A Broad Abroad – Versailles!
Our VERY favorite day of our entire trip (I’m talking all 5 weeks, 4 countries, uncountable amounts of towns/cities/villages) was the day we took a bike tour of Versailles. You know Versailles, it’s known as the home of this lady….
Or more recently, this lady…
If you are going to Paris, DO THIS, I’m not joking, it was awesome. I booked the tour through Fat Tire Bike Tours for husbands birthday (thanks to the recommendation of the lovely/stylish/not to mention BA Ashley from Love Letters – thanks friend!), and it may be the best gift I’ve ever given him.
Folks, this was not your average tour (in my mind, tour=snooze fest). We met in Paris with a group of about 20 and took the train to Versailles, where we were given bikes (and ponchos – you know, due to the pouring rain). First we road to an outdoor market where our guide – a twenty something New Zealander named Costy who was hilarious and awesome – told us where to get the best goods – fresh meats, baguettes, cheeses, wine, fruit – I’m literally drooling just thinking about it. After picking up a load of goodies for a lunchtime picnic, and eating some freshly made crepes with a side of fresh squeezed orange juice, we road to the grounds of the palace of Versailles. We stopped along at different spots for Costy to fill us in on some of the more interesting facts about Versailles….among my favorites (and forgive me if I’m remembering incorrectly, I’m definitely not a historian):
*In early Paris, there was no sewer system, people just tossed their waste right out their windows (I’m talking poopies here, people), and then when it rained the waste washed straight down the street into the river Seine, which consequently was the water source for the people whose poopies were washing into it. YIKES. All this resulted in a very stinky Paris, and due to said stink (among other reasons) the royals decided to build a palace at Versailles to live in.
*It is believed that Marie Antoinette and her husband King Louis XVI didn’t consumate their marriage for 7 years. WOWZA.
*One of the Louis (I think either XIV or XV, can’t really remember) commissioned a lake to be built behind the palace. THEN he commissioned the people to build him naval ships to scale a tenth of the size of regular naval battle ships, and then held mock naval battles on the lake for his entertainment. During the winter, the lake would freeze over and they would do dog sled races. This guy sounds like someone I would want to be friends with.
Which brings us to our picnic lunch. Around noon we stopped at the end of the above-mentioned lake and had our picnic. Prosciutto, fresh bread, brie, red wine….it really doesn’t get much better.
After lunch we rode to the palace, and checked out the many ornate and gorgeous rooms. There’s not much I like more than an old portrait, wallpaper, and gold gilded awesomeness, so I was a pretty happy camper.
Please, if you go to Paris, don’t not do this. It was worth every penny!