We visited Paris on our honeymoon nine years ago. In our two days there, we explored the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, ate lobster and creme brulee with champagne at midnight in the rain and watched Tour de France racers ride up and down Champs-Elysees for hours.
I have since wished that we’d had time to visit the luxurious palace of Versailles, in case we never had a chance to return. Our family road trip this spring seemed like a fine time to check that box, especially given that it was on our way out of Paris to Normandy. I pre-booked and printed tickets in England before our trip.
We stayed in a somewhat-finished, budget rental in a southern suburb during our time in Paris (I suppose our fees helped cover refinishing the bare concrete spiral staircase; thanks anyway, AirBnB). We ate our first family meal at a Hippopotamus in a run-down shopping mall food court. Visiting one of the world’s finest palaces seemed like the perfect way to put some sparkle on our otherwise lackluster stay.
We bounced and bumbled our 1998 4Runner over the cobbled stones of the parking lot. We all exited the vehicle into the mist and… the car horn started blaring. Nonstop. Thankfully my husband had the sense to remove the fuse. Perhaps we should have taken it as a warning?
The line at the entrance was huge. A kind employee saw us holding our little guy and told us we could skip to the front of the line with a baby. The gate attendant was a bit miffed that our guy was actually a toddler, but they let us in anyway. Thank goodness! We had walked all the way up there and had no interest in retreating to the back of the line.
We knew the audio tour would be pointless with the kids to chase around, so we skipped that line to get to business. Then we kept our tinies from wriggling out of our arms or getting stepped on or screaming too very loudly as we pushed our way through the crowds in bedrooms and halls of the very beautiful palace. Pictures were NOT to be had that day.
Just a note: metal frame carriers and strollers aren’t permitted. It’s just too hot of a spot and there are too many tourists. We tried carrying Bertie in the Beco Gemini, but he was not at all interested. Defiant, I might say. I bought some Ladurée macarons to feel better about it.
We took off to the gardens. Beautiful, lovely, yes, SO big…then Walden had to pee. Then everyone was hungry and we grabbed a baguette with cheese from the snack bar next to the restaurant next to the toilets and then the drizzle came and we decided we’d had enough. It was time to go to Normandy.
In short: Versailles is lovely! I think. Wish I could have seen more.