Versailles to Arc de Triomphe
Our days are packed from sun up to sun down, and so far, everyone is good with this plan. We did sneak a 30-minute nap after returning from a half-day plus at the Palace of Versailles, and this helped us tremendously to carry on our day until nightfall.
And today was a “snafu” day. Meaning: We had to leave our Airbnb early this morning to transfer our luggage to another Airbnb (I could not get the same Airbnb for the week when I booked these in January!), so we could make it to the Palace of Versailles as our tickets indicated - during the 10:00 AM hour. Thankfully, the manager of the second Airbnb was kind enough to meet up with us, but for 30 EU, it was worth it. We didn’t need to schlep our bags/luggage, and “Joly” transferred everything to our apartment after the previous guests left.
Most all superlatives have already described this unbelievable palace and the property and gardens that surround it. If you’ve been, you know what I speak, er, write.
If you haven’t been, it may need to move up a few notches on the bucket list.
My biggest takeaway was the extreme wealth needed to run this entire operation - from when the construction began in 1634 to when it opened in 1661 and through to today. Heck, the place has 2300 rooms! How many rooms does a Royal Court need? Apparently, a lot.
The paintings, fine clocks, and tapestries lining several walls intrigued me. The sunny day blossomed into a fine time while we enjoyed the immense gardens and Grand Canel. But the most exciting thing for me was the doors. I couldn’t get enough of them. I liked their intricacies and would love to know more about the stories behind all the emblems and detailed work on each door or set of doors, at least throughout, where the common folk can visit.
The palace was packed. It was also very loud, a far cry from yesterday’s solemn day at Normandie. Maybe it was a good thing it was so jammed since no one could run amok, and we were mostly herded like cattle from room to room, listening to the narrative of what we saw, packaged in little phone-like audio boxes and strapped around our necks. It was just enough information to understand the meaning of how priceless the place really is.
Later in the evening, a visit to the Arc de Triomphe was in order. It's a large cement hunk of history that honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The names of all French victories and generals are inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. We admired the building from across the various streets that shoot off the center; no one felt the need to go up.
I’m glad we are staying quite close to it as well as being able to stroll the Champs Elysees. People watching (and listening to all the languages) is quite fascinating on these wide and iconic sidewalks.
We plan to stroll a little more…