Versailles was a place I had high expectations for. I had heard from a co-worker that it was a "must-see", and there was a fairly large-ish section in our travel guide about it, so I figured it must be pretty fantastic. Worth a little out-of-the-way daytrip that would otherwise have been spent in the beautiful city of Paris...
Perhaps the rain had something to do with it. And the stress of knowing time was short because we had to be back in Paris to catch our first night train. Anyhow, our spirits were considerably dampened upon arriving in the town under a gray, drizzling sky, carrying our heavy packs and not totally sure if we would be able to store them somewhere.
It didn't take us too long to find the palace...I mean, it is a fairly obvious building, and the hordes of tourists that came with us off the train were all migrating in the same direction. This equaled horrendous lines to the ticket booth.
|Not impressed with the rain, long lines, and non-budget-friendly prices.|
When faced with the prices, we were horrified. 15 EURO to see the Chateau alone, not including the gardens or anything else...our wallets wept bitterly. After much discussion we decided that we didn't really have time to see anything else anyway, so we bought the single tickets and then got in line to actually enter the building..
I don't remember exactly how long it took us to to actually get inside, but I'm fairly certain it was hours in the plural. Luckily, they did have a bag check, so our huge packs were not an issue.
|Why is gold in Europe so yellow??|
This is the palace where Marie Antoinette threw wonderful parties, and allegedly gave the flippant command, "Let them eat cake."
|Key holes large enough to peek into :)|
|A photo with no people in it!|
|Longing for a breath of fresh air...|
|The Hall of Mirrors|
This is not to say that Versailles is not a really amazing place. I think I would really enjoy walking around during the off-season, and I think I would especially like the quaint little buildings that make up Marie Antoinette's estate. But I simply have no patience for paying through the nose to be squashed and pressed and pushed through hundreds of people that are taller than me, so that I can catch a few glimpses of fancy furniture and portraits of people in white wigs.
|We snapped a photo through the fence, so we could at least sort of look at the gardens...|
We wandered for another hour or so, grumpier by the minute, until stumbling across a Starbucks five minutes from the Chateau.
We settled down after we did a few crosswords and mutually agreed that Versailles was a let-down. .
And then we grabbed our bags and caught our train by the very. last. second.
|Audio guides: a shining light in a dark place|
But the fact of the matter is that I am still me, and I still get frustrated, tired, and disappointed, and that is going to happen whether I am working at home, or visiting Versailles in France. Sometimes things just don't work out how you want them to...and that's ok.
We were able to laugh about it later, albeit a little grimly. And on our bad days (there was really only 1 other one I can think of) we just dubbed them, "A Versailles Day", and moved on.
For more information on Versailles: