On the weekend we joined Fat Tire Bike Tours for their Versailles tour. We started by hopping on the RER train out of town and picked up our trusty bikes in the town of Versailles. It was a short ride from there to the nearby market to pick up goodies for a picnic later. Our tour guide, Dan, pointed us in the direction of a wine shop and a little bakery nearby and we picked up some cheeses, meat and olives in the market.
I couldn't resist a chocolate-banana crepe before we took off on the bikes. It was soooo delicious and the guy making them was hilarious. He was full of French flirtation - flattering, but it gave me the giggles.
With my sweet tooth satisfied and the bikes loaded with bottles of wine and baguettes, we pedalled off into the gardens of Versailles. It was so peaceful biking through the lanes, lined with perfectly manicured trees. As we rode we stopped to look at Marie-Antoinette's hamlet, the Petit Trianon and the Grand Trianon. Our tour guide did a great job of sharing the stories and history of the buildings.
We biked all the way around the grand canal - I imagined Louis XIV watching mock naval battles from the steps of the Chateau. The canal was enormous and when we came around the corner the Chateau was a truly astounding sight (as I was pointing excitedly and wobbling on my bike). Unfortunately a few raindrops started to fall, but it didn't stop us from enjoying our picnic under the shelter of the trees.
Trev and I enjoyed a lovely bottle of beaujolais blanc with a delicious chewy baguette, some serrano ham, green olive tapenade and some little goat cheeses (some of them tasted more like stinky feet than others...) It was the perfect picnic - what better way to enjoy a visit to the gardens of Versailles. It really was wonderful.
Next we went a little further on our bikes to the Chateau du Versailles. The palace is absolutely astounding - the size (2300 rooms) and detail were unbelievable. Luckily there wasn't any lineup, so we walked right in. We breezed through the museum rooms fairly quickly because our tour guide had already given us tons of great info. The rooms were all so elaborate - gilded with gold and draped with rich silks and velvets. I loved all the huge windows that looked out onto the gardens. The hall of mirrors was lovely, even filled up with tourists like me.
Marie-Antoinette's table in her suite, oooh fancy
Before we headed back to Paris we enjoyed a walk through the perfectly manicured & symmetrical gardens. The neat & tidy hedges were so perfect and I loved the orange trees in the garden.