Versailles (as in ver-sigh, not ver-sails)
|Up early and off to a new train station. We knew where we were going and it wasn't too far away. Plan was to get tickets and get on the 8:00 train to Versailles. Well, the ticket office didn't open until 8:30! We tried to use the machine for a credit card got all the way through and said couldn't purchase ticket for that route! We leave the station ask at a bar where to get tickets. If you have coins you can buy them from the machine on the next level down. We found the machine, got our tickets and got on the 7:32 train!
We were in Versailles by 8:00 and by 8:10 reached the palace and first in line as it didn't open until 9:00. It was cool but sunny!
We got the free audio tour for the chateau and visited all of the rooms. We have been in palaces and castles before, but this is the most elaborate. This was a public palace. I can't imagine being a commoner and visiting this place with all they had and I would be starving! People were allowed to come and watch the king and queen eat...I suppose hoping for a crumb to drop their way!
We walked through the immense garden area which I imagine is gorgeous in the summer, especially on a weekend when the fountains are running. They must be winterizing things as the urns and statues were being covered.
We reached the Grand Canal, had lunch and then headed to Marie-Antoinette estate. Versailles was built as an escape from the pressures of Paris. But the king needed an escape from his escape and built smaller palaces and gardens. There was the Grand Trianon built for Louis XIV's mistress. The Petit Trianon was built by Louis XV's mistress which later became the home of his next mistress. Louis XVI then gave it to Marie-Antoinette.
There was also a Hamlet built by Marie-Antoinette for her escape into the simple life of a peasant...not a working one, but a fairy tale life.
We then headed the 45 minute walk back to the palace and 10 minute walk back to the train station. Our original plan was to climb the tower at Notre Dame but we were too tired for the 400 steps to climb. We decided instead to wait in line to visit Sainte Chapelle.
The reason for the long line is security is the Supreme Court meets next door. We had to not only put bags through but also jackets...I had to take off 3 layers to,put through!
This Gothic church was built by King Louis IX (now a saint) from 1242-48. It was supposed to house the Crown of Thorns were by Jesus at his crucifixion. It is now kept by the Notre Dame Treasury and shown only on Good Friday and at 3 pm on the first Friday of the month. There are 15 stain glass panels depicting Biblical scenes. There were 4 hidden as they are in the process of being restored. But they are beautiful!
Returned to the apartment tired and exhausted.