Walks and Thoughts

of Michael Simes

An old Man's Tale:

Shelf

Brighouse

West Vale

Clay House

Ripponden

Cragg Vale

Todmorden

Heptonstall

Pecket Well

Luddenden Dean

Jerusalem Farm

Catherine Slack

Stone Chair

It's Just Like Home:

Hong Kong

Auckland

Rotarua

Napier

Picton

Marlborough Sounds

Kaikoura

Milford Sound

Sydney

Manly

Blue Mountains

Northern Beaches

Thailand

A City Of Revolution:

Paris

Versailles

Sacré-Cœur

Notre Dame

A Weekend Holiday to Paris, Sacré Cœur and Versailles


Travelling Round Versailles Sightseeing and Exploring


Versailles

A City Of Revolution

Approching Versailles
Fast tracked onto Versailles for lunch. The Paris masses stormed here in 1789 at the beginning of the French Revolution. Louis XVI forced to desert the royal palace which revolutionaries transformed into a museum and repository of confiscated art work. The coach takes 40 minutes through the Bois de Boulogne passing Longchamps – a treat from George, our driver, promoting himself for tips.

There’s a lengthy queue for entrance ticket to the Chateaux followed by long single file queue in a blazing courtyard for security admission. We paid €8 for 800 hectares of the gardens. It is stifling and many of us seek shade and share lunch on the rear steps at the Chateaux. There are a few umbrellas, trains and self-drive golf carts for the weary, exhausted and disabled. Tourists of the world flock here. Pink Floyd played in 1988.

Versailles - Hall of MirrorsHome to the French nobility the palace was a vast apartment block and seat for the Bourbons and their 20,000 courtiers. They had no functioning toilets until 1768. Emptying chamber pots out of windows gave it a unique odour.

Ruled by etiquette where gentleman could not work but engage only in leisure activities. Ladies and gentlemen were not allowed to cross legs in public. In 1919 the Treaty of Versailles foreclosed on the mass slaughter of the 1st World War.

Versailles where Sarkozy collapsed and hospitalised while jogging in the grounds in July 2009. Nicholas has hurled himself into a vigorous regime of exercise and dieting ostentatiously parading the streets and gardens of Paris. He should do well as he is looked after by his own personal physician, three military medics, an etiologists and guru.

Designed by architects Louis Le Vau in 1682 Versailles was the centre of political power and symbol of the absolute monarchy of the ancient regime. It is now a world heritage site.

Elongated sweltering queues for toilets restricted to two urinals and a couple of cubicles for the masses. Swimming in the overflow of water and urination and entertained to the resounding sound of waltzing chamber music. You may not return.

Versailles from the gardensHere is a maze of trees, water features and the Grand Canal with rowing boats. Between 12 and 3pm there’s no fountains sprouting – it’s all to do with saving gravity. By the Grand Canal we suckle cream cappuccino at La Flottile.

Returned to the hotel and bumped into Le Mans footballers about to engage Paris St. Germain. Recovering siesta after cooling shower. Watch out for doorstep in bathroom, it could mangle your toes! Desperate for tea with feet up in our air conditioned luxury – a godsend as retreat from suffocating city heat. Drifted and watched Liverpool succumb to Spurs on Canal+ with French commentary. Requests for kettle denied as they are only available to privileged guests. Do footballers drink tea? You must take your own kettle.

Round the corner for our dinner at The Thai restaurant. Three courses for €14.50. We enjoyed pancake rolls but texture of steamed dumpling a queasy digestion. Chinese strawberries with stones are a raw delicacy. Hardly French gourmet cuisine. Lots of restaurants closed, one fleeing the bankers. Paris St Germain fans converge on the stadium.