I woke up today at 07:05 (Giovanni was sleeping in a little and planned to meet me at Versailles; however, the palace gardens were too vast and we never did see each other until back at the hostel later in the day), showered, dressed, and got ready. I left the hostel at 07:50, took the metro train from Colonel Fabien Station to the Gare Montparnasse Station, reaching it at 08:20ish, and then bought my train ticket to Versailles-Chantiers. With some time to spare, I had a small breakfast and ate a “pain au chocolat” and drank a cappuccino. At 08:50, I boarded the Versailles-Chantiers-bound train, which departed the station at 09:05. I reached Versailles-Chantiers at 09:32 and then walked to the Palace of Versailles’ entrance, where I bought an entrance ticket and waited in a very long, snaking line of people, waiting to enter inside (I waited in line from 09:50 to around 11:00). After passing through the security checkpoint, I had to surrender my tripod (fuck you France!) before finally getting in to the palace complex. I then picked up an audio guide and began my tour inside. The palace began in 1624 AD when Louis XIII ordered the construction of a hunting lodge; eight years later, Louis XIII obtained the seigneury of Versailles from the Gondi family and began to make enlargements to the château (this structure would become the core of the new palace); Louis XIV had it expanded in to one of the largest palaces in the world and following the Treaties of Nijmegen in 1678 AD, he began to gradually move the court to Versailles; the court was officially established there on May 6, 1682 AD; the palace would then undergo further expansions and renovations until it reached its present state in the mid-nineteenth-century AD. I walked through the Grand Apartments, peeked inside the chapel (it was closed to visitors at the time), passed through the Hall of Mirrors, and walked through the Gallery of Battles. After finishing the primary portion of the tour, I returned my seldom-used audio guide and then walked through the petit appartement de la reine, which is a suite of rooms in the palace that were the private domain of the Queens of France (i.e. Maria Theresa of Spain, Marie Leszczyńska, and Marie-Antoinette, as well as of the duchesse de Bourgogne as dauphine). Once finished touring these rooms, I walked out in to the large and beautifully maintained gardens. From the palace, I walked westward to the Grand Canal, past that garish piece of shit that some idiots call art and which happened to be on display in the gardens at the time I was visiting (it doesn’t belong in the palace gardens, it belongs in a dump; it’s ruining the otherwise beautiful view and the palace curator needs to be fired for allowing this garbage to be erected on these historic grounds; also, Anish Kapoor needs to find another profession – NOTE: I have no problem with the sexual symbolism of the piece (psst, it’s supposed to represent a vagina), but I do have a problem with a large and ugly piece of metalwork ruining the splendor of the place). From the Grand Canal, I walked to the Grand Trianon, which was built in 1708 AD at the request of King Louis XIV to serve as a retreat for the King and his maîtresse en titre (“mistress”) of the time, the marquise de Montespan, and as a place where the King and invited guests could take light meals away from the strict étiquette of the Court. I entered inside the Grand Trianon and toured the different rooms inside as well as the gardens outside before exiting the area and walking to the Petit Trianon, which was built in 1768 AD during the reign of Louis XV; in 1774 AD, the 20-year-old Louis XVI gave the château and its surrounding park to his 19-year-old Queen Marie Antoinette for her exclusive use and enjoyment. I walked around the rooms inside the Petit Trianon and then explored the gardens behind it, which were very pleasant and included the Queen’s Hamlet (this area contained several rustic buildings from the eighteenth-century AD and provided a glimpse in to the past – much like those village parks with all the old homes and churches that I visited while in Ukraine). After seeing all the main attractions in the garden and after sweating long enough in the hot sun, I walked back to the palace, grabbed my tripod, and soon exited the grounds (about a half-hour before 18:00). I then walked back to the Versailles-Chantiers Railway Station, bought a ticket to return to Paris, and then travelled back on the next available train (after 18:00). Upon reaching the Gare Montparnasse Station, I used the metro train and travelled to the Opera Metro Station, right next to the Palais Garnier, which is a beautiful building that was constructed from 1861 to 1875 AD for the Paris Opera. Originally, I had considered attending the ballet performance at 19:30, but I was disgusting after walking around outside all day and I wasn’t dressed for the occasion; so, I just viewed the Palais Garnier from the outside. I then returned to the metro station and travelled to the Colonel Fabien Station. From there, I returned to the dorm room inside the hostel and I met Giovanni, who had returned not too long ago from his trip to Versailles. Inside the dorm room, I was glad to see the loud and obnoxious snoring man from New York had vacated (fuck that imbecile) and I found Giovanni talking to a young backpacker from New Zealand who used to be a sheep shearer; eventually (after Giovanni and I showered to wipe the sweat off of our skin) the three of us would all go out for a drink and food. Once ready, after 21:00, the three of us walked to a nearby café and had some beer. We then changed venues and walked to a nearby restaurant where I had a half a liter of Bordeaux wine, a plate of three cheeses (i.e. Camembert, Chevre, and Cantal), chicken liver, and a steak (it was a very French meal). After this meal, we returned to the hostel and walked downstairs to the club in the basement (“uh oh”). Here, we met up with another man from our dorm room (who was walking around barefoot) and we proceeded to have more beer and a couple of shots (“fuck”). When the club closed down at 02:00, we finished our drinks, and then returned to our dorm room. We all immediately went to bed . . .
. . . later on in the night the young man from New Zealand vomited in his bed (he was embarrassed of this the next day and a young man from New York who was staying in the room with us commented how the whole room smelled like puke). As for me, I came-to outside in the hallway sometime after 03:00; I’m not sure why I exited the room and ended up in the hall, but it was either to use the toilet on the floor or to check on the New Zealand guy since his vomit-covered sheets were out in the hallway. Whatever the reason, I had to get the security guys to let me back in to the room since I didn’t have a key on me (it just so happened, I was in my boxer shorts). This is the not the first time I came-to outside my door without my key (it happened after a long night of drinking when I was staying in Memphis as well), but this was the second (and hopefully last?) time. Ahh, memories, or the lack thereof. “WHISKEY!”