Friday, May 25, 2012
A late morning start; breakfast in our room and working on the blog from yesterday kept me busy. We met downstairs at 9 am and walked the block to the RER Station for the train to Versailles with the tickets we’d purchased last night. It was a 45 minute ride in a full train but we did have seats together. Jim gave us a scare when he got caught in the door as it closed before he was all the way in. It took several men from inside the train to force the door open enough for him to get inside. He was the last person in and the train waits for no man or woman when it’s time to leave! He was a bit shaken up but otherwise okay.
It was only a ten minute walk from the train station; after I used my train ticket to open the door to the toilette in the station…a first! The gold on the iron fences and roofs are not a brilliant as it was two years ago but in the bright sunshine it is still spectacular!
Lines were long but we expected that. We did pass the line to purchase tickets as we had our Museum Pass for entry; this alone paid for nearly half of the cost making the Paris Museum Pass one of the best bargains in Paris.
The tour was very crowded but with the audio guides that were included in the price of the tickets; everyone moved smoothly from room to room. No air conditioning so the space by the open windows was the most crowded. It took a little over an hour to tour the Chateau and then we were in the gardens. We stood in line for the Petit Train to the Grand Trianon; this was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to visit this particular one. Then we walked to the Petit Trianon that was a favorite place of Marie Antoinette when she lived at the palace. It was about a ten minute walk from there to the Hamlet where she built a miniature village with a working farm where she could spend time with the “common folks”.
It was nearly two o’clock by the time we boarded the Petit Train again for the ride to the Grand Canal. There we enjoyed lunch while watching people paddle their row boats around the canal. Took lots of photos, even one of monks on bicycles, and then got back on the Petit Train for our final ride back to the Chateau. As we departed the train several of the fountains came on in the upper gardens. There was a stiff breeze and it created a massive “mist” machine and the school children were delighted to frolic in the cool water being blown over all of us.
The gardens are in transition from spring to summer flowers so there is not much color in the gardens. We took a quick look and then headed back to the train to Paris. Arrived about 4:30 pm and enjoyed a hour of rest before heading out for dinner.
Our dinner tonight was in Montmartre; high on a hilltop on the North side of Paris. It took us several metro trains to reach the area…about 45 minutes travel time. Then we rode the funicular up the steep hill and plunged into the crowds for photos of Sacra Coeur…the beautiful white church that is visible from all over Paris.
We wandered along the lanes until we reached the artist area and all the restaurants where we found seating at the La Mere Catherine Restaurant outside in the plaza. We used our Rick Steves Tour Book for the trip down the hill, he has a great walking tour in his book of this area. We found the Laughing Rabbit Bar; several famous homes, the one remaining original windmill and finally at the bottom of the hill: The Moulin Rouge. Back on the Metro and home to the hotel.
Terry, Linda and I went back out to try for a night photo of Notre Dame; it was about 10:30 pm and just getting dark. Workers were setting up palm trees in sand all over the plaza in front of Notre Dame….must be having something special for this Sunday…Pentecost .. a religious and national holiday for France.
Terry and Linda could not believe the activity and number of people still on the street. Many people were just sitting down to dinner; others were just out drinking and having a good time. The quai was full and it was still very warm when we returned to the hotel about 11 pm. It’s going on midnight and I can still hear the sounds from the streets outside.