Paris Honeymoon Diary: Day 5

Posted: 23rd June 2008 by Luc "Sandman" G. in Life

Sunday was the day we chose to go to the Palace of Versailles, the royal palace that was erected by Louis XIV in 1669.  Louis XIV aka the Sun King, moved the royal court and parliament from Paris to Versailles in order to completely control a government of France by absolute personal rule. The palace is famous for its extravagance and for its scenic gardens. When gazing upon the chateau, one can easily see why the French people revolted against the monarchy.

With our hotel being at the north eastern end of the city, and Versailles situated outside of the city to the south west, our day started with an hour train ride to the suburb of Versailles. Even though this was a Sunday, I had to stand the entire time due to the sheer amount of visitors going to the palace. Once we got off the train it was a five minute walk to the chateau. With our Paris Museum Pass in hand, we bypassed the hour long queue to buy tickets and were whisked right in within seconds. This pass not only paid for itself money wise, but also in the amount of time we saved by not having to stand in line! If you ever go to Paris and plan on seeing landmarks and museums, do yourself a favour and buy one. You won’t regret it.

But I digress. Once in the palace itself, we walked around the many rooms admiring the level of detail, the richness of the materials and the beauty of the architecture. Every ceiling was covered in gold ornaments, statues and was beautifully painted. All the chandeliers were made of crystal. The beds adorned with ostrich feathers and very fine linen. Paintings and busts of the royal family hung in every room. More often than not, the paintings revolved around Louis XIV. The bedroom walls covered in fabric. Old tapestries hanging in some rooms, covering entire walls. Each door knob and window handle handcrafted to perfection Even the chapel was covered in gold. This was 17th century extravagance at its finest.

Suffering from a bit of painting and statue overload, caused by all the previous museums that we saw so far on our honeymoon, we only stayed in the palace itself for about an hour and we headed for the famous gardens. The gardens and landscaping was the main reason why I wanted to see the Palace of Versailles, and I was not disappointed. The craftsmanship and horticultural work of the gardens is nothing short of stunning. Fountains adorned every corner, flower beds could be seen for miles. The trees heading down to the artificial lake formed a maze that took you to various gardens on the estate. Within one of these mazes contains a small open air restaurant where we had lunch. It was quite something to eat on the Versailles gardens itself.

With lunch out of the way we walked the mazes and and viewed the multitude of gardens. We rested along the banks of the artificial lake, where we watched people rent canoes and go out on the lake. I was tempted to go, but with all the electronic gear that I was carrying we decided against it.  The afternoon almost over, we walked back towards the castle while enjoying an extremely delicious ice cream cone. Just as we arrived to the yards to re-enter the castle, the fountain water show begun. Seeing dozens of water fountains go off at the same time was a stunning sight. We decided to walk the gardens a little longer to enjoy the water show. Upon re-entering the palace, I zoomed into the souvenir shop and picked up a book on the gardens, as well as a CD of the music that we heard all afternoon while visiting.

The train ride back to the hotel was uneventful. The trains were nearly empty so I luckily was able to sit for the ride, allowing my aching feet to rest. We got back to the hotel at 6, had a small nap and headed out to supper at the Canon de la Nation restaurant. I ordered duck confit, which was my first try at eating duck. The duck itself was delicious but I couldn’t eat the skin. I found the skin too thick, very greasy and having a texture that I did not enjoy. The duck meat itself was delicious. We made our way back to the hotel for 10pm, where once again we rested our aching feet and slept soundly from all the day’s walking. Little did we anticipate how much more our feet would hurt the next day…

> Photo Gallery Link: Versailles

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