Today was all about Versailles as we had been told it was a must-see. Julie and Patrick still had dicky tummys so John ventured out to see Notre Dame before we caught the bus to Versailles. We had requested 'skip the line' tickets when we purchased them yesterday but skip the line they were not. NOTE - avoid the booking offices 'France Tourisme' if you go to Paris as they are just glorified ticket offices and have no useful information to impart (find an 'Official office de Tourisme' office). We took the bus to Versailles at 11am but were just dropped at the normal gates to join the queues.
Today there were queues of up to 2.5 hours to see the chateau! We gave up after 30 minutes as we could see it was going to take at least two hours to gain entry so we decided to visit the gardens first. We had to pay 10 euros each extra (as it was a Tuesday) to see two fountains in operation and some Baroque music - that's a rip-off. These should be going every day! This place has been a visitor's attraction for over 150 years generating how many millions of dollars? So why are the gardens full of dozens of non-functional fountains? These were the heart of the garden - why aren't they all going all the time? Anyway that aside, the gardens were impressive - vast! Some 3500 acres so it takes a bit of getting around. We purchased tickets for a mini train to try and reduce the time and it did help. There are golf carts and bikes for hire but they aren't well promoted and hard to find. There are a couple of satellite buildings at the bottom of the gardens - for some reason our tickets did not give us access to one of these - another failure by the booking office to advise us. The chateau itself is another thing entirely - a total display of extravagance and obscene decadence. A must-see? Not in the view of us three. The Royal Palace in Amsterdam is just so much more tasteful and impressive. So we left feeling we had wasted a day in Paris and could have spent the time more effectively. C'est la vie! At 9:00 pm John decided to hire a bike from the stand across the road and cycle the 4kms down the road to Pont D'Alma to see the Eiffel Tower light show we had missed the night before. After he got back he had a meal in a pub around the corner whilst the other two munched on crackers in their hotel rooms :-)