so we were like “well, let’s get another uber to take us there.”

We call up another uber and this really cool kickboxer guy comes and is like “where you want to go?” And we’re like “the Palace…” and he says “you mean the Chateau?” “Uh, yeah, the chateau… whatever it’s called.” Mind you, we haven’t even started driving yet… he goes about 15 feet to the intersection and points one block away, and says “You want to go there??” Uh…. yeah, that’s it! We were one block away, but didn’t know it :p So he drives us around a few blocks, we have a fun conversation, he gives everyone candy (except me because I’m already too fat), and tells us it’s his style to to give candy, and have the sun roof open, and whatever else… this guy is really high energy and very cool, and he drops us off like three minutes later. Shortest uber ride ever (for us) :p

This is a statue of Louis the 14th (or Louis XIV), who was 27 when he went through the swamps and said “this is the place” LOL. I think that’s right, correct me if I’m wrong. There are tons of pictures and busts and stuff of people, probably a lot of him. This is outside the main courtyard, off of the street. Funny trivia: there is a hornet’s nest on his head… you can’t see it in the picture, but if you look up you’ll see lots of hornets buzzing around his head/cap :p
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We walk towards the grand, amazing palace, with hundreds of other tourists (there must have been fifty tour buses parked there already). The line to get in was really long, so we got in and I sent William to see if we had to get tickets somewhere… he didn’t see it but by that time I had the girls stay in line and hobbled over the cobblestone (this was the most uneven cobblestone yet) and found a sign that said tickets. We go in, get in line, and when we get close enough the ticket lady was rejecting most everyone… I put up my card and said “do you take card?” No, not today… Even though the sign said they took all major cards)… cash only. “Do you know where an ATM machine is? NO! These people were not customer oriented… might this be the Paris attitude we’ve heard about from everyone?

We go out to the city to a bunch of old buildings, hoping we can find an ATM. There was a tourist office and I asked them and they very cheerfully told me it was right around the corner. Great! Two hundred Euros in cash and we are now on our way! We go back and there is NO LINE! It was crazy… one minute we are waiting forever, the next minute there is no line. We get tickets, go in the Palace, and begin our tour.

After you pass through the massive, huge, gargantuan outer courtyard, and the line for people who bought tickets, you go in an entrance and then out to the inner courtyard, which is HUGE, but not as big as the outer courtyard. This is a picture from the inner courtyard, looking at the gates to the outer courtyard. Notice all the gold? There is plenty (tons) of gold all around this place, from the outside (top of the palace) to the inside, the gates, and most of the fountains outside.

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Here’s more ornateness and gold from the outside, in the inner courtyard. The cost and detail is mindboggling (supposedly it took around $2B to build this place).vers_outsidefront

Here’s the chapel, inside the palace. This shot is from the second story, you can see the organ is also on the second story. We hit it at just the right time to hear someone playing it (it had an eerie sound to it):vers_chapel

Here’s a tiny bit of the garden… I’m guessing the garden spans more or less a hundred acres (it might be a lot bigger). Those cone trees are way taller than me.vers_garden

This room is about 390 feet long… and now houses a bunch of busts and pictures of famous wars where France was victorious. One was the Battle of York Town (or however you spell it) and had George Washington in it.vers_war_room

Here’s another bust room… this was all of the famous “lettered people,” or scholars. I recognized one name here :p Seriously, the amount of art, busts, paintings, etc. is crazy.
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After maybe two hours we made our way through the palace tour (with audio guides, which was nice). We just had to visit the gardens… but we were hungry! Instead of eating at the restaurants at the palace we decided to go into town… and found a super yummy french buffet! It was small but very, very good (and not a chinese buffet :p). It had things like cheeses, baguettes, chicken, ribs (delic!!), salads, and then some desserts…something that looked like angel food cake but was really like a tasteless meringue (with some goat cheese stuff to put on it – we all opted to NOT do that – as well as some berry jam stuff), flan (it was excellent!), some apple pie like thing, and more. And, unlimited real ice cream… I think Ellie had more ice cream than real food… it was that good.

Here’s me and Sam, well-fed and ready for a siesta (wrong country though :/)vers_food

Here’s William and Ellie with the street in the background: vers_food_willellie

Well-fed, we head back to the gardens. My ankle was bothering me and I was thinking about staying behind to not walk, but I opted to go. I’m glad I did. “Gardens” doesn’t really cover it. The hedges must have been 30+ feet high, fountains and ponds everywere, and even a canal system where they brought Italian gondolas (and gondola drivers :p) in so the royal family could gondola in their backyard canals. My heavens.

Here’s a picture at the beginning of the garden tour, of a small garden off to the side (not the big one in the back). Crazy, huh?
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Here’s a super shot William got of the same garden, but different angle: vers_gard1b

This is down the back steps (which are majestic), to the first fountain (I think those are golden frogs, but might be koi or some other creature)… and in the back you can see way the heck down the canals to float on. vers_gard2

Here is a view from the garden, looking at the palace. We haven’t even reached the Italian canals yet! Massive!vers_gard2

This must be the border, right? No, it’s “Little Venice,” where all the canal and gondola and all that jazz lived and operated out of. Did I mention the servant’s quarters housed the 10,000 servants??vers_gard_venice

Walking back up the garden, to the palace (we didn’t walk down the canal!), you see this majestic view of the back of the palace…. crazy:vers_gard_back

Here’s a sneak peek of the dance the Trio is doing in every country… just a snapshot, but what a background, right??vers_dance

Here’s where the first uber driver dropped us off… definitely not the palace :p
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So here we are, exhausted, close to our original uber dropoff, having gone through the tourist shops, and ready to go home. We call an Uber, get home in about 45 minutes, and me and William relax and chill while the girls go get some food (and pizza, which was successful tonight!). It’s 11:16pm here… and we’re all ready for bed. We tried to do laundry in the hotel but apparently you need to by a special token, and the front desk closes at 8, so we will do that tomorrow. It’s time for clean clothes :)

What’s going on at home? Well, my wife told me that she fed the snake… this cracked all of us up here… here’s what she chatted:

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We’re all going through new experiences!!

Tomorrow, Friday, should be laundry, then we go to the Eiffel Tower and do inner-city Paris stuff.

Avec amour de paris!

 

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