Over the Top is the French Way: Versailles

Trip Start Dec 16, 2011
Trip End May 15, 2012

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Where I stayed
Chateau du Versailles

Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Friday, February 10, 2012

I decided to take a journey to Versailles because I had the time, and it was only about 40 minutes outside of Paris easily accessible by train! The train to Versailles was EXTREMELY crowded, about 2 minutes before the train was to arrive, everyone was squished on the platform. I swear one push I would've been on the tracks... Anyways, the trip out was very easy, and a short walk from the station to reach Versailles. As soon, as you turn the corner the Palace rises from the fresh snow, and the walk in really makes you think about how big the Palace is and thinking "when am I going to reach the entrance...." Because of the cold and the snow, unfortunately, the gardens were closed and only the Palace was accessible. I was definitely sad because the gardens were the biggest part I wanted to see! Still, I was able to explore the Palace, seeing things such as the Hall of Mirrors. 

The Palace itself is an absolute statement to overindulgence and wealth. It was built simly to show how much money the King could throw around. Also, the entire grounds are massive. When open, it could take you twenty minutes to walk end to end. The maps and guides found online can fool you into understating how large the gardens are. The Palace is just way over the top with totally unnecessary decor and furniture all over. For example, these beautiful portraits go floor to ceiling in some rooms, and most rooms have a tapestry as the ceiling. While at Versailles, I learner the story of what it had become after the king was forced out of the Estate. They attempted to turn it into a French History museum, but then they turned it into a meeting place for the Senate, finally to what it is today. A combination of French history, and true history of Versailles the Palace. There is so much history in Versailles, it is crazy to thing what took place on the very grounds I stood on. After duly exploring the Palace, I headed back to Paris for more activities. The only thing is right as I left, it got a little sketchy and touristy with street vendors wandering all around. 

Since it was still early, I decided to check out the Luxembourg Gardens as per suggestion from an old teacher. While it was winter, and I expect them to be much more beautiful in spring, they were still breathtaking. In Spring, I could see myself sitting with a pastry and just people watching, but my face was frozen so I moved on. I took the metro to the Catacombs of Paris... why did I choose to go by myself? Because I'm crazy. Maybe it was my adventurous side coming out, but I soon realized it was am awful idea to go it alone. Halfway down the staircase, I freaked out and waited for the group behind me to catch up. They were a group of German women who took me in and helped me through the Catacombs. The beginning of the walk is not anything scary, just a few underground tunnels. The real adventure begins when you hit the ossuary... The Parisians decided to use HUMAN bones to support the underground quarries. The first wave of human bones really freaks you out and makes you tread lightly. The saddest part is by the end it is almost as if you are immune to the sight of human bones after a 20 minute walk through them. Throughout the ossuary are small inscriptions of various quotes about death (in French). It really is an interesting place, crazy to think of the things people used to do. The catacombs led out to the most obscure street and door. Somehow, I found my way back to the metro and home. 

 When I first got back, I wanted to find some food to take back to the room to eat after I worked out. In the mall across the street was a restaurant names FLUNCH (shout out to FASET). It was here that I had my first real communication fail. I was basically forced into eating 2 hours earlier than I had intended. I kept saying "de partir" but the lady, who spoke no english, refused to accept my french. So, I ate in the restaurant instead of to go... On the way out of the mall, I grabbed a DELICIOUS coffee Macaroon and headed home for the night. 

Now, time to relax. Tomorrow, Olivia comes into Paris!! I am extremely excited to be able to talk, chat, and be around real company. The past week, while Paris is fun, has been a little miserable by myself, and a familiar face will do wonders for my esteem at the moment. Been writing a lot, but there is so much to say. I hope I keep it interesting :) 
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