Monday, June 3, 2013

Palace @ Versailles

The other day, my parents took me to a place called Versailles. Apparently, it was a very popular tourist attraction because there were tons of people from all over the world visiting.

Being only 19 months old, I had no idea about what it was or even where it was. My father said we'd be going on a train ride, so I was excited for that. I love trains.

But unfortunately, the train station to catch the train to Versailles was a bit of a walk from our Vendôme hotel.

We left our hotel around 11:30AM and walked across the River Seine from the Musée Louvre and walked along the Left Bank until we reached Musée D'Orsay. Right by the entrance to the museum, we saw the sign for the RER (Paris' railroad system - not to be confused with their underground Metro) and stairs heading under the museum. My father didn't see an elevator, so he picked up my stroller and took me down while my mother followed closely behind, supervising the process. Around the corner, we found the ticket office and asked for some return (round-trip) tickets to Versailles.


The man was very nice and spoke great English. He informed us that we needed to take the VICK train on Platform A. He gave us our tickets and informed us to keep the tickets away from our cell phones so they wouldn't lose their magnetic info. You'll need your used ticket to exit at your destination station.

The turnstiles were electronic and you slid your paper ticket into the slot and pulled it out when it came back out. Fortunately for parents, they had a larger turnstile made especially for strollers but it took a little bit of time. First you put your ticket in, then the turnstile doors shut behind you. Then you waited 4 seconds while the machine calibrated and then the exit doors opened. Odd, but whatever. It sure beat having to lift my stroller over the turnstiles.

We finally made our way up to the platform (more stairs to carry me up) and found the screen with the schedule of trains. Next VICK train was due to arrive at 12:31PM and we'd be on our way.


After about 30 minutes on the train, we arrived at the Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche train stop, the very last one on the VICK line. It's important to remember, because there's another Versailles train stop as well as Viroflay Rive Gauche (which sounds the same, but is obviously different).

Following the crowds, you found the exits, but needed your ticket to get through the turnstiles. They had one for strollers again, but it didn't seem to work, so we just pushed my umbrella stroller through the regular turnstile.

From the station, you turn right and walk up the main street through the town. By now, it was a bit after 1PM and we were a bit hungry, so we decided to stop at one of the restaurants we saw along the way.

Despite it looking like a tourist trap, we opted for the Spanish restaurant and had their €12.50 lunch special which came with a choice of appetizer and an entree. My parents chose the foie gras app and the paella for each of them as well as a bottle of bordeaux (€20). I passed on the red wine, as I was saving space for that delicious Spanish saffron rice, but also because I'm a baby.

By now, it was close to 2PM and we were ready to check out Versailles. We continued down the large street until we reached the big intersection and saw tree lined boulevard we needed to turn left onto.

From there, you could see a large statue of Louis XIV and the magnificent palace ahead. We had already purchased our tickets via the 2 Day Paris Museum Pass, so we skipped the ticket line and went to the entrance.

Unfortunately, I had to check my stroller and be carried or walk. Fortunately, it was free to do so, but the stroller/coat check closed at 6PM (a fact we almost learned the hard way).

 




After checking out the interior, we walked outside to the gardens. They had a shuttle (€7/person) that would take you around the grounds like you were in Disneyland. At first, my father said it wasn't worth paying for, but I explained that I was just a baby and was tired of walking, so he agreed and off we were.

 

Unfortunately, by the time we got off the shuttle and made our way back to the exit, it was 6:10PM. We went to reclaim my stroller and saw the signs that they closed at 6PM! My father was holding me so my mother had to sprint to the entrance where we claimed our stroller. First the signs were confusing and we went the wrong way but eventually she found the right place and barely caught the last employee as he was leaving for the night. Thankfully, he unlocked the doors and retrieved our stroller! Lesson learned.

The Palace of Versaille was indeed beautiful, and all and the surrounding Gardens were immaculately taken care of. It seemed like a great place for a young baby prince or princess to grow up, but what I liked best about Versailles was how friendly all the French pigeons were!




2 comments:

  1. That is crazy they make you check a stroller!

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  2. Well, we found out that it's for a good reason. Some of the rooms got so crowded with tourist, that a stroller would have been impossible to get through. Lucky for me, my parents have sharp elbows!

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