It was just another day in Paris only this day I had fully recovered from any lingering jet lag and slept extremely well. So I was bright eyed, bushy tailed and ready to go. Post personal hygiene my beautiful bride Nenita and I adjourned to the dining room on the ground floor there to engage in a diverse and excellent buffet breakfast.
Our daughter Kimberly had arranged for an Uber to pick us up at 11:00 a.m.. and take us to a point near the entrance to the Palace of Versailles. It was about a 35-minute ride but as soon as we arrived it was off not to the palace, not just yet. First everyone wanted to eat, In fact we were learning that eating was one thing we really enjoyed in France so there was a tendency to overdo it, Okay so we had about five meals a day, but some of them were light — kinda.
Eating done for the time being we walked to the first entry point and were fairly quickly admitted. A little further along we entered the interior grounds of the Palace and the serious sightseeing was about to begin.
Our first impression was that the Palace of Versailles was by any measure massive and extremely ornate. It got its beginnings in the early 17th century as a hunting lodge, A few years later King Louis the XIII took control over Versailles and began expanding the Palace. Further expansion continued under King Louis the XIV. Louis the XV and Louis XVI also made enhancements and modifications.
The fate of the Palace of Versailles was sealed on June 21st 1792 when Louis the XVI was arrested and the Assemblee Nationale Constituant declared all property of the royal family was abandoned and would escheat to the people of France. No longer would the Palace of Versailles be the exclusive hunting grounds or entertainment center for the royals but rather it would be maintained for the pleasure of the people of France as well as for the millions of visitors it receives from around the world every year.
The total area of the Palace of Versailles is 3.166 square miles compared to my condo of only 1,600 square feet. It also has 700 rooms, 1,200 fireplaces and 80 staircases. This includes the King’s Chambers and the Hall of Mirrors. It is virtually impossible to experience it all in one visit, but however much you do get to see and feel it will leave you with a lifelong memory. It is by far one of the grandest examples of royal excess.
We spent about four hours wandering about the Palace and the surrounding gardens. In the end my practical side took over and I thought that what the French people should do is convert at least some of it to an Airbnb. That, of course, will never happen so if you visit plan on spending about 20 Euros or more, but people under age 18 are free. It is also best to book your visit in advance online to avoid long lines at the Palace. Just google Palace of Versailles for details.
One final note about our visit to the Palace of Versailles. One of the most impressive features are the massive and typically beautiful gardens that surround the palace. But our visit was in early Spring and the plants and flowers while still beautiful were not in their full glory. Knowing that you might want to consider your visit perhaps May through September to get the maximum visual benefit.
By the end of our visit we agreed that there was one other vastly different must see place that we could and should visit that day so off we went to the Moulin Rouge. What we found was a structure that only vaguely resembled what is depicted in the 2001 movie of the same name starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. Well there was a windmill but that is about as far as it went. We were not about to view the show with our ten-year-old granddaughter Somaya so we all headed off to our respective homes for the evening.
My wife Nenita decided she would go with her niece Liza so I got to spend that night alone and that was fine with little ol’ me. I took the Metro back to Bercy Village and then walked about ten minutes to the Kyriad Hotel and immediately got to work on some travel articles I was working on.
A little later I went down to the gym for 30 minutes on the treadmill, The next day would be the day Kimberly and Kari and Somaya all flew off to Venice, Italy as Liza and Nika Padua would get ready for their return to Singapore and Nenita and I would take a short train ride about 90 miles north to Reims, France in the center of the Champagne universe, Very pleased with that expectation I slowly consumed a glass of wine and then it was … fade to black.
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Photos by Ron Irwin
Top photo: the Palace of Versaille
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.