The main Palace of Versailles

Day 3 dawned cloudy and cool – Boxing Day. Not really a festive day celebrated by the French. Pretty normal really.

This was to be Palace of Versailles day. I had never been, and Madame only once about 35 years ago so it was with a great deal of excitement that we took the Metro to Invalides to catch the RER (Reseau Express – the overland Paris railway) to Versailles-Chateau-Rive Gauche. The trip takes about 35 minutes and costs 4€ – compare this to the bus prices of 42€ charged by the tourist offices!

A friend’s daughter had also given us a priceless piece of information. Pre-book your ticket through the hotel concierge and specify ‘coupe file‘ (literally, cut the line) tickets. This means that you by-pass the ticket queues and waltz straight in. Not quite as VErsailles attracts over 250,000 visitors daily, but your eaiting time is down to about 15 minutes, compared to 2-3 hours.

Inside the Hall of Mirrors

KIng Netune with the Palace rear in the background.

We ‘couped file’ and in we went to the Pride of France – Versailles Palace. The inscription about the Palace entrance – “For the glory of all France”, is not an understatement and even though it was midwinter, the gardens were pretty much asleep but still magnificent. After touring the rooms, we took the little train around the grounds to the various other buildings. The Hall of Mirrors has just been renovated and sponsored by the company that administers our toll roads, so we could see where our little 4€ we drop into the basket goes towards.

Part of the gardens.

The Chapel inside the Palace.

The King Louis’ loved gold!

We loved all the chandeliers and embossed, decorative ceilings.

A very cool idea is that you can hire golf carts and whizz around the grounds at your own pace. We didn’t try these as the train seemed a bit warmer!

The Palace tour and Gardens takes up a good three-quarters of a day and then it is a simple RER back into the city and off you go again.

This time we walked from Invalides and soaked up the sights and sounds, not to mention the lights, heading towards the Marche St Honore area, one of our favourites in the 1st Arrondissement.

The ‘baby’ Arc de Triomphe situated at the foot of the Louvre and at the entrance to the Tuleries Gardens with a searchlighted Eiffel Tower in the background.

Restaurants and bars are dotted around the old market are which is now gentrified shops and offices. Our favourite casual eatery, Fuxia, is there. Friendly serivce, quite superb Italian cuisine and a lively atmosphere. Not a tourist in sight – bliss.

Pre-meal at Fuxia. Just the Penne Arriabatta to drive. Delicious!

Afer a satisfying dinner, a short walk to the hotel and as we tumbld into our bed, the Health App on the iphone read: 16,8km / 23,448 steps. Tired but happy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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