While both the journey to Versailles and Lisa tried to murder me today, I refuse to be conquered or killed. If I want to do something badly enough, I’ll make it happen. Just a shout out to my would-be murderess: Thanks for letting me call that Uber so I wouldn’t go on a tri-state (or whatever its French equivalency is) murder spree.
Like all of my days, this one started with the best of intentions. Having been put in my place the day before by the public transit system, I sat down and had a look at the map. It looked simple enough. Take line 1 to line 8 and that to RER C. There it was, black and white, pure and simple. And for a while, I was zipping through the halls like a local. Boom, boom, boom. My confidence was soaring!
But…the RER C station in Les Invalides is closed for maintenance. Too bad, so sad, chum. Guess who was ready to have a screaming fit in the bowels of hell? That’s right, this girl. At this point, Lisa makes the diplomatic move of moving us topside with some pain au chocolat and water while we waited for a sweet Frenchman to pick us up in his chariot (okay, it was a Fiat).How funny it is to communicate with someone in your meager French while they try to help you with their meager English. It’s a beautiful thing, really. He asked if we spoke French, but I told him my listening skills were better than my speaking skills. He let us listen to this really dope radio station while he zipped through the streets in no time at all (actually terrifying. I’m surprised there aren’t more car accidents). When we got to the city of Versailles, he pointed his house out to us before dropping us off at the palace. God, isn’t that a fancy sentence?
Can I ever really put Versailles into words? In my journal I have, “Wow. Just…wow,” written. I mean, that sums it up. It’s enormous, golden, and teeming with life. It was only a little after 9 and there we already hundreds upon hundreds of people from every walk of life (different cultures, ages, social statuses). We got in a line 500 deep, which I doubt is even a real exaggeration.
After finally getting through security, we were in a whole new world. On the Marble Court, I had a chance to recognize my own insignificance in comparison to the building. I wondered how my characters would have felt, and we only saw a tenth of the rooms. There’s no point in trying to describe the tour through the halls themselves. It was a unique experience that I recommend to everyone, especially walking through the Hall of Mirrors which is covered in, you guessed it, mirrors and gold.
Unfortunately, the Queen’s apartments are closed for renovation. At some point I will be back to check those out, too. We visited the grounds and I was absolutely stunned with their breadth and the obvious care put into their maintenance. Can you imagine how long it would take to mow in the 18th century? Anyway, it was wonderful to be a part of this experience.
On the way to find a proper Uber spot, we stopped into a shop and got some cheap souvenirs? Why pay 1,50 for a postcard when you get 4 for the same price? As we were headed out, I saw the stupid train station with the RER C just sitting there. We took it all the way back to the Reuilly-Diderot stop without Google Maps once. I’m so proud of me, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
We popped by the grocery store for some cheese and wine, and later I went down to the boulangerie all by myself. It was a good moment for me, because I didn’t stumble or speak English at all. When I had a question about pronunciation, I pointed and asked, “Comment dit-on?” For dinner, Lisa and I stayed in for burgers and wine, talking about all those deep things that people talk about late at night after a few glasses of pink alcohol and Lisa trying to murder me with a perfectly hidden avocado at the bottom of a grocery bag. It was a perfect day. I am grateful for today, and yesterday, and tomorrow.