European Excursion Day Three: Free Day
After such a crazy day before we had a day planned with a lot less running around. We had two main things on our plate, Versailles and the Louvre. A complete accident we were visiting Paris on the first weekend of the month and one of the best things about Paris on the first Sunday of the month is that many of the museums are free. Only since November is now considered off peak tourist season the Palace of Versailles is included in the free admission. For two college students this was the greatest news ever. Plus it saved us about 30 euros.
We started our day checking out of our lovely little hotel and made our way to the metro to get to the RER C station which would get us to Versailles. Since we checked out we had to carry our bags all day, so it was like we ere truly backpacking around Europe. With the help of a kind metro employee we got the right ticket and caught the right train. The RER train we took was doubledecker, which is now one of my favorite things about Europe. They really like doubledecker transportation. But anyways after a twenty minute train ride, including an accordion playing musical group, we arrived in Versailles. I was really excited about visiting the palace because it is such an icon of France and let’s be honest it is extremely beautiful. Like I said the palace had free entry so that of course means there was a line. We planned according to this and arrived a little after the palace opened, but there was still a line filled with people who had the same thought. With that said the line moved rather quickly so we only had to walk on the wobbly cobblestone for about 25 minutes. FYI I don’t like cobblestone because I’m really clumsy and i constantly feel as though I’m going to break an ankle while walking on it. Another great thing about Versailles is that they had free baggage storage and free audio guides. After dropping our backpacks off and grabbing an audio guide we officially entered the largest royal domain in the world, a whopping 2,o14 acres.
I was expecting lavish, but I was definitely blown away while I walked from room to room. Modesty was not a thing to the French royals. The palace was added onto several times, but most famously and most extravagantly by Louis XV and Louis VXI. Like father like son. Besides the obvious beauty of the palace and it’s ground, the history in this place was amazing. Think about the French Revolution and how the palace was stormed by angry peasants. I walked on the ground where amazing things had happened. I love the history that I got to walk through. It was amazing to see all of the rooms in real life and let me say that the Hall of Mirrors is even more spectacular in person. Actually everything was more spectacular then even my rapid imagination though it would be. We walked through two levels of the palace including a museum portion, the guest room, several fancy halls, Louis’ bedroom, Marie’s bedroom (we saw the hidden door she escaped from, their dinning room and several other extravagantly decorated rooms. After exploring the palace we made our way to the garden, though we didn’t look around to much because we had to head back to Paris to visit the Louvre. Also the garden is huge and I would need to spend a full day in Versailles to even begin to see everything. Sadly we couldn’t make the palace out home and we headed back into Paris.
Once we got off the train we walked across a love bridge on our way to the museum. A love bridge or love lock bridge is where couple put locks on a bridge and then throw the key into the river. The locks normally have to couple’s initials and the date of when they met or their first date. It is supposed to symbolize their unbreakable love and the only way to be free from the bound is to find the key to unlock your lock. So after all that PDA we were onto our next big Paris attraction, the Louvre! I love me a good museum and I think it’s safe to say that the Louvre is one of the most famous museums in the world. I couldn’t wait to see all the pieces of art that I learned about in my art classes. First we just had to wait in the line for about fifteen minutes and we were in for free. Wahooo. And again they had a free storage area for our bags, so our backs were very happy to be in the museum. The Louvre is a very gigantic museum and we really didn’t know were to start. So we just looked at the museum map and went to all of the most famous pieces that were marked on the map. We went all over the museum seeing famous sculptures like Venus de Milo, The Dying Slave, and Psyche and Cupid. We also saw walls lined with paintings of every kind. As we and Sam walked around we came up with silly stories about the painting we saw. Maybe not the most cultured thing to do in a classy art museum, but we really enjoyed ourselves. Then most importantly we crowded around a tiny painting known as the Mona Lisa. People always told me she was a little painting, so I expected this small painting, but it wasn’t that little. The painting was nice and I can now saw that I’ve seen the famous Mona Lisa. But we had to finish our Louvre visit because they were closing down for the night.
We had about three more hours in Paris before catching our night bus to Amsterdam. We wanted to make our way back over to the Eiffel Tower to see it lit up at night before we left. On our way to the tower we walked along the River Seine taking in the lights. Paris is such an amazing city. Even though it is such a busy place there is something peaceful about it. Something in the people and the city itself. I think that is why I loved it so much. When we reached the Eiffel Tower we took an abundance of photos. We even got down on the ground to take some, we are true photographers now. We knew that we couldn’t spend two hours just sit by the Eiffel Tower in the cold, so we found a cafe with a view of the tower. We sat on the heated patio ate some french fries whilst killing time writing in our journals and figuring out our shopping list for the people we needed gifts for. Though sadly time past as it always seem to do and we had to make our way over to the bus station. I think that we can now say that we are professionals at public transportation and excellent city navigators. Paris was a fantastic city to start our grand adventure at. I know that I will be back someday.
Until next time…
- Fall Break: Ah, Paris! (happyinthefeets.wordpress.com)