Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

Louie louie, Oh baby I gotta go. Louie louie, Oh baby I gotta go.

Last night I caught up with Nellie, MacKenzie and Luke who were the Americans I met on the tours in Munich and had dinner and beers with.  They had been as busy in Paris as I have been but at 10:30pm last night we caught up for what was an uber-late dinner (Maybe even so late by the time we started eating that it is an early breakfast or new meal entirely).  It was good to see the guys again as although we are quite different they are fun to hang out with.  We ended up also being joined by Nhi, a californian staying in their hotel who was also travelling alone and the more the merrier.

We thought about going to see the Eiffel Tower at night but they have closed off most of the parks around it as they are setting up for Bastille Day so instead we headed up to Sacre Couer.  The church when all lit up was even more amazing than in the day time.  The view over Paris probably wasn’t as nice as it was at dusk but it was well worth the trek up that hill once again.  We ended up finding a food place just around the corner which was like a tent restaurant which although touristy had pretty good food and wine.

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We chatted away the night and eventually strolled back at 1:30am.  We even touched on the religion topic at points which wasn’t as much of an explosive topic as I thought it could’ve been (although I wasn’t as forthright and blunt as I can be…I was being polite Simon :P).  The problem with the walk home was that firstly it was pouring with rain and on cobblestones we kept slipping over besides just getting drenched and secondly there were a variety of sleazy drunk french men on the streets. As we had more girls than guys in the group that seemed to be an invitation for them to approach the girls and it wasn’t a “pick up line” kind of approach…more the grab the skirt kind of approach which lead to Luke and I having to act as “rape bouncers”.  Gently balancing between getting ourselves between the guys and the girls, pushing them out of the way and stopping them touching the girls and making sure to do it with a smile and a joke so that we didn’t start something more serious.  We were okay in the end…but it would’ve been a lot easier if I knew French.  Nobody had any idea what these guys were saying!

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Anyway, although I had a somewhat late night last night I was up early today and off to Versailles.  For those that don’t know Versailles is the place of one of the old French palaces and it is probably one of the most ornate palaces in the world.  For me it was also the place where the Treaty of Versailles was signed (For me it was more amazing being in the Hall of Mirrors for this reason than the actual room itself).  Getting there by train was cheap and easy enough but one thing I didn’t think about was the lines.  OH MY GOD THE LINES!  When you first walk in there is about an hours wait in line to buy a ticket, then a 30 minute wait to get in to the palace and then a 20 minute wait for an audio.  Basically there was just way too many people.  I felt the whole time I was there that I was exiting the MCG after a capacity crowd and I was contemplating killing the people near me just to get some personal space.

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Once I got in to the palace though I took the audio guide through the State Apartments, Hall of Mirrors, art gallery, the other apartments and the museum section.  I can see what all the fuss about the beauty of the interiors is about as they truly were lovely but it was just too crowded for me to enjoy it properly.  When I compare it to the Summer Palace in Vienna it was MUCH MUCH MUCH more enjoyable to see and I was left with the opinion that it was a much better palace. You never know, maybe if I had a private view of the palace at Versailles I would think differently.

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The Hall of Battles was particularly interesting as the massive artworks on the wall that traced the glory of France in battles through its history until 1830 was juxtaposed with more recent, 20th/21st Century famous photographs of war such as the Iraqi on a leash from Gitmo and the march of De Gaulle when Paris was liberated.  It really gave an interesting contrast and the fact the audio guide went to the effort of telling you the story behind a number of the battles was interesting for me.

Another point of note that came up often was the strong connection between France and the United States of America.  I knew that the french to a large extent fundraised the War of Independence and saw a few statues of Washing and Jefferson around Paris but the historical ties are very strong between the two countries.  The War of Independence was even depicted as part of the Hall of Battles.  It really makes the whole cowardly French, “Freedom Fries”, John Kerry is “basically French” stuff a little bit more interesting I think.

So that was my day. I am now really exhausted and after having a morning in Paris tomorrow I then head back to London where I make camp for a couple of days, do a few more tourist things (The Eye and the Ashes at Lords top of the list) before I head home.  With my energy levels at the moment…my bed at home is sounding brilliant to me!

July 13, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. OH MY GOD! definitely one of the most memorable things i did while staying in PARIS was go to the Palais de Versailles!!! wow omg i can’t believe i finally know someone else who has seen it! i fell totally in love with the Hall of Mirrors (all those chandeliers and my love of bling!) and hall of battles was great because i had my friend marcus, HISTORY expert, just walking along and telling me much more than my audio guide did! it was incredible! did you see the garden? did you see the petite trianon? if not then you HAAAAAAAAAVE to go back. xx love it!

    and those sleazy french guys are the reason i will NOT be wearing a skirt next time (unlike last time where i wore shortish skirt nearly every day due to the 40 degree weather!)

    OMG sooooooo glad u enjoyed. will stop this insane carry on now!

    Comment by bethy | July 16, 2009 | Reply


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