The day before we left France was another cool and slightly gloomy day. It had poured and sprinkled off and on every day in Paris except for the first extremely hot day that we arrived. It didn’t really rain as we headed for the metro and onto a train to Versailles, however, it rained for a moment while we took shelter inside of a Parisian McDonalds.
After eating our beignets and macaroons from the French-ified restaurant, we walked down several blocks to visit Château de Versailles. It was slightly strange walking off the path of the suburban surroundings and onto the property, which once housed monarchs.
There the Palace of Versailles stood as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the “Ancien Régime” in the middle of a country village, and it continued to sit beautifully dripping gold in the wealthy modern suburbs of Paris.
We arrived at the golden gates that surrounded the massive palace, and after reading the signs at the front we found that the inside of the palace was closed.
One of my fellow travelers turned around after reading the sign. “Who closes museums on a Monday?”
The gardens of Versailles around back, however, remained open. There we were transfixed by the massive French Garden design with well-manicured greenery and beautiful statues carefully arranged around the grounds. There were colorful flowers, large water fountains and a better view of the château’s façade around back.
We continued on and were greeted by stadium-like concrete steps that led down to another fountain, which sat in front of a garden maze. We sat down at the top of the steps for a quick rest after exploring the massive gardens on the upper level. It was then that the sun began to gently pierce through the gray clouds. We imagined all the lavish parties and guests that would have passed through the gardens and marveled at the gorgeous view of everything.
I eventually made my way down the steps following a couple of the other travelers in the group into the maze. I walked slowly through the tall hedges viewing more statues and small tables with seats strategically scattered throughout the maze. When we exited the maze we saw another set of steps that led to another small body of water. It was there that we saw the view that overlooked the surrounding city.
Just wading through the beautiful gardens was a great experience, and I can only imagine what was inside of the Palace of Versailles.