We woke up in Paris, excited for a full day. Our plan was to visit Versailles, the ornate Seventeenth Century palace of the French monarchy.
We started by going to a nearby bistro to get some eggs, croissants, and much needed coffee. As we waited for our food, disaster struck! Lydie went to the bathroom to wash her hands, and when trying to prevent a heavy metal door from swinging shut, her fingertip was smashed. Her fingertip immediately began swelling and turning purple. It was extremely painful, but Julie found a small splint at a nearby pharmacy. (For those of you who don’t know, Lydie broke the end of her finger in a similar fashion a year or so ago. There was nothing really for the doctors to do but put on a splint, so we figured we’d keep an eye on her finger but not go to “le emergency room” just yet. #BadParents) As we headed toward the subway to begin our trip to Versailles, Lydie rallied like a champ.
Versailles is well outside of Paris, but it only takes a short train ride to get there.
Once we reached Versailles, we began to get excited, particularly since we started seeing more flowers in bloom. Spring was just around the corner!
As we approached, we were seriously impressed by the scale and grandeur, which I suppose was part of the point when the French kings made it. The Palace is absolutely massive, containing 700 rooms, 2000 windows, and 1,250 fireplaces. I think all the grandiosity made Cassie a little crazy…
Seriously not sure what’s going on here…
We bought our tickets and headed into the palace grounds. Um, Cassie?
Inside, we started our audio tours. Each of the rooms in the palace had a Roman god as a theme. There was a Mars room, an Apollo room, and so on. Here’s the roof of the Diana room.
Her Greek friends call her Artemis, and she’s one of our favorites. More on her in a bit. We enjoyed wandering through the palace and eventually made our way to the famed Hall of Mirrors.
Julie was excited that Lydie and Cassie were in the same place that Julie had been with her good friend Leann twenty years ago.
Something was still making Cassie a little wacko, though she got some help from her sister who did not tell us that we were being photobombed.
Hey look! It’s Artemis (Diana to the Romans). This sculpture was made around 100 AD based on an older Greek sculpture from 300 BC. It’s been at Versailles for so long though, that it’s called “Diana of Versailles.”
Our army marches on its stomach, and it was time to get something to eat. We had lunch at the café that was in the palace, and the kids loved the mango cheesecake.
Fully refueled, we set off to tackle the palace grounds, which are likewise enormous.
We strolled past sculptures that were still wrapped in cloth to protect them during the winter. We were on our way towards the Grand Canal, where we rented a small row boat. What could possibly go wrong?
Naturally, both twins had to take a turn rowing.
We were running late in returning the boat so we decided to double our horse power!
Shockingly, we made it back to land with no major mishaps. The extended estate is enormous, so we decided to rent bicycles to explore faster.
Biking on the big paths was fun, but we liked biking on the smaller trails even more.
Lots and lots of wildflowers were in bloom. Chances are good that they really weren’t wildflowers. More like “lots of flowers planted by French peasants.” Still, they were pretty. Thanks, peasants!
Everyone had a great time biking, even the photographer, though she’s not pictured. We took some breaks here and there to enjoy the expansive views down long avenues of trees.
We decided to bike over to Marie Antoinette’s estate. Lydie and Cassie had a great time running around.
It was getting late, so we left to return the bicycles.
Bikes returned, we started walking back toward the Palace, where we could exit the grounds. The sun was going down, and the light was beautiful. And there were four knee high posts.
#stoopidamericans. Lydie’s finger was still really bothering her, so she used the power of decoration to make it feel better.
In the dying light, the fountains were particularly stunning, even though some people kept getting in our picture.
We had all had an amazing day at Versailles. Even Julie was happy enough to actually get in a picture!
But were we done with the day? Not a chance. Check out Part 2 in our next post.