Monday in Paris dawned rainy and cold. Clearly Paris doesn’t like Monday any more than the rest of the world. No matter, we were off on a walking tour of the Latin Quarter. On this walking tour we wound through the oldest street in Paris, past houses on a lean and sights made famous as gathering points for academics and writers. Our tour also included the Sorbonne and the Parthenon, very well known sites in Paris.
After the Latin Quarter and a quick lunch, we were off to the Louvre. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon, wandering through the collections and taking in the famous masterpieces. The Mona Lisa was crowded as ever, however my favourite part of the museum was the sculpture garden. I think if I were a Parisian, I would will away any spare hours sitting on a bench in the sculpture garden. It was just so peaceful and beautiful.Our third day in Paris we were up and out, as we headed off on a cycling tour of Versailles. It became clear very quickly that we had a great group for the trip, made up of Kiwi’s and Americans. Our tour started with a stop off at the Versailles markets to pick up our picnic lunch, assisted by our guide who recommended the best cheese, bread and meat stalls. After the market we picked up our bikes and headed off to cycle around the grounds of Versailles. The grounds were beautiful, well kept without being artificial or overdone. After some history lessons by the Grand Canal and more cycling, we enjoyed our picnic lunch at the end of the Canal, gazing down to the Chateau in the summer haze.
Next we were up and off to explore some of the smaller houses in the grounds. First was the Grand Trianon, a house built for the King to withdraw from court, made of yellow stone and red marble which had turned pink. The house was truly stunning! Following that we visited the Petit Trianon which was built for Louis XV’s mistress, but ended up being gifted to Marie Antoinette, Louis XVII’s famous wife. This is also where her Hameau de la Reine is. This was her own personal rural village, made for her to enjoy ‘rural life’. The problem is, nobody told the poor girl what life was actually like for peasants’, however it was still very cute and quaint.
After a ride back to deliver our bikes, it was time to enter the beautiful palace of Versailles. Again it was wonderful wandering through the famous Chateau, if a little crowded, and taking in the famous rooms. My favourite was probably the Hall of Mirrors, or perhaps Madame’s Apartments, which belonged to the unmarried French princesses. Exploring the Palace gardens in the evening light with our new American friends was truly spectacular. They are immaculately kept you can just imagine royalty and members of court taking turns about the magnificent gardens.
The oldest street in Paris
Flighting the hoards for a photo with Mona.
History lesson in the sun
The grand canal
The Grand Trianon and gardens
Marie Antoinettes village
“Hall of mirrors
Looking out across the grounds in the evening light