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.
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: