Day 2 of my Paris trip continues. As mentioned, we went to Versailles. There are several ways of getting there and the typical tourist would just take the metro to Versailles-Chantier/ Versailles-Rive Gauche station and walk over to the chateau. Well, I’ve got a cheaper and more scenic way of getting there. We have to thank the nice and friendly customer service officer at the metro station!
- Take the metro (from whichever station you are at) and stop at Pont de Servres station. This is the last station of line 9, so it’s quite hard to miss.
- Get out of the station to the bus terminus and take bus no. 171 towards Versailles.
Voila! That’s it! The journey takes about 1hr 15mins but you get to see part of Paris’ suburbs while in the bus. Brilliant thing is that the bus stops right smack in front of the entrance.
How is this cheaper, you ask? Remember the day-pass that I had mentioned earlier? Although Versailles is in Zone 4, your pass will still be validated as Pont de Servres is still within zone 3. All you need to pay is EUR 1.60 for the bus journey on your way back. This beats the EUR 5 something that you have to pay if you were going to buy a separate return metro ticket just to get to Versailles. Might as well maximise your pass since you’ve purchased it! For all you know, the bus driver might also close one eye if he knows that you’ve purchased a pass! 🙂
Now, a little bit about Versailles. It was built by King Louis XIII and has been housing the royal family up till King Louis-Phillipe (post revolution). Of course, one of its most famous resident has to be Marie-Antoinette and who can disregard the enormous gardens that Versailles is famous for?Well, I’m sure you can read all about its history from Versailles’ official website or from wikipedia, so I shan’t bore you with the details. That being said, I must say that Versailles is worth spending the WHOLE day at. Wear comfy shoes (sneakers/ trainers/ sports shoes/ crocs) although I highly recommend hiking boots because the place is massive and you’ll be on your feet all day. Moreover, the gravel in the Chateau can get slippery if it rains. Type of footwear is tres important!
As per my previous post, get the tickets online so that you save the 1.5hrs queue to get the tickets onsite. If you’re like us and missed the chance to get them online, tough luck…you’ve just gotta grin and bear the 1.5hr long queue. Nonetheless, I still think its worth it. It’s my 2nd time to Versailles and I still find it so grand and I finally managed to get the whole day to explore the gardens, look at Marie-Antoinette’s estate (which I had missed out previously) and imagine what it was like back then. Imagine how it must’ve been like during the French Revolution when peasants and scholars alike were pounding at the gates…Marie-Antoinette’s panic as she heard the ruckus while walking back from the gardens and how she escaped through a secret passageway. Unfortunately for her, she was still caught some time later and was beheaded for treason.Anyway, enjoy the pictures!!
The main entrance. They’re restoring the chateau, hence half of it has new gold finishings while half of it doesn’t.
The Royal Chapel. The Royal family attended mass upstairs while the rest of the palace folks were downstairs.
Almost every room in the Chateau has ceilings with painted pictures. They’re not frescos like the Italian ones where the picture is painted directly onto the ceiling. Instead, these are painted on canvases and then glued onto the ceilings.
The famous hall of mirrors. Imagine how opulent and grand this room must’ve been in the 14th century when mirrors were made of polished silver and glass. This must’ve really showed off King Louis XIII’s wealth.
The Queen’s bed. I don’t mind having such a bed….
Famous painting of the coronation of Josephine. Another copy can be found in the Louvre. This painting is massive!!
View of the gardens taken from the main ‘end’ where the chateau is. One can see the view of the gardens from the hall of mirrors too. The man-made lake in the middle of the garden is shaped like a cross. You can’t really see the canal that makes up the perpendicular side as it is far far far away….
Haha…trees cut into funny shapes that look as if you can sit on them. Ok…not a very flattering shot. I blame the photographer. 😛 You probably can’t tell from the pictures but it was sweltering. I think it went up to 32 deg C!!
After walking donkey minutes later (I’m guessing around 20 mins?), we finally see part of the canal (you can’t even see the opposite end!) where people use it to kayak or boat. Others picnic along the gardens. I like…I feel inpsired to organise a picnic back home!
This is the kitchen in Marie-Antoinette’s estate and guess what? It’s only used to heat up food for the palace. Sheesh…this kitchen is larger than my kitchen back home and is the size of the kitchen + living room in the flat that I’m currently staying in.
I’ve got tons more photos but I don’t want to make this post too long. We literally spent the whole day at Versailles and after that, we headed back to Champ Elysees for dinner at St. Clementz. I love the decor of copper pots and pans, spoons and forks. The guide book that we had recommended this place for good home cooked french food. My taste test: overrated. Gor’s lamb (special of the day) was a bit dry. My meat platter was a disappointed array of tough but juicy duck, over-roasted chicken leg, unexciting slices of beef and chewing gum masquerading as roast pork. Saving graces were the mash potatoes and gravy.
I think my jaw got a good workout that day. I remember reading that my platter came with a salad but that salad mysteriously didn’t appear and I was too full and tired to chew to ask them about it.
Interesting thing that happened was that a Japanese couple was seated next to us and they couldn’t decipher the English menu that was given to them. I was so tired that I couldn’t remember how to say “Do you need help?” in Japanese. I only remembered after 3 hours, back in the hotel. Terrible.
That’s all for Day 2…stay tuned for the final ‘chapter’ of our little trip to Paris!