I dropped Wally and Andrew off at Charles De Gaulle Airport, near Paris for their flight back to the U.S. on a Saturday morning. It was then my intention to drive the 7 hours back southward to Montpellier.
Anyone that knows me…knows that it could not be a simple trip. Since it is such a long drive, it made common sense to break-up the trip into several “mini” trips. The trek began with a drive through Paris. As I crossed the Seine River, I received a jolt in my heart as I realized that the Eiffel Tower was just up the river to my left. I instantly recalled a delicious meal I had many, many years ago at a tiny cafe along the Seine River. I wonder if that cafe is still there?
I then decided to head to Versailles.
My first trip to Versailles was nearly 20 years ago, when I came to Europe with my Mother. There is an unforgetable palace in Versailles and I wanted to see it again. I did not remember the street address but I did remember that it was near a train station. 20 years ago my Mom and I walked from our hotel in the left bank to a train station all the while, I was eating a huge crepe. I recall tossing the crepe in a trash can near the train station, because I could not eat it all — and French people tend not to walk down the street eating.
Fast forward to my present…I input the train station information into the GPS and off I headed from Paris to Versailles. Once I arrived at the station, I wasn’t able to see the Palace, but I did see three men standing together having a jovial conversation. I pulled up and rolled down my window to ask directions. It’s always amusing to me to ask directions in French, because I know how to say “where is this or that” in french, but I rarely understand the response that is given to me in french. As soon as the words leave the person’s mouth, I get a glazed over look. Then I have to slowly remember that “to the left” is “a gauche” and to the right is “a droit.” I become so preoccupied with those two terms that I forget what else was said to me. Then the hand signals begin in full force. It amuses me when French people realize that I do not understand them. If they don’t speak English they just talk to me louder in French. This trio spoke French, Portuguese and Spanish. I settled on the one who spoke some Spanish and managed to be directed to the Palace. He told me in Spanish that it was to the left at the end of the street and that I could not miss it. I thought silently “that’s what you think.” I have spent more time than I care to admit hopelessly lost in France.
I dutifully followed the instructions and to my amazement, there it was, in all it’s splendor. This is a massive palace and he was correct, I couldn’t miss it. Hundreds of people were either entering or exiting the palace as they began or completed their tour. Although I opted not to go inside, I recall in vivid detail the palatial interior. I remember enormous rooms with chandeliers and portraits adorning the walls of men and women that inhabited the palace at one time or another. I also remember that in one room there is a full cathedral. It was also the first place that I saw massive yet perfectly manicured gardens. My photos can’t do this place justice so here are a few from professional photographers.