Versailles / by Deborah Clague

I only took a train/the metro once while in Paris, unfortunately missing sights such as the Moulin Rouge and Sacre Couer which were too far to walk to (alas, I will be returning someday). The time I did take one was to Versailles, which ended up being the most unforgettable part of my trip. I headed out bright and early as I knew that a good portion of my day would involve standing around waiting in line (2+ hours which was less than I thought it would be). This preparation was foiled by the utter confusion I faced at the station. You would assume that standing under a giant sign that says "To Versailles" would be where one waits, but logic escapes the Parisian metro system. To make it worse, I had a number of other tourists come up to me to confirm that this was the spot to catch the train to Marie Antoinette's final abode. "Why yes", I would tell them, assured that my ability to read and comprehend a two word sentence was above average. Nope. As I watched the train approach, it whizzed past and stopped two platforms down under a sign that read "St-Martin-d'Etampes". Of course. 

Exiting the train station at Versailles is a bit weird. There's a McDonalds. There's a Starbucks. And lo-and-behold, there's the most outrageously extravagent palace in the history of the world just beyond! I wonder what Louis XIV would think? I don't really know what to say about the Palace itself other than I understand why heads rolled. It's just very...VERY. Larger than life opulance that I presume influenced the entire Liberace discography, the palace was exquisite but what really made my day were the gardens. The moment I stepped onto the back terrace of the palace and saw the Grand Canal for the first time is definitely in my top five list of things that will flash before my eyes before I croak. It is so, so unbelievably beautiful and serene. Despite it being cold, rainy and generally miserable, I didn't want to leave. 

When I eventually did, I caught the right train back to the hotel (couldn't miss it, as Versaille was the end of the line). 

Louis XIV statue at the entrance of Versaille: 

The Chapel in the Palace of Versaille (private tour groups only enter this area): 

The placement of the fire extinguisher wouldn't pass the muster on HGTV:  

An elaborate room: 

Another elaborate room: 

The Hall of Mirrors: 

The bedroom of Marie Antoinette: 

Everyday I'm shuffling: 

The Grand Canal: 

Apollo Fountain in the Grand Canal: 

Marie Antoinette's village at Versailles (built so that she can pretend to be a "commoner"):