This day began with the obligatory bus tour of Paris; it’s a good way to see a lot of sites in a short amount of time. About halfway through we stopped at Les Invalides which is a monument to France’s veterans. The building was first commissioned by Louis XIV for injured and ill soldiers then evolved into the place it is now. It currently does house some soldiers as well as the tomb of Napoleon:
Following the bus tour our group split into two groups. Some of us went to explore Versailles the rest went to do some shopping. I went with the former group. Prior to arriving at Versailles the bus tour guide told us that tickets to the palace could be purchased on site or a sandwich shop near the train station. We were also told that anyone 18 and over needed to buy a ticket but those under 18 could go for free.
Upon arrival we found the shop that sold tickets and decided to purchase the entrance tickets there hoping to avoid lines at the actual palace. The dude selling tickets said that people 18 and under did not have to buy tickets which contradicted the bus driver, but we went with it because it saved Euros money. So myself and my partner chaperon forked over our 24 Euro and we headed off to the palace.
When we got to the palace we were greeted by a statue of the Sun King and discovered shortly that the dude who sold us tickets had, intentionally or not, lied; the 18 year olds in our group did in fact need tickets. Shit. I took the kids who needed tickets to the ticket line which appeared to be short…until I looked inside and saw that it snaked around through several rooms. Shit. Since we had limited time I decided to ignore the Eagle Scout in me, and I deftly jumped the line. It was surprisingly easy and I wound up about halfway through the line.
While waiting in my illegitimate spot hoping the line would move faster, I noticed some people stepping out of the line then exiting the building with tickets. Turns out there were automated ticket machines, score! I jumped out of line, found my students and after some minor fumbling we had our tickets and were on our way. I was proud of myself for solving the ticket issue relatively quickly, but felt bad for jumping the line (insert foreshadowing here).
As with many popular places in Europe, and the U.S., Versailles is amazing and crowded.
Following our tour of Versailles we were to head back to Paris and meet the rest of the group for dinner. (Weird, as I’m typing this, “From Paris with Love” came on the TV). We got on the train at Versailles and proceeded to sit on it for half an hour before it left, which through us off our schedule. After several transfers on the Metro we finally met up with our group at which time I discovered I had been pickpocketed. I’m fairly certain it happened at Versailles or on one of the crowded trains we took returning from the palace. I suppose it was Karma for jumping the line.