Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Sean and I got up early and fled to Versailles today. It was crowded, but not so bad as it could have been, I wouldn't want to be there in summer when I am sure that gigantic parking lot is full and the metro must be like a sardine can; it was bad enough in the 80 degree whether, with at least three school groups flooding the Chateau and gardens. Suffice to say we had fun, the garden was simply breathtaking in its scope and beauty.
Sculptures, fountains (I wish that they had been functioning, they just aren't as pretty when switched off), hedges of every shape and size, avenues lined with trees that arched overhead, in the distance you could see forests where it would be easy to imagine the King taking his retinue hunting. All very magical.

Some distracting features were that: (as mentioned above) the fountains were off, some sculptures were hidden behind metal screens as they were under restoration (a couple were even missing, obviously needing some very desperate care), there was lots of construction, scaffolds, and of course, our luck, it was lawn mowing day. All seemed abuzz with restorations, and as I said, though it was distracting, it wasn't horrible and needed. Historical sites need to be maintained after all.
My favorite part of the day, besides just strolling the gardens, was us taking a rowboat and navigating the cross shaped canal at the far end from the Chateau itself. We had lots of fun trying to row straight and through thick cinquefoil that bogged the whole canal. It was a blessing and a curse that it was so windy, blessing because it was so hot, and curse cause it always seemed to be blowing out poor boat the opposite direction to which we wanted to go. Anyway we had fun, saw ducks and people watched, and even saw some HUGE gray carp. I even managed to catch a picture of one, which wasn't easy cause they were skittish, mostly we just saw the water splashing after they jumped for bugs on the waters surface.
We headed back for Paris after this, feeling utterly exhausted for some reason, and didn't realize till we stopped for something to drink, at a cafe near the Eiffel Tower, that it was because we were both badly sunburned. I have to say despite being in the sun all day it never once crossed my mind that we should have sunscreen. I think I am of the opinion that it is still spring. Today in France however I will say it was definitely summer. I do hope however that the forecast is right and it will be cloudy and possibly rain of Friday so my poor sunburned shoulders get a break. Anyway we asked at the Pharmacie (the pharmacy stores are everywhere, distinguished by green and blue florescent crosses, often there are two on the same street. They sell creams and such and behind the counter have all manner of powerful stuff; what in America is often over-the-counter) and they recommended a burn cream and sunscreen. The cream is wonderful and I will surely be glad of the sunscreen tomorrow, though I intend to stay inside as much as possible.

Ok its after midnight again, better go to sleep.


julie said...

Excellent! Looks like so much fun!!!

julie said...

And Happy Birthday this past Monday! I am soooo slooowww!
Jules aka Jilwyn