Thursday, October 8, 2009

biking versailles

Me, biking on the grounds of the Versailles

On the very last nice weekend of the year - I'm not kidding you, and this was only two weekends ago - I was lucky enough to go on a bike tour of Versailles. The sun was shining, there was a perfect breeze- perfect weather for being outdoors!

We started out at the bike rental office in Paris. This means we had to transport our bikes to Versailles. You wouldn't think that its that complicated, but combined with 24 girls, it can get complicated for the reasons below:  

1) We biked through Paris to get to the train station- this means we took up whatever street we happened to be on at the moment (for safety reasons) so that cars could not get by us. I bet the cars hated us. 
2) Once we got to the train station, we had to carry our bikes down the stairs. The wonderful rail transportation system in Paris, granted convenient, is not very consistently handicapped-friendly. Thank goodness for our tour guide who could carry 2 bikes up the stairs at once (impressive, no?) for the weak that could not succeed (I can proudly boast that I was able to do this myself). But then again, its her job. 

On the platform waiting for the train

3) Getting our bikes onto the train. We had to strategically split up into groups of 4, positioned in front of each door. Once the train arrived, we had to place our bikes in the compartment. 
Sounds easy right? Nope. Mine almost didn't make it. Thanks to a marathon going on in Versailles that day, and Sundays being extremely popular days for going outside the city, some compartments are full and do not even have space for you to fit your bike. Like me. Luckily, at the last minute I was saved by our director's husband, who swiftly plopped my bike into the next car over. Thank god for men. 

Once we got there, we biked to the local market, held every day of the week. We put together a picnic lunch for ourselves, but I would have been happy to just look. 


The market was HUGE- it took up 4 street corners, and extended to the indoors (for the winter). I wonder if Versailles has a supermarket, they're obviously not needed.

We picknicked by the huge pond behind Versailles. 

My lunch: ham, cheese, baguette, and raspberries. YUM

the pond- its really long and extends all the way up to the palace fountains. It was such a nice weekend, everyone was out with their families. I so wanted to rent a boat, it looked so fun!

Of course I had to take Bartholomew along. He was long overdue for an adventure. He rode happily with the baguette while I did all the hard labor. 

And then, of course, there was the actual palace of Versailles. After biking around the grounds all day, I have to say that I wished we'd done the tour earlier. We were all tired out from all the biking and weren't able to appreciate the palace in its entirety. But it was still extremely impressive. 

Bartholomew in front of Versailles. 

In the hall of mirrors. 
Like my ultra stylish lanyard/audioguide?

Also: A little portion of one of my favorite painting of all time. The glare was horrible, so I only took this one part of it, but the actual painting is HUGE. It takes up an entire wall of a huge room

Napoleon Crowning Josephine, by Jacques-Louis David

It was the perfect weekend. Since then, we've had cloudy, chilly, rainy, overcast, and altogether unreliable days. Autumn. So beautiful that autumn in southern California (nonexistent) will never be the same again. But i'll post about that another day. 


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