Today we headed out on the RER train to Versailles. But before talking about the opulent palace I thought I would talk about the great transportation options one has while in Paris.
Starting out with our favorite passion, hiking. Paris is a hikers paradise. Wide sidewalks, lots of spacious parks, relatively flat topography and automobile drivers who generally pay attention to pedestrians all make this city a great place to stroll.
We were amazed to see the number of adults blazing around town with their razor skate scooters. I did a double take then watched a +50 year old executive wearing a fine French business suit pass us by on his scooter. On our first night while enjoying dinner at a street cafe a group of 35 or so roller skaters and bladers blasted down pedestrian only Rue Cler. It initially stunned everyone eating (surely their desired effect) and then created a buzz of conversation as they passed.
There are bicycles in use all over the city. You can pick a rental bike up just about anywhere. We saw people riding everywhere, including the busy traffic circles.
Public transportation is what keeps this city of 2 million residents moving. The Air France excursion busses are an easy connection from CDG airport and are quite inexpensive. Their bus system offers the most options but is usually slowed by heavy traffic. The metro and RER trains move more people around more quickly than any other option. You can purchase packets of ten transportation tickets, called a carnet. These tickets can be used for busses, the metro lines and RER trains (in zone 1). Don’t get caught using a zone 1 ticket going to Versailles like the Brit on our train did. She ended up paying for the full price ticket along with a +100€ fine.
Metro lines zig zag all around Paris
The RER are much larger and faster rail passenger cars. Taxi cabs are our last option as they are quite expensive.
Enough about how to get around Paris, let’s show you Versailles where the RER took us today:
The bust of French King Louis XIV. who built this monstrosity of a palace.
A famous potrtait of King Louis XVI’s queen, Marie Antoinette.
A king size bed.
Marie had a “peasants village” complex consisting of 12 thatched roof buildings constructed so she could have her own Normand village. This is her house. She kept herself busy with managing the working farm, which produced the meat and vegtables for the palace.
These donkeys were the only livestock without a beautiful pasture, so Mark gave them a little treat.
Well, that’s it for Paris part 2. More to come!