Sunday, June 12, 2016


We have been staying at a great Airbnb outside of Paris, in Versailles. Our great little apartment was only a stone's throw from the chateau and there was no way we could be so close and not spend a day poking around our old stomping grounds (Eric and I did not enamour ourselves with the French when we used to play frisbee golf in the Versailles gardens back when we lived here...remind me to tell you about the time we got trapped behind a *very* high gate and had to risk our lives to get out). 

Walking on our private road to the Chateau

Very appropriately, we ran into a strike parade on our way to the castle entrance. Appropriate for two reasons: once again, France is in the news for disruptive strikes...and also, we saw A LOT of strikes in our year here. Like, a lot. 

Glad the kids got to see this side of France, too...:)

We think it was hospital workers...?

After hearing horror stories of crazy line ups to get into Versailles, we were pretty happy to just walk up to the gates and get in really easily. Unlike back in the day, everything now has security, which is where all the hold ups seem to be (same story at the Eiffel Tower).

The crowds weren't too bad at all.

Awesome, if you are into gold leaf...

Sun King
The Chateau is so large and there is so much to look at...but the part I find so interesting is trying to imagine what life was really like there for the royal family. Marie Antoinette had such a sad time, really. When she came to France to marry into the royal family, she was barely older than Molly is now.

Marie Antoinette with her two oldest children...only one of her four kids reached adulthood!
Please enjoy our series I have entitled: Children Enact Marble Sculptures

Throw some tights and a curly wig on Lukey and it would be perfect

Instead of a sword, she has an audioguide...

I don't even know what that is supposed to be behind that guy's head...
Molly created her own photographic series of grumpy/chubby angels. Here are the highlights:

These angels are REALLY grumpy...maybe they are being chased by the donkey?
It's amazing how quickly you become immune to the beauty of the castle...but wow, are there ever some spectacular vistas.

Did the royals get sick of these views, I wonder? I imagine that for some, those extensive gardens could feel less spectacular and more like a prison.

They had a few "art" installations hidden in and amongst the old and traditional elements of the building. Some were jarring, but it is an interesting idea to change the perspective.

The Hall of Mirrors!

I wouldn't mind a window like this at home...

It was nice to get back outside after all the ornate brocade and gold.

We contemplated renting a golf cart to get around (yes, they do actually have those available!) but it was 35 Euros for half an hour (royal prices, I think!). At those prices, we can walk.

We found a nice spot by the Grand Canal to have some sandwiches. And lucky for us, we got to have a meal and a show...behind us you can see the boats you can rent to take out on the water. Most people have a decent proficiency. Lucky for us, not EVERYONE.

The couple in the middle of the picture below (orange shirt) were the most inept and uncoordinated people I have ever seen afloat. What possessed these people to rent a boat, I cannot fathom. They got nowhere in about 15 minutes. But they did argue quite a lot. And they switched positions (which helped not at all).

It was hilarious.

We wrapped up lunch and headed towards my favourite part of the grounds, the area where Marie Antoinette built her English farm village (and the almost as charming Trianons).

Molly decided to pose by the water...

Molly took over the camera for a while. She snapped this shot of the awesome corner of the billiards table. You take the balls you sink out of the top of the little fellow's head. Good fun.

Lukey was a good sport, but he got a little tired of fancy furniture...

Photographer's self portrait...

We all decided we preferred the vibe of the smaller palaces over the pomp of the big one. I guess that shows we are simple people at heart...all we need is minimal luxury. Maybe that means our personal taste would have allowed us to keep our heads...?

We finally made our way to Marie Antoinette's hamlet. So lovely and way more my style.

They were actually making these hay bales when we were walking by...

My favourite view!

Molly's favourite part was all the animals at Marie Antoinette's farm. She was so charmed by the donkey that she didn't even mind when he shoved his nose into a big pile of manure before we went over to say hi!

We walked home from the castle and stopped on our way to grab more pizza (I don't want to talk about it, but somehow we had three nights of pizza in a row...IN FRANCE! Curses on picky eaters!). We headed home, cooked our pizza and then headed out in the car to show the kids the gym Eric played in when he played for Poissy Chatou. 

We even managed to get in. 

We left there and drove to Saint-Germain-en-Laye to see our old apartment. And, since the first France game was on t.v., we stopped by to see the end of the game outside of a pub. We saw France's last minute goal and the kids got to see how keen Europeans are on their soccer. The streets erupted.

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