As previously mentioned, this weekend the family’s previous Au Pair Ruth came to visit. It was lovely to finally meet Ruth in person, as she was incredibly helpful during the run up of my arrival in Paris. As well as going to Jay Z and Beyonce on the Saturday night (have I already mentioned how amazing they were!?), on Sunday morning we headed over to a local ‘Flea Market’. On this occasion I think the description ‘Flea Market’ is a little off, probably a glorified car boot sale (with out the cars or their boots…) would suffice. Anyway, we spent a good hour looking around, and items that were on sale varied a great deal. There was the usual, such as books, old clothes and toys. However, the odd stall was selling some very interesting stuff. One woman had boxes and boxes of free fur for sale. I was really tempted to buy one that could act as a throw for my chair (for €20, that’s not too bad), but I think my conscience altered me to the fact that maybe it wasn’t a very moral thing to do.
I eventually ended up buying some English books for the children, and two little bowls for my room – one made from Brittany in ’77, and another from an unknown Arabic country.
After Ruth and I had finished looking around the stalls and had lunch, we ventured on our bikes to Versailles. Versailles is not too far away from Garches, and I have to drive there every day to pick up the children from their respective schools. Therefore, it has become a place that I am somewhat familiar with.
However, there was one main attraction of Versailles that I had not yet encountered, and that was the Palace of Versailles. As we cycled through the streets of Versailles, we turned a corner and Ruth yelled from in front, “Look to the right”. And there it was. The Palace. It was not at all what I was expecting, but then again, I don’t know what I was expecting! It was rammed though. I have never in my life seen so many coaches, which were full of tourists coming from Paris for the day to look around. And in the pictures below you can just see how many people there were – the queues were huge! I thought I had seen the biggest queues in my life at Disney Land California, but I was wrong! Versailles won by a mile (literally).
We decided not to go in to the Palace that day, as during the week it is much quieter, which I think we can all agree would make for a more pleasant an encounter! Normally, one is able to work freely around the Palace gardens without having to pay, but because of the high tourist season and the fact that there were different events and shows taking place in the grounds, this meant that there was a high a price if we wanted to have a wander. So, we declined. I have all year to come here, and spend my hours looking around (hopefully with the absence of all these tourists as well). Instead we wandered around the city itself, which was great because although I am here everyday with the children, I have never properly encountered it for myself.