Jan and Ian

To Versailles…


An early start, on the bikes to Gare D’Austerlitz to arrange train tickets for next Tuesday’s departure to St. Marlo. It was a fantastic morning for riding, cool and too early for much traffic. Soon we had our tickets and some breakfast treats (fresh baguette and croissant).
All fueled up we set off through the centre of Paris towards Versailles. Dodging one way streets, ever increasing numbers of pedestrians and increasingly hectic traffic we rolled past the impressive landmarks and historic sites to the Eiffel Tower where we turned off towards the Bois de Boulogn, a pretty park spread over a huge area of western Paris. With lakes, horse racing tracks, a cycling criterion circuit and expanses of forests it was hard to believe we were still in a city of 10,000,000 people.
After crossing a wide, long foot bridge across the Seine we enteredSt. Cloud Park, another beautiful area of wide cycle paths and forest. We lunched at a Chalet restaurant under shady spring greenery before heading up more hills towards Versailles, which eventually came into view. Considering it had been a relatively short ride of only 28 km we were feeling a bit ragged. The temperature had reached the mid twenties (well, we were feeling hot even if all the locals were lapping up the warmth after months of freezing darkness through winter) and there had been several long grinds up hill that we hadn’t anticipated from the guide we were following.
On reaching Versailles we found ourselves at the Grand Trianon, a bit of a shack for the French royals, only about the size of 20 regular houses. We wandered through and then rode through the great park gardens, along the canal before winding our way to the main entrance of the Palace for the real highlight, an extraordinary display of the French Royal’s opulence, extravagance, grandeur and, of course, ignorance of what was happening out side their own walls.
It was getting late and we weren’t keen to get back to Paris in the dark so we jumped on a train. We still had about a 10 km ride from St. Lazare Station to our apartment but luckily the traffic wasn’t too bad in that area we were able to get home reasonably quickly.
Our long, sometimes hard, day ended at Restaurant Chez Paul, a gorgeous place we had found when we first arrived.


One comment

  1. Anonymous

    Thinking of you as we head to Anakie tomorrow where we’ll eventually get coffee and home made sausage rolls with chutney – not quite a match to your adventures? C’est la vie!

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