We travelled out to Versailles today and visited the Chateau de Versailles which is, as you probably know, the former royal palace of the French monarchy up until Louis XVI was chased out of there by a stick-wielding populace in 1789.
I'm beginning to see why!
The buildings and the artworks contained within them are extraordinary treasures which the world is fortunate still to own and to be able to view. However when you realise that those priceless assets and extreme opulence were once the exclusive property of a single family, who continued to bask in privilege while their subjects were experiencing food shortages and tax increases to support the nobility, is to understand how it came to that which it did!
My photos cannot hope to convey a sense of the place. This website (http://www.stockholm360.net/list.php?id=versailles) does a better job.
Earlier in the day I bailed out early and left the females to compete for the bathroom and associated accessories. I wandered and enjoyed un espresso et un croissant, si'l vous plaít, before parking up in the morning sunshine by the Seine and reading for a while. While there, two motorised, inflatable police boats launched across the river. One headed upstream at a rate of knots while the other faffed about nearby. Then I saw a single swimmer making his way along the opposite shore for about 200m until he was picked up by the second boat and taken upstream. This didn't appear to be an exercise in physical fitness, and I can only assume that they were searching for something more interesting than, say, an old bike which had been dumped in the river.
We travelled to la Tour Eiffel where the queues for the single operating lift were substantial and serpentine, and so we settled for viewing the monument from the ground only. I also learned that, if a person approaches you in a place frequented by overseas tourists, and asks, "Do you speak English?", it is unlikely to be anything but a con.
A somewhat more endearing con was being worked on the train to Versaille in which one or more chaps, armed with a saxophone and an accordion, will serenade the carriage with some oomp-pah-pah music and then march up the aisle seeking a gratuity for their trouble. This one, I was happy to contribute to.