Tuesday, 2 June 2009

If I was a Rich Girl...

Day 3.

More "breakfast" thrown our way as we headed out to see Versailles - the palace of all palaces. Everyone was waiting at the platform expecting the train to take up the length of it - it didn't and we all had to sprint to the other end to get on it before it shot off. It was pretty funny because no one expected it. The journey was pleasant as it was a double decker train and there was a man playing on the accordion as we travelled - how Parisian!

We arrived at Versailles only to we welcomed by another very, very, very long queue. Sigh. We met another nice American in the queue though! Tourists/Americans stick together! We tried to weasel our way in for free trying the whole studying-in-London trick but to no avail and we got charged with a 25 Euro entry fee! I could have cried. It was okay though because it gave us an audio guide and we got to see everything we wanted to in the whole place. So one a half hours later we made it inside to the palace!

I've been to Versailles before but it never stops to amaze me - the French knew style and opulence. My goodness every surface is covered with intricate carvings, gold or both! Everything is perfect and designed to impress. Most people know this place as the residence of Marie Antoinette which it most certainly was and it made all excited inside last time and this time to see the little secret door in her bedroom that she escaped through the avoid instant death - later to suffer a more instant death - decapitation... I said the French were renowned for their style not their mercy. I also found out that the Queen's of this time were forced to have public births so that the public could rest assured that this was the true heir. People in the olden days have all this talk of modesty with long dresses, gloves and what not but then they allow women to display everything for everyone. Seems a little bit of a contradiction...

They had an exhibition of clothes that those in this time period would have worn and it was AMAZING. They had these stunning dresses with trains that went on for days and would have fitted half of me inside them. I still get freaked out by how small people were back in the day. Tiny little hands, feet and bodies - how has the human race survived given that these women don't look like they could handle lifting a fork to their mouths let alone birthing a baby and living to tell the tale (though I suppose many didn't). It's funny because the audio guide that we were listening to would have very long pauses so you would be standing in front of a display, wait, turn away and then "then in 1765..." Whoops, turn back. Miranda and I noticed one another doing it - they made the descriptions too long! You only listen to all the audioguide talks out of obligation... I mean really.

The best room in the place, though, is the Hall of Mirrors - every guide book will tell you - but I'm telling you now so pay attention. It's AWESOME. And it's exactly what it says it is - a long room with walls lined with mirrors and windows opposite so it's very bright with huge chandeliers and candelabras everywhere and the most beautiful painted ceiling! Yeah - I'd live here. The whole day I took to talking like, what I think a noble would talk like, saying "this pleases me". This room pleased me.

We then ventured into the giant gardens which go on for days! We desperately wanted to take the mini train around the garden but we were strong! We could walk! It was lovely weather and throughout the gardens they were booming classical music so walking along with all these beautiful marble sculptures and classical music it was very lovely - I mean - it pleased me. We saw the Petit Trianon and the Grand Trianon - much smaller palaces for when the royals just wanted to get away from extreme pretension. These "little" ones were still mansions. I'd get spooked living in such a giant house... It was weird going from the most amazing palace to these little ones - it made them seem really rubbish - which I felt bad about given that they were so huge. The most awesome part of the gardens is the mini village which Marie Antoinette had commissioned when she was 13. It's an entire little village that she would play in and pretend she was a shepherdess and play with sheep (sheep that had been perfumed and washed beforehand mind you). It was SO COOL. The town seemed like a normal little thatched roof cottage town with a windmill and all that except that it was just slightly smaller than a normal town. That or people were just really small as I was discussing earlier. I really wish they would have let us play in all the little houses - Miranda and I chose which house we would have. Needless to say we had some fun...

After spending six hours at this place we were ready to go. We decided to take the metro back to the Eiffel Tower to have one last look in the sunlight - blue skies again whoo hoo! This was our goodbye time to Paris. We bought little pasta salads from a supermarket and ate it on our hostel room's little balcony. It was really lovely until I confessed that I was scared that the balcony would break - that spooked us both out. A different girl stayed in our room that night who was from Argentina - and spoke Spanish. Miranda can totally speak Spanish though - don't listen to her when she says she can't - she's being way too modest. Miranda could hear the girl and talk back but the girl then would just rattle off long sentences to her and expect her to understand right away. I was entertained as a bystander. The showers on our floor decided to break so we had to troop downstairs to bathe - hot water though!

We tried going to sleep but Miranda would keep making me laugh and vice versa until we both admitted we were really excited about going to Euro Disneyland the next day. Also the pipes in this place are wack and there would be this water noise and then BAM pipes off. So we would joke that the pipes were like "water, water, wat- THAT'S ENOUGH". We were very tired. All in all the day pleased me.

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