Friday, September 10, 2010

Flat Stanley visits Versailles

Yesterday, Flat Stanley toured Versailles.  He had to get up early and take a four hour bus ride (part of it through morning rush hour traffic in Paris).

Upon arriving he was struck by how big Versailles is compared to the other palaces, chateaux and castles he has seen.  It is huge.  There were many tour buses and tons of people.

The first thing Stanley did was tour the main rooms of Versailles.  He saw the king's and queen's apartments and some of the other public rooms.  This was the craziest part of the day - there were many large tour groups.  Some of these groups came from cultures that do not think it rude to push and shove.  Stanley was glad he could retreat to the safety of a tote bag.

He got his picture taken in the hall of mirrors, but it is kind of hard to see.

After leaving the main rooms of Versailles, the crowds thinned out a bit and it was easier to move around.  Stanley went downstairs and toured the apartments of the Dauphin and Dauphine.  These were very elegant but no where near as opulent as the upstairs rooms.

Next it was out into the gardens which were lovely.  It was pleasant to walk along the manicured bushes, pretty flowers, fountains and sculptures.

It was a small hike to get to the Trianons and Marie Antoinette's hamlet, but it was worth it.  Stanley could understand why the royals liked having these retreats.

Marie Antoinette's hamlet was very charming.  It was a small farming village with small lakes and streams running through it. Part of it was a working farm.  Stanley saw cows, goats, a horse, and several chickens.  He saw a vineyard, vegetable gardens and herb gardens.  There was even a pumpkin patch.

Flat Stanley enjoyed the winding paths of the hamlet, they were a change of pace from the straight paths of the formal gardens.  When he was as far from the main palace as he could be it was time to head back.

Luckily for Stanley, the weather was clear for most of the day but that last half hour it poured!  He was grateful for the shelter of a Helly Hansen rain jacket. He was also grateful for a long nap on the bus ride home.

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