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Pretty Things in Paris – Part 1: Versailles

I’m a little behind on my blogging goals since I lost internet earlier this week.  I won’t bore with you the details, but getting it back took several days and phone calls and technician visits.  So, here’s a bit about my trip to visit friends in Paris last week.

Some fellow foodie friends are living in Paris while attending the French War College – what a post, eh?  So I took advantage of a free week from teaching English to refugees (post about that to follow, one of these days) to go and visit.  I’m lucky enough to have been to Paris enough times before to have seen the big sites, so this time I decided that I just wanted to walk, look at pretty things, and eat gorgeous food.  Not to say that Turkey is ugly, but when it comes to beautiful streets full of beautiful people and beautiful shops, Paris may have the rest of the world beat.


the view from my room

So, on my quest to be surrounded by beauty, I spent the first day on a trip to Versailles.  Since there’s no Spring Break in Turkey, or at least at my university, I had forgotten about this phenomena, and how many people like to travel during this period.  The palace was terribly crowded – I wouldn’t even try to go there in the summer.  The line to enter the palace was about an hour’s wait, and it was really cold, so after buying my ticket I played my Turkish card and, um, joined the head of the line.  Once inside, you get a audio guide and then start your self tour.  Note – it’s really handy to have a set of headphones.  Otherwise, you have to spend the whole tour holding the guide up to your ear to hear the tour.

There were so many people that I didn’t spend long reading any of the information about the various phases of the palace and its restoration.  Google recently sponsored the beginning of the tour, with lots of cool movies and 3D presentations about the history of Versailles – if you’re there on a not-so-crowded day, I’m pretty sure it’s amazing.  I got fed up with fighting the crowds and being poked and bumped that I kind of fast-tracked through the palace rooms and then escaped to the gardens.  These were beautiful, even in the middle of winter and with a restoration in progress.  You can imagine the splendor in the fairer seasons.  I also realized with all the bikers and dog-walkers that there must be entrances besides the tourist track through the palace and consulted the map.  In fact, there are several entrances, and if you live nearby, Versailles serves as the community park!  What a treat for the locals.  So, although I won’t go back to the palace, I’d love to see the gardens in bloom and just spend a day soaking up the beauty.

Here are some of the images:

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Patrick Redmon #

    Dear Sarah: Not sure we knew you are such a Franco-phile!! 🙂 Although I agree that some parts of France fit the “most beautiful place on the planet” category, you failed to mention what appears to be more than a slight “dog poop everywhere” problem in parts of Paris! (ha ha) You are certainly spot on with Versailles though. The palace is beyond description. For those who might find themselves in southern Germany someday, I would steer you to Lake Chiemsee (spelling) and the two small islands, Herren (men) and Frauen (women), out in the lake. One of the old Bavarian Kings (Ludwig maybe?) was a real nut case and had a penchant for building castles – such as the Neuschwanstein (i.e. Disney) Castle down near Garmisch. In any event, this guy also had a “thing” for Louis XVI (or was it XIV?) and built a “mini-Versailles” on Herren Island. He never quite finished it – or Newschwanstein Castle either – because he drowned quite mysteriously near Munich before project completion. (Rumor says he was killed because he was spending all of Bavaria’s money on these stupid castles!!!) So if you get to Germany this year, Sarah, and you still have a hankering for some French stuff, zip out to Herren Island and check out old Ludwig’s half-finished monument to his favorite French monarch. Speaking of dynasties… I’ll be thinking about you this weekend when your Wolverines look to win the NCAA championship down in Atlanta! Any plans to get somewhere to watch the games?

    April 4, 2013
    • Hi Sir! So, even with all the walking I did in Paris, I didn’t see shit on the street once! I don’t know if it was just where I was, or if the dog-people finally got their act together. My friends living down in Aix say it’s always a problem there though!
      So, not sure if you saw my boys lose the championship. It was a valiant effort, and I’m glad we made it so far this year. Plus, my bracket depended on them, so I got a lot of points!!!
      Hope you’re enjoying spring,

      April 18, 2013

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