The Weekend Begins with Versailles

ATTN. All Readers:  I want to give a big “Thank You” for sticking with this blog throughout the past year or so.  My job is so emotionally stressful and so taxing that when I return home from work, I’m too mentally drained to do anything except go to bed.  Subscribers have left. Readership is down.  I’m in therapy.  It is so difficult for me to say  but this blog has always been my baby and I’ve been neglecting it.   Please bear with me for a while. I’m thinking about changes, hopefully for the better and for a better quality of life. As always, my husband is supportive and those who stick with me are supportive so I honestly thank you!! Now…back to Paris!

Saturday. November 27th.

Another early rise as we were headed to Versailles and our scheduled time for entrance was 9:30 AM.  Now. Here in the States, 9:30 AM isn’t all that early in the morning. In Paris, it’s a different thing. Parisiennes wake up later on the weekends.  This meant that the street was empty as we embarked upon our now regular routine of heading to Café de Paris for breakfast, then walking over to the garage at Marche St. Germain.

Another “Go-to” Breakfast at Cafe de Paris.  Those tartines are everything!

The gray morning lent itself well to beautiful lighting against the buildings as we headed to retrieve the vehicle. And with Passe Sanitaires in hand and masks on face, we were ready.   Although Versailles is accessible by train, I’ve only driven and the drive is a very pleasant one.

A cafe across the street from the Marche St. Germain–where we parked the car. You can see the wet sidewalk.

Another rainy morning–but it cleared up!

We arrived a few minutes before our scheduled time, parked the car on the cobblestone lot and headed into the magnificent palace of the Sun King.

After living in NYC for many, many years, parking is an obsession for me. We had great parking here!

Okay. So, before I go on with this post, there’s something you need to know.  I like Versailles. I’m not madly in love with it. I don’t even recommend to everyone headed to Paris that they need to go there. Don’t get me wrong—I am incredibly interested in the history of Versailles. But I think the palace is overrated.  Don’t hate me.  It’s just that I prefer a more intimate chateau such as Fontainebleau or Chantilly.

Oui. Oui. Oui. Versailles IS magnificent and that golden gate is worth much more than the Willy Wonka Golden ticket, but it’s just not my favorite place. And as the clouds made way for the sun, that entrance grew more spectacular by the minute.

However, The Frenchman is extremely fond of the Palace and all things Louis Quatorze. Besides, it isn’t as if he had to drag me there kicking and screaming.  Once I’m in the palace, I enjoy it. And it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Don’t get me wrong though. I still enjoyed being here. Gotta love that Sun King!

The grounds, as beautiful as they are in spring and summer, take on a completely different vibe during winter. Gone is the spectacular greenery. No flowers. No plants.  Its barren in a way that makes you yearn for warmer weather—even if you aren’t a fan of the summer.  There’s a monochromatic hue. It isn’t beautiful but at the same time, it’s not unattractive. It just is.

The sun went back into hiding and the winter gardens looked bare and bland..

But…there was still a lovely view of the greenery …

And all wasn’t lost!

I like the tiled look myself!

Call me jaded but the magnificence of the Hall of Mirrors wanes with multiple visits. I won’t lie. This Hall of Mirrors is spectacular and astounding but I’m just not that person who is bowled over by this during the third visit.  Perhaps if my husband and I were the only ones in the room I would feel differently. But with a crowd—something is lost. And although the Hall wasn’t as congested during this weekend as in the summer, it was still bothersome enough for me—especially given the steps taken with the Passe Sanitaire and being extra careful to comply with the masks and visits being scheduled.

That little guy on his cell-phone is about interested in the Hall of Mirrors as one would be after multiple visits.

This was in late November. Can you just imagine what June, July and August are like? (Caveat. In August the locals are in the South–but it’s still crowded)

What I absolutely loved was The Gallery of Great Battles.  This was my first time in this area of the palace and I was awestruck.  The paintings and sculptures and history were levels above on the ladder of interest.  This is where I could have spent hours upon hours upon hours. But we only had a certain amount of time to play around with. This, my friends, is the Gallery/Hall you want to visit when you head to Versailles.

Had we not had other commitments, I could have spent HOURS in this hall. The paintings were incredible and it was just so freaking interesting!

He gets a bad rep but Napoleon did a lot of good for the country. Sadly, he’s remembered only for his Waterloo!

The walls of the hall were chock-full of scenes like this..

…and busts like this..

and this.

Here are some shots of Versailles for your enjoyment.

Random chair..

…and a bedroom chandelier..

Ceiling overhead..

…and plumes on the bed!

Let us pray..

..we don’t get the guillotine today!

Overall, Versailles is a great half-day or day trip from Paris.  Best if you have a car but Versailles is easily accessible by train. I’m a fan of the smaller *cough* palaces such as Fontainebleau but that’s just me.

Time to go now but it was enjoyable!

After leaving Versailles, we drove to Rambouillet to visit my mother-in-law’s grave then it was on for our visit to La Moulin—the estate where The Frenchman’s aunt, Daniele and uncle, Yves retreated for weekend and holiday visits.

The rain returned as we left on our way to visit Evie’s grave.  But Christmas decorations adorned this overpass. It looks so pretty!

I always snap a pic of this little chapel at the cemetery..

There is something very calming about this little graveyard and the history.

..and we are ready to move on..

The estate brings back many fond memories for my husband.   He’s full of stories about visitors from the French acting and entertainment community that makes me wish I was there.  And it’s nice for me to see him with these wonderful memories.

This is the home that The Frenchman spent many weekends and summer visits.  It was filled with great times with various personalities of the French Cinema and writers and musicians.  He always speaks so fondly of it and it brings back great memories..

And I am always astounded by the natural beauty of the grounds!

It was a great day for driving around. The sky was on the gray side and bits of rain came and left. And when we arrived back in Paris, we had time to regroup before heading back to Restaurant Paul for a family dinner.  I didn’t take photographs of our dinner simply because we hadn’t seen these relatives for a long time and it was best enjoyed without taking the phone and photographing.

Another gray day in Paris..

But I really don’t mind!

As we headed to dinner, my husband, once again asked me if I was going to spend dinner with him or a stuffed bear!

Our trip would soon come to a close. And our last day turned out to be a comedy of errors—but mostly errors and not comedy…. stay tuned!

Greetings from Versailles….and our trip is almost finished!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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63 Responses to The Weekend Begins with Versailles

  1. susan says:

    Thanks so much for your notes on visiting Paris-and I’m with you about Versailles! Having once seen it, I’d gladly go to the other chateau. Please take care of yourself-you’re not the only one in therapy here-oh for the days two years ago when I could hug people, go to parties, give parties, travel freely. Hugs to you from KY.

    • Catherine says:

      Susan! Thank you and exactly! I miss hugs and shaking hands and human contact. I miss larger family gatherings and, in the oddest way, I miss the buzz of a human-filled workplace. Thank you! XOXOXOXOXO

  2. June says:

    Catherine, I had a job like that for 5 years. Not only exhausted on weekday evenings, but the stress carried thru the weekends. I can’t believe I stayed there that long. It truly changed me and damaged my health. I hope you get help and feel better, Hang in there. xoxo

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks June. In the oddest, most weird way, you just made me feel like I’m not alone. I’m releiving my weekend job-related stress by blogging this weekend and it feels so good. Honestly, I wish there was a different way to earn money (my blog isn’t monetized simply because I cannot stand reading other blogs with a million ads)but at 66, no company wants to hire the older demographic and we are stuck in low-paying positions. We need to get through this. Honestly, thank you so much because you made me realize that there are others in the same situation! Thank youXOXOXOXOO

  3. Diane Lester says:

    Catherine, Take care of yourself love all your posts.You are the best

  4. Nancy says:

    So sorry to hear life has been extremely stressful…loyal readers like myself will not leave you, PROMISE.

  5. cgcopy says:

    Catherine, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having such a tough time right now; please take care of yourself. I hope that things for you get better soon. On a lighter note, this was a wonderful post — by the way, I love your red nails! Sending hugs.

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks CG! I’m actually relaxing today by staying in my pj’s and concentrating on writing!! For the blog! About those red nails–I took the acrylic nails off to rest my natural nails–they look like shit right now and my husband is trying to get me to the nail salon but I shall remain strong! My nails need to heal! LOL! OXOXOXOXO

  6. Marsha+Banks says:

    Oh, Catherine, it is so difficult when your job wears on you. I took early retirement because of the toxic atmosphere. And, then in two years, the toxic atmosphere was gone, but it was too late. I wish I could say hang in there. Those words are so trite. Take the time you need to be in a better place. I will be waiting. Your posts are the best! I savor them like the French pastries you show!

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Marsha! Yeah. Having to contribute to a mortgage and car payments keep me at the job. So does the amount of time off that I’ve accumulated. The sad thing is that I used to LOVE that job but with corporate changes and leadership changes and too many workers from home, it’s just become toxic. But—my work ethic remains. Again, I thank you for your encouragement and support! XOXOXOXO

  7. EleriM says:

    You are so engaging, funny and honest that, although it’s not so long ago that I found you, I really love finding a message from you in my inbox. It doesn’t matter how often, pace yourself and post at your leisure and lots of us will still be here, rooting for you and enjoying whatever you have for us in each post. Please don’t feel pressured by your followers, numbers always ebb and flow. Just know that you’re much appreciated and we hope you can shake off (or talk off!) wretched black dog. Love from Wales

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are beyond kind and supportive. And I’m so happy that you get my humor and honesty! For me, it’s all about being honest and transparent. That’s one of the reasons I never edit my photos except to crop them to a smaller size. I’m trying to shake things off–it’s not easy but I’m trying. Thank you again. And did you know that my maiden name, Wynne, is a Welsh surname–somewhere along the lines that name found itself in Roscommon and grandfather brought the family name to NYC! XOXOXOXO

  8. Miss Bougie says:

    Still here, still here……
    Love your blog, your take on things and your travel posts. Hopefully you’ll be able to come back next summer. Your interest in smaller châteaux should take you to the Loire valley. Azay Le Rideau Cheverny and Chenonceau are my favourites.

    • Catherine says:

      Uh oh. My husband just read this comment. Now he want’s to plan a side trip to the Loire Valley. He’s been to both chateaus and a lightbulb went off in his head. He’s going upstairs now announcing as he ascends that the Azay le Rideau is one of the most beautiful chateaus You starting a thing–THANK YOU!!! XOXOXOXOXO

      • Miss Bougie. says:

        I started a thing?! Good! While your in the Loire valley, you need to visit Le Clos Lucé. It’s an absolute must. Go check it out. 😊.
        Also check out the hotel Le Grand Monarque in Azay le Rideau. We stayed there several times while in the area.

  9. Rose says:

    I am another loyal reader. I know Paris (especially the Left Bank) well and spent time in StTropez in the sixties when I was a child so I love reading your blog. The Black Dog will pass…hang on in there and remember family and friends and the things that really matter…the people who love you.
    Ps Btw, I bought a handbag in Sophie’s Sacs last time I was in Paris and told them about you – they were Googling you as I left! Xx

  10. Lori Stark says:

    I’m sorry that you’ve been having such a hard time. So many of us are and I hope the therapy will be really helpful. It has been for me. I also completely agree with the wise woman above who said not to focus on the numbers—they ebb and flow. Post what you can, when you can. Many of us are not going anywhere and enjoy what you write whenever it shows up! Soak up the love you’re reading here and let it comfort and strengthen you. Know you are not alone. —Lori

  11. SD Gates says:

    Lovely photos – I think you are right; the Hall of Mirrors would be so much more interesting if the tourists were not scattered about.

  12. Sharon Reese says:

    Enjoyed your visit and all the photos…..
    I am retired and that’s hard too with Covid …..
    Longing to visit my friend Annick in Lannepax,
    Paris and France…..Stay strong❤️

  13. Judy says:

    I’m not going anywhere! I am so sorry you are going through a bad patch. It’s easier said than done, I know, but try to stop worrying, and if you can, prioritize things so you can make time for yourself. Don’t worry about those who have gone, you are a force to be reckoned with and you will find your feet again. xxx

  14. KB says:

    I enjoy every post. Go your own pace. I’ll stick around.

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks KB! I’m working at my own pace today by concentrating on the writing. It’s what I love and it’s just good to say “I’m not doing anything this weekend except to write blog posts” The Frenchman is even doing the cooking this weekend! XOXOXOXO

  15. Jane says:

    Take care of yourself. I can’t believe anyone would desert you. Always look forward to your posts you always pull me in on any subject. Get some rest and I eagerly await your next post

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks so much Jane. I’m literally sitting here in my pajamas, no makeup, and spending the weekend blogging. I’m very happy doing this! And thank you so much for your support! XOXOXOXO

  16. Suzi says:

    Sorry to hear of your struggles. I’m sure you know you are not alone in these issues. Take proper care of yourself.

  17. lovsjaz says:

    You are one of the best! I wouldn’t dream of leaving. I love the way you write, your sense of humor, sharing your life with us and wonderful photos to boot..The ones that matter will hang around. I’m sorry to hear of your stress. It is getting to us all😡 Please continue just as you have been. Your health is the most important thing. Take care of yourself. Have TWO desserts!

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks so much Jaz! Oh lordie! I have had multiple desserts to the point my piggy bits are yelling for me to keep it up. I need to stop–but I can’t! XOXOXOXO

  18. Nancy says:

    Hang in there,Catherine. We’ll all get through this.

  19. Carla Hughes says:

    Dear Catherine,
    Sorry to hear you are so low. Don’t get sucked into worrying about numbers; just write for the pleasure of it and know that people (even those many miles away) enjoy reading your posts.
    Wishing you well from England.

    • Catherine says:

      Carla, thank you so much for your kind words. Yeah. I realize that I write because of the pleasure–every now and then I need to be reminded! XOXOXOXOXO

  20. Julia Poulos says:

    Dear Catherine I have been a reader for years. You are very strong and persistent work on the blog. You r my favorite. You don’t have to be prolific to keep me interested. Keep the Faith.

  21. Tracy says:

    Catherine, I enjoy you so much, your blog, your instagram posts, all of it. I think of you as a friend and often wish we could be friends in real life. You are very appreciated by me, and it sounds like by a lot of others too. Hang in there and thanks for sharing you with us.

  22. Sandra says:

    Bon courage, Cathy! I love your posts and your warmth and genuineness shine through each one. I recommend Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte as it was the inspiration for Versailles and much more manageable.

  23. Fiona says:

    Hey Cathe
    What more could I add? Everyone has said it for me. Really sorry to hear you are feeling low, and I hope it passes soon. Big hugs from over the pond. Xx
    PS I didn’t rate Versaille much either.

  24. Momcat says:

    What they said 👆x1000!! You have a core of loyal followers who clearly love what you write. I get it though. Coming home after a day of soul draining makes you just want to go to bed and not engage in any way. The last year of my 37 year long job was like that ( thanks Covid) and honestly the first year of retirement was nothing to write home about ( thanks AGAIN Covid) but not complaining as it did deliver our adorable baby grand daughter.
    I don’t know how I donned the scrubs and PPE daily in my 66th year and listened to BS fed to us by our provincial government. You NEED a change…life is too short and you know what? After you have implemented your changes you’ll give yourself a head smack and say “WTF was I thinking? I should have done this a long time ago!” It’s not just about you though…a happy wife makes for a happy life for Vincent & Chippy too! ( but really it is ALL ABOUT YOU! )
    As you can see your squad has your back and as some one mentioned seeing you in my in box is a cause for celebration.
    LOVE YOU GIRL, big hugs!
    OMG it’s so frigging cold here -28C I wonder how Louis XIV would have dressed for that!

    • Catherine says:

      Oh Al, thanks so much! Your words ring so true on so many levels. It’s definitely time for a change but I have to implement it slowly. I want the “old” me back. IT’s so odd how a job can affect one’s life–and it drives me over the edge when I hear people or see people saying that you can find the job you love. Bullshit. When you are over a certain you cannot! Regardless, and despite Covid, last year brought me complete, absolute joy with Owen! He’s walking and babbling and happy but as he is prone to ear infections, he’ll have tubes placed into his ears soon. I cannot wait to see him!! XOXOXOXOXO

  25. Maryellen Reardon says:

    Do try to continue writing as it seems good for you, and we all enjoy it. I have never been to Paris but would not like going as a ‘tourist.’ Would love you as my tour guide there so I could feel as if I belong!

  26. thelakewoman says:

    Cathe… are still there and we are still here. Sending hugs and healing karma your way!

  27. Bonnie says:

    Like Everyone else I LOVE your take on whatever you write. I always get a smile when I see one of your blog postings in my mailbox. I don’t always comment, BUT, I always read. I think to myself Catherine puts a lot of thought and effort into each post. So don’t compromise your style to be able to write more often. Just do it your way, As you see from the comments, there are many of us out here who are BIG fans

  28. diane says:

    Hello Catherine,
    even tho we cannot see each other, we all can feel for one another. And we feel for you and
    know you will find your way through these tough times – it reminds me of Charlie Chaplin and
    Modern Times, doesn’t it? Hang in there, and be sure that there will be more good
    times to enjoy. You are a beautiful lady, so honest and expressive , and humerous. I wonder
    what I love your Blog, photos, makeup, wigs,,,you tell a great story. One of the next emails
    you receive will be from the French Ministry of Tourism – with a new job offer !
    Hang in there. Best regards, Pokey

  29. Gee, I think you do a fabulous job on your blog. I always look forward to it when ever you post. If readership is down maybe it’s just that people are not spending the time reading blogs the way they used to. I personally find your blog very entertaining. I’m sorry about your work situation. They don’t know what a gem they have in you. Bummer. Regarding Paris. I always love those posts. But one of my favorite places to visit is Giverny!!!!!! I’m sure you’ve been there. I guess it’s closed in the winter, But I adore Monet’s Garden. We’re all with you Cath!! Oh, your nails. Have you tried Press Ons? I love them.

  30. June says:

    Catherine – I totally agree with the comments. I read everyone of your posts and look forward to learning more about each of your interests from makeup to wigs. Also, your tips on your trip to Paris.
    Regarding Versailles, I agree. Not my favourite. It is over rated. I have only taken the train and one needs to be aware that there is a considerable walk from the train to just the outside of the palace. And then one must remember all the walking once inside. My memory is that the Hall of Mirrors is always busy and does take away from the “splendor”. The other point that I remember, I was there in May and for some reason the rooms smelt moldy. Strange. I could not wait to get outside.
    I also loved Fontaineblue and Chantilly more.

  31. Yolanda Baird says:

    Ditto to all above. I can’t tell you how many friends are burned out with the changes covid brought. What hurts my heart is that they take it on themselves-too old too stupid. We are just worn out with having to think through everything, because all the rules are gone, changed or morphing into something that is unrecognizable. My friends and I are taking turns having nervous breakdowns. But, even with all that, reading your blog is a little sunshine. We all appreciate you. You be you-you do it so we’ll!

  32. Diane B says:

    There is not much more I can add to this fantastic group of women, except to say that I love everything you post. I started because of the wigs and makeup but fell in love with you as you are so honest and real. Please take care of yourself and we will be here when you feel like connecting. I am so glad you did get back to Paris.

  33. jcadie says:

    Love your blog. I agree that life is different now. I do think Instagram is slowing down and wonder what will replace it.

  34. Vonne says:

    I’ve loved you and your sassy attitude for yrs. As long as you feel like writing, I’ll be here to read it! I Don’t think I’ve ever commented before, just wanted you to know that.

  35. Ann R says:

    Catherine, You take care of yourself. I always enjoy your feisty honesty on the internet. I hope there comes a time that you can retire in the near future. While I enjoyed working and having a paycheck I did not enjoy the stressful and sometimes toxic office environment. Again take care.

  36. Dear Catherine! I love your blog/Insta photos and all your Posts for your honesty, humour, sharing the day to day activities of your life! It is not easy when the workplace is so toxic and stressful as we spend so much of our time at work!! Seek the professional help that you need and hopefully very soon you will be feeling much better and able to cope. It has been a horrible couple of years for the whole world thanks to Covid and other resulting issues. Don’t worry about the “numbers” – your true friends and loyal “followers” will not desert you dear Cathe! Try to remain positive which can be hard but worth the effort!! Love you dear friend. ❤️

  37. Juliet says:

    Im so sorry you are having such a horrible time of work right now – I really hope you find something much better, dont give up hope as a job thats sucks you dry is just the most awful lonely and miserable experience. That said, I am in awe when you can post as you really lift my day/week when you post (sucky job experience at the moment at work here) so the fact that you can do that I find amazing – I love your posts, so funny and human and that just connect. Im loving the Paris chronicles and what you get up to I feel so sorry that it cant be your full time rather than the job you do xxx

  38. Julie says:

    Aww, wish I could reach through the internets & give you a big hug! Reading your posts is like a breath of fresh air. Take care of yourself first & know that we all love you. XOXOXO Julie

  39. Paula lonardo says:

    Just LOVE your blog! Even if it were quarterly I would still be in anticipation to read it! Hope you find peace along the way. God bless you and the Frenchman. Xxxxx Paula

  40. Molly says:

    Catherine, I love your blog! I don’t often comment, but I’m always here reading. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

  41. Donna says:

    Catherine, I’ll add my two cents worth… I echo the comments above—hang in there and take care of yourself. Blog when you feel like it, and we’ll all be happy to hear from you. I appreciate your honesty and love your sense of humor!

  42. Susan D says:

    I am so sorry that you are having such a bad time. It really amazes me how you manage to do a full time job and still have time to write your blog. A blog which is eagerly awaited, even if the time between the postings is sometimes long. Don’t give up, stick in there, we your adoring public will wait for you and lap up your offerings when they arrive. You are a good writer and so honest, something greatly lacking today and greatly appreciated.

    I know how difficult it must be for you, but do remember what an amazing pleasure giver you are. I feel you are a friend, although my husband says to be real – we don’t know each other, but your writing makes it feel real. We love Thiele sur Mer and I often muse how funny it would be to bump into you there!!!

    As for Versailles, I visited about thirty years ago, and whilst I loved it I did find the Hall of Mirrors slightly disappointing. Vincent is right the Loire has some marvellous chateaus, Azay le Rideau is very pretty.

    I’m not going anywhere. I’ll continue to check for postings.
    Susan D

  43. vavashagwell says:

    I’m a loyal reader as well. I always enjoy your posts and although this was a difficult couple of years, we’re hanging together. Not sure I’m ready just yet for international travel with all the hassles that entails at the moment, but it’s fun to read about your adventures. Take care!!

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