Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Le Tour de France part one. Versailles

Bonjour
In August I joined a group of enthusiasts who were touring France. The tour was in Central and Western France. The mode of transport was Adam Conner's 1965 Routemaster. Adam had already successfully toured Scotland in 2013 and Ireland in 2014.
Unfortunately due to work I was unable to join the tour the tour at the start, but I was able to meet the group departing Reading on Friday 7 August on a sunny morning, and Adam kindly allowed me to put my rucksack on the bus, saving me carrying it around on the following Sunday when I met the group in Versailles.
Early on the Sunday morning 9 August I caught the 10.24 Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord. The day was hot and quite muggy. From Gare du Nord I travelled by Metro to Gare Montparnasse. While walking through the station to catch a regional train I met Ruby Landen who is an American singer-songwriter and Ruby was busking. We had a little chat, then I bought Ruby's CD which she was selling. Her music is blues-folk and is very pleasant. However while busking Ruby played a Sam Cooke classic. 
(Photo of Ruby Landen)
I took the regional train to Versailles' one of many stations and walked along the quiet streets to the Palace of Versailles. As it was August many of the shops were closed as the owners like many Parisians take their annual holiday.
When I arrived at the palace the queues to enter the palace were very long, but I had been in touch with Adam and we arranged to visit the gardens. The gardens are extensive and full of statues, fountains and lawns. I soon found Adam and the rest of the group and I stayed with the group for the rest of the afternoon. 
A statue of Neptune in Versailles Palace gardens
Faune Borghese

A view of the extensive gardens of Versailles

Versailles Palace and Gardens
Geometric lawns (Versailles) 

After spending a couple of hours we all walked into the town and found a cafe with outdoor seating. This cafe was the Pizzeria Capri.


We were made very welcome by the a young waitress called Nanou who attended to us while we had our supper.
I had a cabonara and a large cup of cherry flavoured ice cream sundae. I also had a glass of Kronenbourg later.
After supper we took a train to La Defence and an RER suburban service to Clergy
Waiting by the train at one of Versailles stations with Stephen, Nick and Brandon

Street art (Clergy, near Paris)

More street art (Clergy near Paris)

Adam had already booked the hotels and this hotel was part of the group Balladines. However this hotel was not to the standard we expected. The hotel was 'tired' musty and their was no air-conditioning. I was meant to be sharing but the room I was allocated to share was a 'double' my co-guest asked for a twin. He was given a double and as the staff did not bother to swap we both had a double room each.



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