Today I'm recapping our FABULOUS bike tour through Versailles! The wonderful and AMAZING Kristen wrote about her Fat Tire bike ride last summer and when we added Versailles to our itinerary I KNEW this was the perfect way to see the palace and gardens. So, thanks Kristen, you rock!
Our morning was anything but smooth as we realized late last night the tour started in Paris and not in Versailles as we anticipated. It was a bit of a scramble trying to figure out the best (and cheapest) way into the city and Le Husband came in clutch with the metro train.
It was a much earlier morning than originally anticipated and the simple train instructors turned much more complicated when the station map did not match the online version. With our fingers crossed and a prayer we hopped on a train and made it to the designated stop. It was another 15 minute walk to the shop and WOULDNT YOU KNOW our first activity as a group was to walk to the metro to train back to Versailles…. DOH!!!
We made the best of it and can now laugh at oops. Especially when we found out another group did the same thing. The craziness in the morning prevented the normal espresso so when we had a brief moment waiting for others in our group I caved in and bought an espresso from Starbucks. #sellout I know but caffeine is caffeine!
Once we arrived at the bike shop we tried out our bikes, realized two people hadn’t ridden one before and once they left it was off to the market for our lunch supplies. Our guide was awesome and biking the streets of Versailles was quite an adventure.
The market was HUGE and full of delicious vendors. We bought baguettes, cheese, salami (the only kind I’ve ever enjoyed) and a bottle of wine.
After everyone bought their supplies we headed to the back end of the garden, also known as the Queen’s enterance. The clouds stayed with us all day so it was a bit cool, but my coat did its job keeping the chill out. We started our first walk around the grounds in Marie Antoinette's Peaseant Garden. I had NEVER heard of these gardens before the tour, have any of you? Apparently, she hated French court life and wanted to know what it was like to be a poor peasant so she had a fake little village built in the garden. Many of the guards were ordered to pretend to be peasants and dressed up in costumes to amuse the queen. It was fun to explore the grounds and we also were able to visit the the Pavilion of Love Marie had created after her children were born.
Once exploring was done we biked around to another part of the garden which was home to the Grand Canals. Here we all enjoyed a picnic lunch with just the lightest of a sprinkle. It was fun getting to know the people in our tour and to speak English and be fully understood.
When lunch was over we ended the bike tour back at the shop and then walked back to the front of the palace. Part of the tour included cut the line passes which everyone raves about but with the cloudy weather it seems most people were visiting other parts of the city.
This palace is insane! The opulence, the extravagance and the decadence are indescribable. Gold and luxury dripped from every corner of every room, taking the word excess to a whole other level.
The weather was threatening and our energy waning, so we did a quick tour through the gardens. Sadly quite a few fountains were out of order so we didn’t get the FULL effect, but the grounds were still quite beautiful!
We snapped one last picture by the beautiful gold (none chipped off, drat) then walked the half mile back to our hotel. Even though the biking was at an easy pace we covered quite a bit of ground and were tired after such a full day.
Dinner was more about speed and efficiency today but we still ate well!
I'm so grateful we weren't rained on during the tour because it could have made the day a drastically different experience. The bike tour was so much fun and I really enjoyed seeing extra parts of the gardens we normally wouldn't have even inspected. Thanks again for the suggestion, Kristen! My next recap will be all about our wonderful time in Paris.
Have you ever been to Versailles? What was your favorite part?