After recovering from the terribly cold night in Paris (I literally almost froze in Trocadero although it’s still warm enough for the Russian wannabe), on Sunday (Feb 12th) we took the RER train to Versailles. We planned to go earlier that day, but we woke up a bit late (well it’s a holiday so what’s the rush?) so we arrived at around 11.30.
Apparently, all of the fully-loaded train passengers were going to the same point of interest. It was Sunday and the peak hour for Versailles, so the gates on the station were opened, we didn’t need to insert our t-tickets. A five-minutes walk along with hundreds of tourists brought us to the gate of the palace.
Finally, Versailles! Riyoko Ikeda’s Rose of Versailles was one of my favourite manga in my childhood (FYI, Indonesians of my age and younger are practically “colonised” by Japanese comics), and it’s from the series that I first read about the French revolution. I didn’t get the chance to visit the grandeur palace in 1998, it was too far and too expensive.. so now that the chance came to me, I felt really happy although the Petit Trianon and Marie Antoinette’s estate were closed. 😀
The palace is really pompous and showing off France’s wealth, I could only imagine how the French people felt upon seeing it then finally drew the end of the Ancien Regime.
We spent almost three hours in the palace, then had late lunch in a small restaurant across the train station. I spent an extra half an hour to queue at the toilet in the building, which were only located inside McD. I felt like want to scream “ladies need more toilets!” while standing there in the queue.. 🙁
Anyway, we went back to the station and weirdly our t-tickets couldn’t get us pass the gate to the platforms. Lots of other people were having the same problems. So we had to endure another queue, this time for the information counter. The officer told us the t-tickets could “Only work inside Paris,” she said matter-of-factly. Only then I realised that Versailles is outside Paris, not part of the city. *grin*
It turned out that we needed to buy a different ticket to go from Paris to Versailles and back, but we hadn’t known before. We were just a bit lucky to arrive at the station in peak hours so all the gates were opened, otherwise we’d be stuck and kinda humiliated, hahaha. After we bought a pair of Versailles-Paris tickets, we went pass the gates to the platforms.
Originally, I wanted to go to Pere Lachaise cemetery, but it was already almost 4 pm, while the cemetery’s only open until 5 pm. So we decided to go to Sacre Coeur Basilica. Again, a place I hadn’t visited before!
We wanted to end our last night in Paris with a fancy dinner. We tried to go to two French restaurants which were recommended by TripAdvisor, Marguerite and Chez Toinette (we coincidentally passed across the pricey Moulin Rouge and took a photo-op). But our “research” was not enough — we didn’t check the websites so we didn’t know both were closed on Sunday. Arrgghhhh. Disappointed and starving, we went back to Gare du Nord by Metro and finally randomly chose one restaurant to dine.
The restaurant was simply named Cafe du Nord, warm and pretty lively judged by seeing the crowd inside — not too full, but also not too empty. It wasn’t as fancy as we aspired but hey, unplanned things are good to make life more interesting, right?
My appetiser, shrimp cocktail, was good, Yoga’s ham and salsa was also nice. Then came our main course: a too-oily-and-salty duck thigh for me and an okay-beefsteak for him. Both are accompanied by what seemed like half a kilogram of potato which filled our stomachs way too much since our Asian capacity was actually limited but we didn’t want to waste any food. Yoga then fulfilled his curiosity on escargot — I tried one and the first I tasted in Jakarta’s Potato Head had been much better. We were so full that we had to struggle to finish the creme brulee and chocolate ice cream. The red wine was great, by the way.
Then we fought hard with our stomachs to drag our asses back to the hotel…
(to be continued)