Monday, May 6, 2019

Europe recap day 4: Versailles

Palace of Versailles statues, the gardens
Palace of Versailles statues

Well, you have made it to day 4 of our Europe Trip! We covered a lot in day 4 as well, so this will be split up into two separate posts - this one covering our tour to Versailles and then our own visit to Notre Dame as well as a boat tour! This was the only day of our entire trip that our group split up. Half the group had already been to Europe together before so they were off to venture some new things for them. We debated on touring the Louvre or Versailles, and the consensus was Versailles. It was only a half day tour - the shuttle left at 8:45am (ish), and we planned to be back in Paris by 1-2pm.

Eiffel tower at sunrise
Beret: Shein (gifted) | Top: Bailey 44 | Jeans: AG Jeans | Sneakers: Ecco

We took advantage of having to be out and about early in the morning to beat the crowds and take sunrise pics with the Eiffel Tower in the background. I love how the Eiffel Tower seems to change color throughout the day as it reflects different shades and tones of light. Coincidentally, I dressed extra Parisian today in my beret and my stripes. Nothing super special about this outfit, though I found the top to be a bit fussy. It was a new purchase specifically for Europe so this was the first time I wore it. It kept getting bunchy and clingy around my bra, I felt like I was adjusting all day. It was also just a touch colder than I would have liked it to be. It was fine in the sun, but in the shade, it was a bit cold. I ended up changing when we got back to our AirBNB after Versailles.

breakfast at carette, paris
Breakfast at Carette

croissant breakfast at carette, paris france
Breakfast at Carette

After we had our mini photo shoot, we had our only sit down breakfast as a group our whole trip! (Sleep usually won over breakfast for me personally.) I had to post two photos with two different angles of all of this because it was THAT good. Hands down the best croissant I've had in my life - I think about it often. I cut it in half and spread butter and blueberry jam inside. And funny enough but my croissant came with a side of toast, which was perfect for me because I was obsessed with the butter and wanted something else I could butter and eat!

I think the boys were done with their food before the girls even started eating theirs. Sorry not sorry! I am ok making fun of myself. But everything was beautiful, I couldn't not photo it! I had to share this behind the scenes photo our friend Kyle took.

Palace of Versailles

Ok, so now we are at Versailles. We met the shuttle just a block away from where we had breakfast. It was about 20-30 minutes to get there. Right out of the gate, our tour guide was late. We were supposed to leave around 8:45am, but it ended up being closer to 9:15/9:30. She said she was late because of protests and because they shut down trains as a result. Which, ok, fine. But it's not like protests haven't been going on in Paris every Saturday for how long now? This already started out with me a bit salty.

We had to stuff ourselves into the crowd on the right

Our tour was advertised as "skipping the line" and that really was not the case. Our tour time was 10:05, except they also didn't open the doors at 10am. It was closer to 10:30, and by then, the lines were so backlogged with people. She gave us our headsets at around 9:45 and told us she had to check in and pick up her tour license or something inside and would be out in 15 minutes. That turned into about 45 minutes so the dozen of us there stood around freezing and confused.

Waiting for our guide to come back

We finally squeezed ourselves up front at the entry, but as someone who was already pick-pocketed on the trip, you can imagine my anxiety being stuffed shoulder to shoulder with a ton of people. I was very self-aware of all my things, but just the crowds had me nervous. FINALLY, we got inside.

Palace of Versailles chandelier
Palace of Versailles

The Palace itself was beautiful in terms of all of the intricate details and such. It was just very hard to enjoy it because there were SOMANYPEOPLE. That's why a lot of these photos are of me looking up at the ceiling because otherwise all you would see is a ginormous crowd of people shoving each other. It got to the point where I would brace myself like a football player and just elbow people back as I walked through the crowd. It was pretty miserable to be honest.

Palace of Versailles guest bedroom
Palace of Versailles - guest bedroom

On top of that, I felt like our tour guide knew we were already frustrated about her being late and it taking so long to get inside. She felt defeated and she was very lackluster in her tour guide explanations. She was not at all engaging. She was nice, don't get me wrong, but very monotone. I was also surprised how little we actually saw inside. Maybe that's because our tour was only a couple of hours? But for example, they boasted about how there are over 1000 fireplaces in this palace. We maybe saw 6? Not that I expected to see every fireplace, but I expected to cover more ground inside is all. And the rooms we did see were small and not what I would expect for a grand palace.

Palace of Versailles - Hall of Mirrors

This hands down was my most favorite room - the Hall of Mirrors. It was grand, bright, beautiful, so spacious. Except again, full of people so I couldn't get great pics except above head height. At least the ceilings are beautiful!

Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles

The one room I was able to get a floor to ceiling shot of only because it was roped off. I don't even remember what this was. But I do like how bright and clean it was. If I lived in a palace, my room would look like this.

Palace of Versailles - king bedroom
Palace of Versailles - King bedroom

This was the king's bedroom. One thing I learned is that the king always wanted his life to be public. So you will see chairs beside his bed, and there were actually spectator chairs at the foot of his bed too so people could just sit and watch him sleep and wake up. Super creepy!!!

The other fun fact I learned on this tour was that back in the day, the French only bathed themselves 2 to 3 times A YEAR. This is because they were afraid baths opened up their pores making them susceptible to disease. So they never bathed. And when they did - they shared the same bath water. The king would go first, then the queen, and so on and so forth. USING THE SAME WATER. I cannot even imagine the disgustingness of that water. BLECH!!!!

Palace of Versailles Orangery
Palace of Versailles Orangery

So now we are outside in the gardens. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite spring here yet, so none of the trees were out from winter hibernation which is why it looks so bare. It was very windy and it was impossible to hear the guide outside because all you could hear was the wind in her mic.

Palace of Versailles Gardens
Palace of Versailles Gardens

Remember when we saw the gardens at the Louvre? The Louvre gardens were so much more beautiful than this to me in my opinion. I understand they built this in a way so that it appears as if you're staring off into an infinite horizon, but I don't know. It was too spread out and not as exciting and breathtaking as I expected it to be. Perhaps it would feel different in true springtime.

Palace of Versailles Gardens, pilates, open leg rocker, travel photo
Palace of Versailles

Regardless, I will still do an open leg rocker on premise! The Palace grounds are at least so big that when you're in the gardens, it seems like there is no one around. I loved this panoramic view of the Palace behind me. It was at least refreshing to be out here with no one to shove me.

Latte at Cafe Blue Roi
Latte at Cafe Blue Roi

We did not explore the gardens very long. We never even walked down those stairs. We were all a bit defeated with the cold, the crowds, the waiting. We just wanted coffee. So we went across the street and found Cafe Blue Roi. One thing in Europe is that it is hard to find good old American coffee. Everything is an espresso drink, even at Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. You have to ask for "filtered" coffee if you want an American coffee and some places didn't serve filtered coffee. Just another thing I learned while being there.

Rue colbert, versailles

We took this photo on our way back to the tour bus because one of the couples on our trip has the last name of Colbert. This was the only group pic of the four of us that we took during the tour, so I had to post it!

Ultimately, I would not recommend going to Versailles. I'm sure everything was just Murphy's Law for us with this tour, because the other couples we were with did this tour in the past and they thought it was amazing! It definitely depends on your tour guide, so if you do decide to book this tour, make sure you DO NOT get Nev, if you are even given the choice. It wasn't a terrible tour, but I wished we chose the Louvre instead. Just my honest opinion! The good news is, this was the "worst" part of our entire 10 days there and a mediocre day in Versailles is still better than a good day at the office!!

1 comment :

  1. Love your outfit! Been watching the weather for our trip and I sure hope it warms up. Good to know about the gardens, was thinking of going for the gardens and not do a tour but we might skip it all together. Planning only 1 day to see the highlights in Paris per request of my boys.