May 2 - Versailles and Orangerie
The photo above is at Versailles. We are in the middle of around 1000 people waiting to get in. Although we have museum passes, we have to wait with everyone else to go through security. It took us about 1 1/2 hours. It was overcast and cold, but all of the people in the crowd were happy.
We made the decision to go to Versailles this morning. There was no threat of rain this morning so we were not worried about standing outside in a line to get in. We walked from our hotel to the Invalides RER station, bought our train tickets and rode in reasonable comfort to the Versailles station. It took about 30 minutes.
Once we navigated the serpentine lines and entered the palace, we made a bee line to the rest rooms and the cafeteria. Sandwiches and wraps were good and they recharged us for the walk through the palace.
We used Rick Steves' audio guide to explain what we were seeing in each of the rooms. The palace is spectacular and worth a special trip to see it. The audio guide kept us focused although the massive crowd is a bit distracting. This was the second time that we were there so we did not spend a lot of time in each room.
When we finished seeing the inside of the palace, we found the sortie and entry to the vast gardens. Our goal was to walk to the Trianon Palaces and Domaine de Marie-Antoinette. The rain thwarted us, though. A heavy shower chased us to the covered exit area where we waited until it stopped. The we walked back to the train station and rode back to Paris.
Our next stop was at the Orangerie Museum where Monet's huge canvasses of water lilies are displayed. There are also several paintings by Utrillo, Cezanne, Renoir, Matisse and Picasso. It was a sensory experience but we were too tired to completely enjoy it. So it was back to the hotel on the Metro where we stopped to enjoy a group of Russian musicians playing and singing folk songs. There is lots of entertainment in the Metro - some intentional, some not.
Once we restored our batteries, we retraced our steps from the last night and found the restaurant we were looking for then. La Varangue is a very small bistro run by Philippe. He usually is a one-man show but tonight he had a waitress. We both had a beet salad. For our main course, Ann had baked salmon with mashed potatoes. I had filet mignon of pork, also with mashed potatoes. We split chocolate cake for dessert. House white for Ann and house red for me. The meal was hardy and a good value.