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..
Here are some shots of Versailles for your enjoyment.
…and a bedroom chandelier..
…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!