On a frigid Parisian morning I bundled up and ventured into an underground station. I boarded a train destined for Versailles and relaxed in the warmth of the crowded train car.
There are no words, really, to describe the feeling of being at Versailles. Just past the gates was a weaving line of about 2,000 people, according to one of the guards. It was three days before New Years Eve and the holiday had brought insane numbers of tourists to the palace. I stood in line for two hours, not budging an inch. I knew that I would spend the day standing in line, never reaching the entrance. They only allowed a small number of people to enter at a time, in order to prevent overcrowding within the palace itself.
My brother, who had traveled with me, went to look for a bathroom. When he returned he revealed that he’d found much more. We weaved through the herd of visitors until we reached a clearing. We walked around a gold, iron fence, and found an opening. We basically cut around the entire palace and ended up in the Gardens.
Since I was there in the winter none of the flowers were in bloom. Many of the fountains were either drained or just not running because of the temperature. I was slightly disappointed about this because it meant I wasn’t going to get the full effect I’d always dreamed I’d have when visiting. However, I was thankful to even be walking around Versailles. Not everyone is able to make it there in their lifetime, so I was grateful nonetheless.
The gardens, in bloom or not, are IMMACULATE. Not a single pebble strays away from the path it is supposed to be on. Not a single tree branch is longer than the others. The shrubs are trimmed precisely and exactly, imitating their neighbors.
The dirt paths looked so clean – how could dirt paths look so clean???
Being in the gardens was ideal for getting a hint of just how massive this property is. The back of the palace is adorned with repeating architecture. The countless windows and columns create this effect that the building’s length is never-ending. From atop the patio, you can see the Grand Canal which extends into what seems to be the horizon line.
No matter which way you look, everything about the property is grandiose – if it had a voice it would literally scream, “French Royalty!”
My day at the Gardens of Versailles flew by in what felt like a matter of seconds. I arrived around 8am and before I knew it the sun was beginning to set. The golden hour illuminated the back of the palace and cast a burnt orange glow over the rest of the property. The palace looked even richer in the magnificent evening.
Although I was bummed about never making it inside the palace, I will never forget my day spent wandering around the famous gardens. Not being able to enter only means one thing – I get to plan another trip back to this incredible place! Walking through the Hall of Mirrors is on my bucket list.
I left my heart in Paris, that’s for sure.