Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,
Mark
mhaithaca

25 May - Versailles is big. Really, really big.

VersaillesOur parents have been to Versailles recently enough that they weren't interested, so Jeff and I took the train out to Versailles on Friday. This involved not just the Metro but the suburban RER... easy enough, as there's a line that terminates at the town of Versailles, a reasonable walk from the palace and grounds.

That they filmed "Marie Antoinette" here is especially impressive given how much they must've had to hide and remove in the way of little affixed placards, anachronistic window views, and so on. Of course, there are plenty of angles from which you'd never know a thing. In the many photos I took here, I managed to make many of them appear as though there was no one else in the room, even though this was by far the most populated attraction we've been to. Good timing, good angles, and it helps that I'm tall and have long arms.

Denis, the hotel concierge, had strongly recommended Jeff and I have lunch at La Flotille, and pointed it out to me on the map of Versailles. I remembered vaguely, thinking it was down by the water, and I was right, though we had passed a few eateries and were growing skeptical by the time we virtually stumbled on it, asking a woman at a food cart who pointed and said "It's right there, in front of you." Denis said he and his friends always went there for omelets, and he didn't steer us wrong. The house omelets, filled with ham and cheese and mushrooms, were positively scrumptious, and were served with crispy fries and a salad. Another huge meal.

From there, we proceeded to Les Trianons, the royal "cottages" on the grounds that in any other context would seem grand, and then into Marie Antoinette's gardens and cluster of private buildings. I'm tempted to go back and watch last year's movie again to enjoy spotting some familiar scenery, though I don't think I really need to own the movie. Certainly beautifully filmed, but offering little dramatic content or acting talent. (I'm also curious to spot the shot of the shoe closet where there are apparently Converse sneakers visible.)

We walked back to the Grand Trianon to find the restrooms, after which Jeff was sore enough that we decided to take the tram back up to the Château rather than walk all the way back up. Down had been merely long, but back up would have been exhausting. I considered walking back up and meeting him, but quashed the idea. Ironically, taking the "petit train" back up cost more than taking the Metro and RER from Paris to Versailles had.

The threatened thunderstorms arrived just as we were getting out of the Metro on the way back to the hotel, and we got drenched even though we had umbrellas. This helped to cool us off after the hot and sunny day, but my pants and shirt were soaked, and my Birkenstocks got completely waterlogged.

Rather than wander back out into the torrential downpour, we all dined at the hotel restaurant, and had excellent meals. As we've seen several times, the service was better intentioned than executed; they forgot my mother's grilled pigeon appetizer when they brought our three appetizers, claiming not to have realized she'd ordered it. My foie gras was outstanding, a little smaller and a hair less tender than the one at Tante Louise, but still really good. And my olive-crusted rack of lamb was quite delicious.
Tags: france
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