I'm not sure why we never visited Versailles before but we finally did today. We grabbed a subway to a station where we could catch the C train. After about 45 minutes on the train we popped off the train almost at the foot of the chalet - what an understatement. This palace, the Chalet de la Versailles, began its growth and development in 1682 when King Louis XIV (the most famous guy) began construction of his "King's house". This, the world's largest royal domain, covers 2014 acres including 230 acres of gardens with tremendous fountains, hundreds of statues, manicured lawns, and sculpted grounds with scissor cut shrubbery and trees. The palace itself has 721,206 square feet. It was another over the top palace that astounds common folk like us. It is huge, really huge. It's gardens have wide paths deliberately laid out through the property with statues built by great artists on every corner. Yes, it is impressive to see evidence of the wealth and power in place at that time, but the familiar sickening feeling overcame us as we thought of the labor, taxes and sacrifices the poor people had to make to build this lavish playground and demonstration of wealth. May this never happen again.
This place was home and symbol of power of the French empire from 1682 until 1787 when the royal family was forced to move back to Paris just months before the French Revolution.
After a lovely, lovely walk through the immense grounds, we were tired and hungry. We walked into the city of Versailles and found a restaurant with street-side tables. We sat. We ordered a glass of wine for each other and each ate a plate of Steak Tartare as only the French can do it, with pome fritz and salade.
On the train back to Paris, we sat across from a couple from Idaho. They are seasoned travelers and travel as we do. We had such a delightful time talking about our travels, our love of gardening and the men's love of cars!!!
Tonight is our last night in Paris. No matter how much time we have here, it is never enough. While we did walk the promenade along the Seine in front of the Eiffel Tower and though we did stop to enduldge in a fruit and whipped crème filled crepe, it is never enough. There are so many places I would dearly love to visit again - the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, the Sacre Coeur, and Pont Nuef, just to name a few f the wonderful places here, there is one place I truly wanted to see for the first time this trip but could not - Monet's Garden in Giverny. I will have to hold this place in my heart until the next time.
We are going to London tomorrow morning via the Chunnel. We will meet our dear friends, Mary and Greg, at the apartment we are sharing near Earl's Court Station. Oh boy, the next few days are going to be fun! Just tomorrow night after we meet at our apartment, we will theatre at the Adelphi to see a performance of Kinky Boots! Oh how nice it will be to see long time, true friends and share such a happy experience in London!
Plus, in England, the language is English!!! It's all English for us from here on out!!!
That said, I amd putting on my bucket list -- learn a foreign language!! I know I can do it!!