Château de Versailles, France
It takes about an hour and half to fly from Prague to Paris, yet in our case, it took one whole day. My friend and I were on separate flights which were originally scheduled within 15 mins of arrival from each other. What happened was my friend’s flight got delayed. First by 40 mins then by 3 hours in total. Our terminals were far from each other but good thing we stuck with the plan – to meet by the RER station. It was hard being abroad and not having unlimited access on your phone. Anyway, after getting Paris Pass and several trips back and forth to airport TI, we decided to take the RER to get to our apartment – wrong choice!!! We didn’t anticipate the stairs that we would be taking, we had a total of 3 transfers. If you saw 2 girls lugging around big suitcases in Paris Metro late August, that’s probably us. To make matters worst, the guy who owned the apartment we were renting was not reachable until an hour later. We didn’t get the keys until 9pm. Our last meal was 8am in Prague.
The next day was our first big day in Paris. On our IT, we were going to Versailles, first thing in the am, then go to Rodin then other sites that will allow us.
This is my 3rd time in Versailles, the first two times were light years ago. Yet when I was there, I did remember some bits and pieces. I remember being really cold the last time I was there. I also remembered me and my brothers playing around while waiting in line. I’m glad I went back, and now able to appreciate it with more mature eyes.
We went to the Grand Trianon after, and followed a guide book that said we can exit Versailles not going back to the main entrance but we got lost. Very lost. This is when our luck began to change. We ask an older man if he can help us figure out where we were. Realizing there were no metro stations or buses in sight, and walking back will mean at least another 50 mins under the French summer heat, he offered to drive us to the train station. It was a big favor for us and grabbed the opportunity as we were both tired and hungry. So we hopped on to his small car and he drove us back, a 15 minute ride, to the RER station.
They said Parisians are rude. I would be the first person to say that this is a misconception. Like any big city, Paris is made up of millions of people and there might be some who wouldn’t help out any other tourist, but it’s not a characteristic of the residents of the city, it’s an attitude of a person. We were lucky that throughout our week-long Parisian stay, we have met the most helpful and wonderful locals tourists could ever ask for. It all starts with what we learned when we were kids – being polite. A little Bonjour and Merci goes a long way.
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A perpetual dreamer, an eternal nomad and a Francophile at heart.