Kathryn and Ken's European Vacation

All photos are the property of Ken Runquist and have been reduced in size for faster downloading.  The originals are 1280 x 960.  Contact me by email if you would like a larger size copy of any photo.
Day 52: Plasir, France
Home Home Site map
Day 50: Arromanches, France
Day 51: Caen, France
Day 52: Plasir, France
Day 53: Paris, France
Day 54: Paris, France
Day 55: Paris, France
Day 56: Paris, France
Day 57: Flying Home



Plaisir Hotel Kyriad


Mostly cloudy with a high of 22°C











Day 51: Thursday, October 26    Versailles and Plasir, France

Opulent Chateau de Versailles

We started this mostly cloudy with sunny patches day with a complementary breakfast at the hotel which feature a very large choice of excellent food.  We then drove 170 km to Giverny, home of Claude Monet's House and Gardens.  We decided to use the backroads rather than the freeway and so it took us well over two hours to get there as we passed through many small French towns on the way.  Ken was under the weather with a touch of the flu and decided to stay in the car in the parking lot and sleep while Kathryn went into the gardens and took several photos (see below).  

Kathryn in Monet's Garden

Claude Monet was the leading light of the Impressionist movement.  He revolutionized painting in the 1870s. Visiting Giverny, there's much to admire. All kinds of people flock to here. Gardeners admire the earth-moving landscaping and layout, botanists find interesting new plants, and art lovers can see paintings they've long admired come to life. Fans enjoy wandering around the house where Monet spent half his life and seeing the boat he puttered around in, as well as the henhouse where his family got the morning omelets.

Kathryn took this photos in Monet's Garden.  Click for a larger view.

We then drove 75 km to our Kyriad hotel in Plaisir, which was in the countryside about 20 km from Versailles.  We checked in and drove to Versailles on major French freeways but managed to get there without too much trouble.

One of the most visited monuments in France is the Palace of Versailles, famous for its immense size. The palace began as a ‘modest’ hunting lodge, built by Louis XIII in 1623, and was transformed under the guidance of his son, Louis XIV, the Sun King, into a grand palace complex surrounded by lavish gardens. Louis XIV was so taken with the palace that by 1682 it had become the official residence of the court of France and a lavish statement of monarchical power. Beginning in 1664, the construction of the château  lasted

Ken at the entrance to the Palace of Versailles

virtually until Louis XlV's death in 1715.  After the death of Louis XlV, the château was abandoned for a few years. Then Louis XV moved in in 1722. It remained the residence of the royal family until the Revolution of 1789, and at this time the furniture was sold and the pictures dispatched to the Louvre. Thereafter it fell into ruin and was nearly demolished by Louis- Philippe. And in 1871, during the Paris Commune, it became the seat of the nationalist government, and the French parliament continued to meet in Louis XV's opera building until 1879. The restoration only began between the two world wars. The many buildings attached to the chateau form a small town. The whole complex is a magnificent monument. The garden facade is 575 metres long with various annexes dotted here and there in a park which is several kilometres in both length and breadth. Today, visitors are still able to view some of the palace, including the renowned 75m Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors), where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, signifying the end of WWI.  Kathryn, who had been here before, was really excited for Ken to see the Hall of Mirrors but, unfortunately, most of it was under renovation. Go to link below for a 360° view of the Hall. http://www.chateauversailles.fr/images/360/Glaces360.htm.

We purchased a day pass which included audio guides in English.  Inside the Palace we saw
King’s and Queen’s State Apartment
Opera House  
History of France Galleries
Dauphin’s Apartments : the heir to the throne
Mesdames’ Apartments : Louis XV’s daughters

Map of the estate of Versailles

It is about 1.5 km to the end of the estate.  Given the state of Ken's knees, we purchased a ticket on the mini-train which goes from the Palace along the outer edge of the estate to the Queen's Hamlet, the Petit Trianon and the Grand Trianon.  We rode the train back and got off at the top of the Grand Canal, an artificial lake that, in Louis' day, was a mini-sea with nine ships, including a 32-cannon warship. France's royalty used to float up and down the canal in Venetian gondolas.  We then walked the gardens and groves back to the palace, stopping for an ice cream along the way.  Because it was nearing the end of October, most of the beautiful fountains had been turned off and some of the shrubs were wrapped in cloth for the winter. Kathryn had been to Versailles in the summer and talked about how beautiful they were.  The difference can be seen in our photo of photo of the Latona Basin Fountain on the left and one taken off the Internet on the right.  Even so, the gardens at Versailles were still extremely beautiful even at this time of the year.

We stayed until closing time at 6:30 pm and took lots of photos.  You can see them in the slide show below.  Versailles has so much history and you can find out more at http://www.chateauversailles.fr/en/ or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Versailles.

We set out for our hotel but we were on different freeways than on the way in and, of course, we got lost.  We finally saw a sign that we recognized and found the hotel which was in an isolated area.  We then drove to the next town in search of some French cuisine.  We were tired and hungry and everything was either full or closed so we settled on Le McDonalds and saw our first two story McD's.  By the time we headed back to the hotel, it was dark and we got lost again but the navigator soon found the way home.

Two-story McDonald's in France

Click here for a slide show of Day 52 photos.  We were not allowed to use a flash for most of the photos taken inside the Palace and it was getting dark for the exterior ones, so some of the photos are not as good a quality as usual.

Day 53

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8

Website created by KennyBear Web Designs