Killing two birds with one stone (#12 and #18 on my list of things to do in Paris), I’m writing this at the end of our picnic day at Versailles. By the time it reaches you, the lovely reader, it will likely be a few days later as I don’t want to ruin an amazingly fantastic, unreal day with hotel internet frustrations! 🙂
Every year that this blissful trip happens, our wonderful course coordinator (the same lovely dude that arranged for us to see the opera) also tries to do a pique-nique at Versailles. The lucky people that we are, we had our picque-nique – and our 24C weather too!! Now, as an island girl, you can only imagine how happy I was!! Of course, everyone else wanted to sit in the shade, so we did for the picnic. After that, it was almost three full hours in the glorious, hot sunshine pour moi! I walked around the entire Grand Canal (the giant water cross thing) in something ridiculous like under an hour and a quarter, as we were meant to meet at 4:30 and I didn’t have a watch/device with the correct time! (Duh…)
Between everyone taking varied washroom breaks (the washrooms were at least a 5 minute walk and 10 minute wait from where we ate) I got separated from most of the people I tend to walk around with, so I went on my own. At first a little disappointed, this was the best thing that could have happened. As a nature-lover, I honestly just felt so over-the-moon to be surrounded by so much greenery and water. It sounds perhaps a tad silly, but the water in particular made me quite emotional at certain moments as the colour of the Versailles “canal”, fountains, etc. closely resembled those of my island’s oceans which I miss dearly.
All in all, everything was just phenomenal – there really isn’t any word or combination of words to fully describe the experience. Perhaps the only two upsets of the day were that my silly point and shoot camera died about half an hour before the fountain “finale”/end of our day, and the fact that the place is just so blasted big that it was physically impossible to see everything in a day!! I think I probably did a mere quarter or third of the acreage and we were there from about 12:30 to 5:30! If you’re ever thinking of going, you can rent boats, bikes or golf carts, and there’s a little “mini train” tour… I felt like keeping it somewhat fit/healthy to work off all the wine, cheese and desserts (yum!) and just to really get in touch with the beauty of it all. Here’s an absurd number of photos of the beauty that is Versailles…I really couldn’t narrow it down any more!
For anyone that doesn’t know me well enough, let me introduce you to another thing I love: animals! Granted, I don’t like most birds to come near me and I will have a spazz moment, but I love to see them. Added bonus: two hours before seeing these swans, I’d said to the group, “I really hope I see a swan today!” (How random…but hey, they must have heard me!)
As you can see from the ridiculous abundance of photographs within this post, I do not lie about the scenic beauty. (Let’s also just highlight the fact that I am certainly meeting #13 on my list to take lots of photographs!)
I could honestly go on forever about this day, so I think I’ll force myself to stop here. If I had any remote doubt about it at all, today has made it clear that France has stolen my heart. This is definitely within my top three experiences so far, and I’m pretty sure it will remain there no matter what comes in the next week.
À tout à l’heure!