Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Our new breakfasy buddy Gabrielle (you know...with the yummy pastries) stays home on Wednesdays, so the shutters were drawn on her shop. The replacement shop down the street was filling, but left us wanting. At least the little produce grocery where we've been buying fresh O.J. was open. (This O.J. contraption is worth a quick diversion. The O.J. is squeezed right in front of you in a device resembling a gum-ball machine. Whole oranges sit in a wire basket on top. When a button is pressed, the oranges drop in one-by-one, where they are split and then gauged out. Juice rains down on a strainer and into a bottle.)

With our O.J. sugar buzz going, we trotted off to conquer the confusing RER train service to Versailles. We were confused by this system last year with Chris, and were determined to get it right. Well, we still went to the wrong platform (again), but stopped short of boarding the wrong train.

Thirty minutes later, we de-trained at Versailles Rive Gauche, and a light rain ominous repeat from our drenched visit last summer? Fortunately no. The rained cleared up and the sun even made a brief, colorful appearance right before it set.

Even though we had visited Versailles just last year, we were treated by with a new billet office, one simple main tour thru the principle rooms including some new rooms, and a very good audio tour in English. Coincidentally, we had just watched Sophia Copola's Marie Antoinette on the flight to Paris, so the images and history were fresh in our minds. The movie was filmed at Versailles, so it was fun trying to place scenes in the appropriate rooms.

A highlight of our visit was the newly refurbished Opera--entirely made from wood cleverly fashioned to resemble marble and plaster. The result is a lush opera house fit for a king. It was built by Louis XV in honor of the marriage of the Dauphin to the young archduchess of Austria, Marie Antoinette. We also took a new tour through the Dauphin's private apartments on the ground floor. Jeff was a little dismayed that large sections of the Chateau were not included on the regular tour. Inquiry at the ticket office did not answer how one would see those rooms. One area that was supposed to be open, the apartments of Mesdames, was closed, but no one bothered to post a sign or warn when buying our ticket. We're getting used to this :)

The gardens were a little barren compared with last year, but a fun walk nonetheless. We made our way to the Jupiter Fountain and the Grand Canal. The highlight, however, was almost getting attacked by two agressive swans...yes, we have pictures.

The trip back into the city was FAR simpler! Finished the day with dinner, wine, walking...and tonight an ice cream sundae...and more walking.

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