I was up about 7am this morning, Ash was up before me which Hardly Ever Happens. He was ready to take Paul out for his walk and I was so not so he went out by himself while I had my normal morning of coffee, reading, etc.
Ash came back with a bag of goodies for breakfast.
We made our way out about 9:45am, taking the subway to an RER train station. I do love the train culture in Europe.
We got to Versailles about 11am. I had been here on my first trip to Paris in 2014. Ash’s first time was a few weeks ago. He bought an annual pass in anticipation of returning and he has – today was his 4th time! That’s Shirley who’s been on this trip with him the whole time but the first time I think she’s made an appearance in the blog.
This is the chapel inside the palace, this photo taken from the ground floor.
This is the same room but taken from an upper floor so you can see the ceiling. It’s hard to believe that people lived here.
There were several places you could pick up the history of the place. The palace was built by the series of King Louis’s, from XIII who started with a hunting lodge in 1623, to Louis XIV – married to Marie-Antoinette – until they were swept out of the palace by the Revolution in 1789. The above portrait was done in the mid 1750-s and it still looks exactly like that today. The public is allowed in a just a very small portion of the entire thing.
It’s interior is famous for marble walls and richly painted ceilings.
This side door in one of the rooms gave a teeny bit of insight into the real palace, behind the façade of the public rooms, where there are private rooms and interior staircases that allow the occupants to move about freely.
After awhile the rooms all start to look alike; you’ll thank me for the number of photos I deleted.
But I couldn’t resist the most famous room, the Hall of Mirrors. I remember reading about this as a kid and it was so much fun to see it the first time, and I enjoyed it just as much today.
My attempt at focusing on these, uh, lamps I guess you would call them.
Taking a photo of Shirley taking a photo of me.
I believe this was Marie-Antoinette’s bedroom. The walls were done in a beautiful fabric and it was a nice change from the other rooms we saw.
We had lunch at Ore, a restaurant literally in the palace. We were seated at the empty table in the foreground.
It was a simple menu, 4 courses for 48 euro, which is a pretty good deal for these parts. Ash, Shirley and Jim all got the salmon for the starters.
I thought I was ordering something resembling a salad from the description, but it was really a wurst, and almost a pate. Not my favorite but it was good to confirm I’m still not a fan. Shirley liked it and ate about half of it!
Ash had the pasta for his main. Perfectly al dente and had a great flavor.
Shirley, Jim, and I all had the veal, which was absolutely incredible. The outside was crispy, the inside tender enough to eat with just a fork, tearing apart easily. The poured the au jus on the plate after they served it. Those are crispy onions on top. With a side of incredibly fresh peas with let’s call it bacon. Wonderful.
I had vanilla bean ice cream for dessert.
Ash had a rhubarb soufflé.
Ash had a noisette, the French equivalent of an Italian macchiato – espresso with just a touch of cream.
Jim hadn’t been feeling well most of the morning so him and Shirley took an Uber back to the apartment after lunch. Ash and I continued on to see the gardens. I enjoyed them as much if not more than the palace the last time and the same was true today.
I took lots of photos of the gardens! Many of them I already deleted but I was trying to capture elegance and scope. The grounds are huge and in the end the “scope” pictures don’t do them justice so I deleted most of those.
I caught Mr. Crow relaxing on a statue at the end of the first pool. There’s a twin of this pool over to my left.
Turn around from the prior photo and move a little more center to get this amazing shot. The water in the back is called the Grand Canal and at that point it’s a national park and open to the public. Note that after that center lawn of grass there’s a pool with a fountain in it and then the canal. You’ll see that fountain again. And a shot of me looking back up here from that point.
I had taken those while Ash was waiting in line for the train tickets. After much discussion we decided to walk instead.
This perspective is past that fountain the prior photo, looking back up at the palace.
One of the many entrances to the mazes, this just to the right of that middle lawn. It walked a straight diagonal line to be greeted by fountains at intervals. If you look carefully you can see the fountain spouting in the center….
…the same fountain you see here.
And here’s another a little further along.
This is that pool before the grand canal….
…and the shot of me looking back from that point back up at the palace. I zoomed this 5x which provides the same perspective you see as you’re standing there, so it’s a bit grainy but you get the idea. It’s pretty stunning.
We made our way over to Grand Trianon, one of the smaller homes on the estate. Louis XIV built it for a mistress and a place where more casual gatherings could enjoy time away from the formalities of the palace court. The rooms are definitely not as rich and it’s actually kind of quaint. I look the floor in this breezeway which connects the two wings.
Same location as the prior photo, obviously….
…and this photo was taken from the same spot as the one above, with turning just a quarter to show the gardens which you look out onto from that spot.
A nice room in the wing on the other side, not nearly as ornate but lovely on its own.
As we left that a train pulled up. We were grateful to learn you could buy a one-way ticket! It was almost 4pm at this point, we were hot and tired. It got up to 89 today and there wasn’t a tremendous amount of shade.
It was probably 5:30pm by the time we got back to the apartment. We just relaxed for awhile, debating whether or not we wanted to go out to dinner. By 7:30pm we realized lunch at been at 1:00pm and if we didn’t eat at least something light we would probably regret it. But we were all so tired we didn’t feel like doing much.
So we settled on the Thai place in the next block. Ash & Jim had been here before the they liked it.
It was small but the good was great.
We share a bunch of starters, including this papaya salad which Shirley ordered. It was piled much higher than that when served I just hadn’t thought to take a photo of it.
Also chicken dumplings with a spicy sauce.
And shrimp spring rolls. The peanut sauce was very light, usually it’s much thicker and richer back home but I liked this a lot.
Ash and I both had this: a shrimp and pineapple salad with cashews. It had a teeny kick of spice in it but otherwise was cool and light and just what we needed.
It is almost 11pm. Ash just went to bed and I’ll be joining him as soon as I proof and post! Tomorrow we are joining a friend from Sacramento for lunch who just so happens to be here at the same time as us so that will be fun. Beyond that, we’ll see what else we come up with.
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