A Week In Paris: Part Four (Disneyland and Versailles)

The next morning we were up bright and early, and on a train into town to meet with the tour group at City Rama Tours. We were going to Disneyland!
I was just as excited as all the little children on the bus: the excitement which the promise of a full day at a famous theme park brings, knows no age limit.

The weather was miserable all day, and I wasn’t really clamouring to go on all the rides and pose with life-size Disney characters like my sister was (I was more excited to just walk through the parks and observe, taking a few pictures every now and then, and collecting some character memorabilia), but it was a good time nonetheless.

Crowds walking in the Europe cold into the land of magic, dreams and fun times

The castle that Tink flies over at the beginning of Disney movies

We watched a presentation on the making of cartoons, visited the gift shops, watched the Christmas parade, and I even went on a magic carpet ride. 

The Studios- "where the magic happens"; Busi can't believe one of Walt's pals and his high-waisted pants; Mr Disney and his first "creation", Mickey Mouse; one of the first cartoons- I'm baffled because kids were watching a show about a tree wearing a bra...

Then, when it was time to go home, we lost my dad. No, actually: he wandered off. 
The three of us were walking towards the exit, and he was doing what he had been doing the whole day: stopping every two minutes to take 16 pictures of the same random thing. So he got left behind. We were trying to make it back to the bus in time, and he was still busy taking pictures of lamp posts and signs around the park.
When you have to ask security guards if they’ve seen a man wandering past wielding a camera in the past 30 minutes or so, you know that your time at Disneyland is up.
We eventually found each other, then wandered into the train station, where the same man who had been lost all this time tried to bypass the tour programme and get tickets for the train back to town. When that didn’t work (something we had all been telling him), we finally found our way back to where the bus dropped us off in the morning, and made our way back to town. I was exhausted, but I was glad for the experience. Also for the Tinkerbell badge, and the mug that it took me so long to pick out.

On our last full day in Paris, we had another tour. This time, to the palace of Versailles.
We nearly didn’t make it to City Rama, because we had to figure out a different subway route when we found that our usual connecting line was closed for repairs.
Well, we spent what I’m sure was well over an hour walking around the subway, asking people who couldn’t quite understand us what alternative routes we could take. We eventually figured out how to get to City Rama using an alternative route, and by some amazing stroke of luck, we found that the tour to Versailles had been delayed. We were in time, after all.
The palace is another place that a person needs to dedicate a decent amount of time to exploring. The rooms are elaborate and the history is something you need to dwell on in order for you to really appreciate it. The stories behind the paintings alone could fill volumes.
And then there are the gardens. From the Hall of Mirrors, one can look out into the palace grounds, and it seems like the lush greenery rolls on much further than the eye can see. It’s beautiful to look at, but I couldn’t help thinking about how much work it takes to keep it looking that way!

The palace and the pond, the sprawling grounds- all of what you see is part of Versailles (and apparently townspeople are allowed to jog on the grounds...)

Palace life is not for the faint-hearted. Well, the kings and queens who were shrouded in opulence could afford to be complacent, but the staff and the subjects couldn’t.

The pilgrimage through the palace gates

A view of the grounds and the town of Versailles

(middle) the tour guide explaining to us about the dining room (left) and the Queen's chambers (right)

The many, many rooms of the palace were built strictly for specific purposes: the dining room in the picture was used when the Queen and King decided that they would eat together (they each had their own "dining areas" in different wings), and the smaller chairs which you can see in the picture were for peasants/townspeople to sit in, so they could watch the King and Queen eat.
That was only slightly less disturbing than hearing about the antechamber, where a man appointed by the king had to present at the moment the child left the Queen's womb, in order to make absolutely sure that the child was indeed born of royalty. 
Anything to preserve (and display) status, right?

Fun fact: this is the door that Marie-Antoinette reportedly escaped through during one of the uprisings:

Imagine a greedy queen gathering up her skirts and running past her gilded bookshelf-type thing to escape disgruntled subjects. Wigs and cake flying everywhere.

After Versailles, we went to the Eiffel Tower. Finally, I got to see the famous structure for myself. 

My sister wanted to go all the way to the top, but not even the magic of Paris that was buzzing in the air could make me go to that extreme with this whole adventure.
The view from the second floor was spectacular enough. 


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