jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 40 [10 Mar 09] – Paris

Posted in Paris by jn82 on March 12, 2009

Got on the 10.20am TGV from Tours to Paris this morning, and got into Paris around 11.40am. On the train, I had a “brillant” idea to head straight to Versailles from Paris Montparnasse, the train station we would pull into, after dumping our bags at the luggage lockers there. The reason for doing so is that Versailles would be at least a half-day trip out of the city, so we might as well do it right after we get to the station and save the commute to any one of the train stations which have trains to Versailles, then have the next two whole days to explore the city. What seemed in theory to be a good idea was actually a pretty abysmal one. Firstly, Montparnasse’s luggage lockers were under renovation, so we could not leave our bags there. The dude at the information said that Versailles would have luggage lockers, so we headed with our bags to Versailles Chantiers station. Upon arrival there, we found out there were no luggage lockers there! It was raining, but we decided to just trudge to the chateau in the rain with our backpacks. Around 15 minutes and getting slightly drenched, we got to the Chateau de Versailles, and were the only two fools with backpacks there. All around us were the hundreds of tourists who had came in their warm and comfortable tour busses, and many Japanese girls dressed in their high heels and leather jackets flashing their Chanel handbags around.

After finally dumping our bags at the luggage deposit and paying the 13.50 euro entry fee, we went into the main palace building to walk around inside. The interior of the palace was pretty similar to the chateaus we saw in the previous two days, except for probably the Hall of Mirrors and the art museum. The only “wow” factor was the size of the palace building which you could only appreciate from the outside, as apart from that, the detail and architecture of the exterior was pretty normal and what you would expect of a palace.

Some King’s bedroom.

Another kings bedroom.

Hall of mirrors.

Some other room.

Yet another King’s bedroom.

1842 hall, the art museum.

At the front of the Palace of Versailles.

At the rear of the Palace of Versailles with the grand canal in
the background.

The weather was still pretty bad by the time we finished walking around the water parterre and the gardens just behind the palace building around 5pm, so we decided to head back into Paris and check into the hostel. I thought it would be good if we could go back to Paris by another SCNF train station, Versailles Rive Driote, as that would drop us off at a train station in Paris nearer to the hostel, Paris St-Lazare, thus resulting in a shorter metro ride from the station. However I made a mistake and we ended up catching a train from the much nearer Versailles Rive Gauche into Paris. The ride itself was not really bad, but it was on a much older surburban train which made many stops before reaching the stop we needed to get to in Paris, as opposed to the faster TER train we were supposed to get on (similar to the one we took from Paris – Versailles) which would have made no stops in-between. So what was supposed to be a 15 minute train ride ended up as a 45 minute one. Anyway we finally ended up at the hostel, and checked in. The quality of the hostel is another point to complain about, but to make a long story short, this is basically the worst hostel we have ever stayed in, both for this Europe trip so far and the Northern Territory trip we did in December, and also one of the most expensive at around 26 euro per person per night in a six bed room. Among other things, there is no free internet here, the bathroom smells a bit and has no shower head, and the room has no lockers or anywhere to hang our clothes.

I hope the rest of Paris will be better, and that our stay here will be not as bad as the first day.

Links to all pictures here.

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