I spent a night in Versailles where I checked out Palace of Versailles and had a great, 3.5 hour dinner by the water and then a Paris by Night car tour. Had some great convos with the former President of Vivendi International – Games, whose house and family I stayed with, which I will summarize on my main blog.
The Versailles hood is upscale and a 10 minute drive / 15 minute train from Paris. A lot of wealthy families seem to settle slightly outside Paris to avoid the hustle bustle and then make the easy commute.
The Palace of Versailles is nice but frankly was a bit of a letdown. Maybe this was because some parts were under construction. Maybe because I had to pay 10 euros to get in because I look old and couldn’t get in as an under-18 year old person (I want to support cultural instituations anyway). The ornate architecture and gold was nice but inferior to Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum. The park was beuatiful — set up like Washington Monument in D.C. — but still only about equal to other spectacular European parks. I’m sure if I visited Palace of Versailles by itself I would have been more impressed, but since I’ve seen now virtually every major site in Western Europe, it pales in comparison.
We had a great dinner by the water in Paris. Politics, business, you name it. For the second night in the row the oven broke — this time in a restaurant. Come on, can’t the French get the cooking right?! We wrapped up at 11:30 PM and then did a 45 minute Paris by Night tour, which was great, but getting home at 1:30 AM killed me (as did getting up early to go for a run and then catch my train).
Summation: Versailles can make a good day trip from Paris, but spend as much time outside lying in the park as you do inside. And try to avoid long queues!
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