Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Disneyland and the Palace of Versaille

After getting home at 1am with pieces of his foot missing, you would think Courtney would want a day off the next day. Not so – damned if he was missing Disneyland. We already had tickets, and we had been looking forward to this day for an age, so we jumped (OK, hobbled) onto the train and headed on our way.

Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. Even though Euro Disney is smaller than it’s American counterpart it was well worth it. We stumbled upon the opening of Thunder Mountain, a wild west/gold digging type roller coaster and got on with no queue. We saw an acrobatic show based on Tarzan and Jane, we saw a glass blower making crystal Donald Ducks out of nothing. We went on Space Mountain three times once we figured out how to use FastPass, a system that lets you reserve a queue place and come back. And we saw the evening parade that I’ve heard stories of since I was little.

We stayed until the very last minute they would allow us, jumping on the Teacups just because it was the closest ride at closing time and we wanted to squeeze one more in. We caught the train half way home and then found out the trains home had stopped for the night (it was 10pm) but catching our second taxi in 2 days didn’t bother us – we spent the day at Disneyland!

If Disneyland is heaven for kids, Versaille is some sort of equivalent. The day after Disney, we rode the 20 minutes or so to the town of Versaille to see the palace of Marie Antoinette. I have never seen anything so opulent. The palace is gilded, even the gates have gold on them. Access is only to a small percentage of the massive building yet the rooms of velvet walls, renaissance-painted ceilings and floor to ceiling windows roll on and on and on.

The view is a whole other story. Walking around the palace, standing in the King and Queens bedrooms and staring out across acres and acres of landscaped gardens, you see how you could get used to having the curtains opened for you each morning and thinking ‘This is mine’. The gardens are no less stunning up close and you could spend literally days exploring them. It’s a 25 minute walk from the main palace to the Grand Trianon – the King and Queens ‘recreational residence’ and the Petite Trianon – Marie Antoinette’s personal apartments, complete with it’s own set of landscaped gardens. We cheated a little bit and got a mini train back to the main Palace before the ride home.

On the one hand I wished I had gone straight back into Paris after that first day, to try and see another area and get a feel for the city. On the other, it was nice to step away from the city, where the crowds are just as thick but you feel like you’ve got time to take it in.

Penelope_nz's Paris, France photoset Penelope_nz's Paris, France photoset