Our Barge, Odysseus

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Paris - Aug. 30 - Sept. 2

After getting things settled at our room, off we went into the city up to Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur. Except for a brief stay three years ago on the boat, we've always been in Paris either mid-May or mid-September and we hadn't realized the full impact of tourist-Paris. The butte was jumpin! The small sidewalk cafes were all packed and the narrow streets were full of "yoots," this area being a popular hangout. We had a really good pizza at the local "Pink Flamingo," and after a little stroll around the area, headed back to our room. Tomorrow would be eventful; a trip to Versailles.

Upon good advice, we purchased our entrance tickets to the palace at the train station before departing. That meant we only had to stand in one, 1 hour line for entrance to the chateau itself. Standing in line did give us a great view of the complex.

The old brick and stone chateau of Louis XIII was transformed by his son, Louis XIV beginning in 1661. The work continued until his death in 1715 but there were continual "upgrades" made well into the 18th century under the reigns of Louis' XV and XVI. In 1789 the king and his family were run out of the chateau at the beginning of the French revolution. In the mid 1800's it was officially opened to outsiders.

Some great trompe l'oeils painting on the ceiling in part of the Kings chamber.

The man, himself.

The Hall of Mirrors.

The Latone Fountain and Parterre, then the Grand Canal at the base of the "Green Carpet" and the Apollo Fountain. Unfortunately, they don't turn the water on in the fountains except on special occasions.

There are some pretty specialized jobs required to keep up a place like this. This craftsman was repairing the arm of one of the statues along the Green Carpet.

Everybody needs a lawn ornament like this.

We spent all day wandering about the chateau, the nearby Grand and Petite Trianons and the gardens. It was a beautiful day but we were a little footsore by the time we got back to the room about 6.

Happily, the weather during our stay in Paris was very pleasant. There was a little shower while we were at dinner on Wednesday night but other than that is was sunny and warm.
Thursday we spent just wandering around the city, visiting the area by the Seine, the St. Germaine neighborhood and the Notre Dame cathedral. We didn't go into the church, however. The place was crawling with tourist groups.
Friday morning it was up early. We had a 9 oclock train to catch. We were homeward bound.

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