“Meet me at the Croix de Berny train station at 1” was my only instruction from my friend Pablo. He told me he had a surprise in store. I took the RER train out of Paris into the suburbs and hopped in his car. We caught up on life (four years since I had seen him!) as he drove to La Defense, our intended destination. Unfortunatley we couldn’t find a parking spot so we decided to head to Versailles instead.
Around 20 km southwest of Paris, Versailles was the center of political power in 1682 when Louis XIV moved the monarchy there. The royal fam moved back to the captial at the beginning of the French Revolution.
Amazing art, architecture, and history. The whole building is like walking through an ornate textbook on the history of France. There are rooms dedicated to Greek gods and goddesses, portraits of politicians, and hallways with the busts of famous French intellectuals. Descartes, Molliere, the whole gang. Pablo gave me a great informal tour. Your standard tour guide doesn’t usually compare Marie Antoinette to Paris Hilton or talk about the secret passageways used by the king to visit his mistresses. My favorite room was definitely the “Galerie des Glaces”, the Hall of Mirrors. Stunning glass chandeliers line this long room that has mirrors on all the walls. Plus windows that give a great view of the gardens.
Here’s a pic looking through the ornate gates! And check out that blue sky! FINALLY SOME SUNSHINE! 🙂
Spent my Saturday evening cheering on PSG at Parc des Princes. PSG (Paris Saint-Germain) is the Paris football club and that night they were up against Evian, a team from the Swiss border that isn’t as great. For whatever reason, I happened to be the only girl from my program who signed up to go!
Our group of 7 entered the stadium after being patted down by security. Apparently in the past there were major problems with rioting fans and out of control crowds, so alcohol is now banned at games. Nevertheless, the crowd was living it up- on their feet and cheering the whole time. Good thing we were jumping and moving around because it was FREEZING. Below zero (Celcius, that is.) Our group of Americans loved figuring out the different cheers… “Paris es magique” is one, as well as “Rentrez chez vous” (Go back to your home), said to the other team at the end of the game when we were winning. Evian scored the first goal but then PSG scored 3! Yeaaaaaaaah! After each goal the crowd would go wild and swing their scarves in the air. The team anthem is Go West by Pet Shop Boys. Couldn’t really catch the French lyrics, but here’s a YouTube vid of the stadium and the crowd singing!