On our fourth morning in Paris we woke up to an overcast and gloomy sky. Since we did not have a lot in our schedule for today we lazed around for some time eventually getting ready and heading out to the metro station. We took a metro to Eiffel Tower metro station and from there we got a connecting train to Versailles. A further 1 km walk and we had reached the famous Château de Versailles.
Château de Versailles, located approximately 20 km away from Paris, was built and further expanded in 17th and early 18th century. It served as the residence of French kings from 1682 to the beginning of the French Revolution. The palace grounds including the gardens cover a mind boggling 2000 acre of area.
If we were asked to define the Château de Versailles in one word then it would certainly be opulence. We could feel it as soon as we stepped inside the intricately decorated and gilded royal gates and fence. Even the Château building had a lot of gold work on the exterior and it made for an awesome sight. It had begun to drizzle slightly so we quickly joined the long line of people waiting to enter the palace and got inside after waiting for about 15 minutes.
Once inside the palace, we saw various halls and rooms including the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Chapel and the apartments of king, queen and other members of the royal family. The theme of opulence and grandiosity continued throughout with marble floors, finely crafted sculptures and statues, impressive frescoes, paintings and portraits, exquisite furniture, ornate tapestries and huge chandeliers. There was so much gold work everywhere that it seemed excessive after a certain point. From the windows of the palace we also got views of sprawling but lush green and well maintained gardens along with fountains and sculptures. In the end we felt that though the palace was extremely grand, it lacked the charm and romanticism of those we had seen in Florence.
After we had seen whatever portions of the palace were open to public, we approached the exit which opened into the gardens but there we found out that the slight drizzle which we had encountered while entering the palace had changed to moderately heavy rain and we were not carrying any raincoats or umbrellas too.
After contemplating for a few minutes we decided to give up on exploring the gardens and some other buildings located in the palace grounds like Trianon palaces and Marie Antoinette’s estate. Our decision was partly because of the rain and partly because of the fatigue that had set in after a fortnight of seeing palaces, museums and cathedrals.
We half walked – half ran to the Versailles station and took a return train to Paris. We reached our apartment in the evening and since the rain did not relent we spent the rest of the evening inside preparing for our journey to Provence the next day.
PARIS MUSEUM PASS
This Paris Museum Pass gives access to 56 museums and monuments in and around Paris and is a great way to save money. Even if someone is planning to see only the major sites in Paris, the pass is still worth it. As I mentioned previously too, Eiffel Tower was the only place that we visited in Paris which was not covered by this pass. In the end we saved close to €30/person by buying the Paris Museum Pass.