Well it’s Monday morning and I’m back in the internet cafe and doing the job application dance. Still not much in the way of positive responses yet though. I’ve sent off my application for the antiquities transportation job with a better than usual cover letter so hopefully that should perk up some interest.
The weekend was quite pleasant. On the Saturday we took a train off the Versailles. We got off to a bit of a late start, but the trip out is not that long, about 40 minutes or so on the RER C line. Our biggest problem was getting tickets.
My credit card has not seemed to work once on the automatic machines that let you buy the more expensive tickets and I never seem to have enough change on me to get carnets of tickets or pricier ones. Once I did actually find a machine that took notes, though Annmarie noticed it and I almost missed it. It was one of those amusing situations which went something like this:
Me: “Hmm, my credit card never works in these things and I don’t have enough change.”
Annmarie: “Why don’t you just use notes?”
Me: “These things don’t take notes … hang on … Oh! I see.”
So we needed to go find a ticket counter to get tickets. We found one that was closed checked the machines and went and found another one, that closed for lunch the moment we got there. There was a lady there that informed us that there was another counter upstairs. We had come from upstairs and so it seemed she was telling us to back. We did but they were still closed.
After about ten more minutes of walking around we found our way to yet another desk, that was in the metro section rather than the RER and was up then downstairs. Still, we got the tickets and onto the train and were on our way.
The town is absolutely lovely. Despite being a very popular tourist destination, they all seemed to stay up at the chateau so the town itself was fairly devoid of them. The full tour of the chateau would take up most of the day anyway so I guess there wouldn’t be much time for town walking as well.
We took the opposite view and did town walking and collected some supplies for a picnic. Just the basics, traditional baguette, cheese and raspberries to accompany the salad we had brought with us. Unfortunately I didn’t find any small bottles of wine to bring along, mais, c’est la vie. We made our way into the outer gardens of the chateau (the free parts) and had our picnic surrounded by other French families doing the same. The bread and cheese was just marvelous.
After eating we wandered into the actual gardens of the chateau. We saw the basin of Neptune and the grille du dragon (gate of the dragons). We then wandered further into the grounds towards the displays of fountains where there was supposed to be a concert of some sort. Both fortunately and unfortunately, it was just coming onto five o’clock at that point. Fortunate as we discovered that at around five access to the gardens became free and unfortunate as the concert finished at five.
The grounds were spectacular and we only saw a very small part of them. We stopped off for a coffee at one of the cafes in the gardens, then headed back to the train station. Overall a rather relaxing day.
The Sunday was a late start with nothing much to do in the morning. After lunch we took another RER train, the A line this time, off to a place called Chatou. It’s a spot about 30 minutes west of Paris and is just a quiet little suburb that used to be a town. There are some lovely French maisons there and in particular a Steiner school that Annmarie wanted to see. We again took some salad with us and bought baguettes to make a picnic lunch by the river. No cheese or wine this time though, but still it was nice. Less impressive than Versailles, but very relaxing all the same.