We had grand plans for today. It was Friday and the Louvre was open late. Our original plan was to spend the morning and early afternoon at Versailles, and then to return to spend the late afternoon and evening at the Louvre.
However, we all slept like logs. The first thing I remember was being asleep in bed when Alison nudges me and says that it's almost 11:30! I doubt that I have ever slept that long. We didn't get to bed until almost 2:00 AM, but I still didn't think that we would sleep quite that long!
A bit of a spoiler. Even after the late start, today was still probably the favorite day of our trip for a few of us. Versailles was amazing!
We started the morning with a walk to the Bercy Metro Station a few blocks from our hotel. We jumped on the metro, which immediately crossed the beautiful Seine.
As was often the case, we bought some pastries for breakfast.
We took the metro to the Gare Montparnasse, then we took the commuter rail to Versailles.
The train station put us about a mile from the palace, so we walked through Versailles to the palace.
Our first view of the palace. Lyla was a little grumpy today, she's hiding behind Al.
We made it through security, but then the line to get into the palace ran all the way across the square.
Waiting, waiting, waiting. It was a beautiful day. Maybe even a little on the hot side.
Lyla was being really whiny, so I took her out of the line to look at the gold fence. She's admiring the gold while picking her ear.
I had to be sneaky to get her in a picture.
At the gates of Versailles. Another little kid came and tried to talk to Lyla (in French), which put her in a better mood.
We walked through a small part of the huge palace. It was quite impressive. This is the chapel.
One of the corridors in the palace.
The view out the window was so fantastic, I wanted to get a picture of us with it. That didn't work out so well.
This is the view of the gardens that I was trying to capture in the picture above.
Everybody needed to rest their legs. Lyla has the Russian squat perfected.
There was some huge paintings in the palace.
Finally we made it to the hall of mirrors.
This picture had potential, but I wasn't careful enough to avoid the pane separator.
The hall of mirrors.
Looking out towards the garden.
Sitting on the steps of the palace.
After touring a bit of the palace we made our way out to the beautiful Gardens of Versailles.
Looking back towards the palace.
The gardens were huge and we could have spent a few days just exploring, wandering and enjoying the gardens.
We tried to take the secret trails.
Our first stop was at the Bassin du Miroir. A couple of days a week the fountains play along to music (think a small scale of the Bellagio fountains). Usually the gardens are free to visit, but on the days with the fountain shows there is a fee to enter. We enjoyed watching the fountains playing to classical music.
Possibly Lyla's favorite thing to do during this trip was to play in any sand or dirt that we found. While we watched the fountain show she was busy building ant houses in the dirt. When we were finally ready to move on, she wanted to stay and build her ant houses.
Looking back towards the main palace.
There was a great big fountain in the Grand Canal. We got ice cream right on the bank of the Grand Canal as well.
Our next adventure was taking a rowboat out on the Grand Canal. Everybody wanted a chance to row us around.
Me and Ada.
Alison turn to row.
Making our way back to the palace.
Lyla was not ready to leave. To appease her we all sat and rested in the shade while she built one last ant house. The ants at Versailles were well taken care of.
Looking back towards the hall of mirrors.
I think Lyla took this photo for us.
Looking down the Grandes Euax de Versailles. You can see the big fountain and Grand Canal at the top of the photo.
Now, we had had such a lovely time at Versailles today that I had forgotten about our original plan to visit the Louvre today as well. Little did we know that this would come back to haunt us. On the bright side, we had a fantastic dinner.
We found a little restaurant just outside the palace. We took a table on the sidewalk and ordered our meal.
Ada and Kate had pasta. It was really good, but I have never seen a meal so greasy. It was like they had poured a chalice of oil over the top.
Alison went with pizza.
I got salad and a pasta dish as well.
After dinner it was time to catch our train back to Paris.
From the train to the metro.
And from the metro to the hotel.
Today's adventure was so much fun. Tomorrow we take our leave of Paris for another day to visit London!