So…continuing where I left off last time, we were now outside the palace and now into the gardens.
Oh look, they knew I was coming and had to announce it in advance:
OK I’m not Chinese, but still kind of funny.
Anyway, back in 2008 when I first came here, this place was beautiful, lively, and breath-taking. This time, it was more gloomy and disappointing. I’ll explain further below, but first let’s take a look at some of the nicer scenery. Notice the change in lighting just from the constantly-changing French weather:
The disappointment was due mainly to the closure of two things. First, this one. They closed off guests to the entire lower courtyard because they’re building something here that looks to me like it’s for a celebrity wedding, fashion show or concert.
Like, WTF? I paid 15 Euros for my ticket, not to mention the train costs. I expect to walk on EVERY… INCH…of these gardens. So pissed. I demand they take that whole thing down.
You can’t see it in the photos, but they had security guards blocking visitors from stepping foot anywhere in the lower courtyard. All my pictures are shot from above.
I thought I could be clever and sneak in by walking down this alternate pathway:
But the guards were there, so all it did was just cause me to walk back up this long set of steps:
And taking pictures off the sides of the steps:
The second disappointment…OK first I’ll show some of my old photos from 2008:
OK, isn’t that just magical and beautiful? Now look at it now:
Like, WTF is this? Why is everything I was looking forward to closed?
This was also closed too, but I stuck my arm through the gate and snapped a photo:
Oh well, there were a few new things.
Like this brilliant sculpture here, consisting of a wall between two rocks. I used to be a creatives arts major. I think this represents mankind’s modern struggle with paying 15 Euros to look at a wall between two rocks.
Oh and I guess there is this new arch thing too:
I think its primary purpose is so that douches like me can do this:
“Ugh, it is sooo heavy pushing the sides out, but not too heavy because I’m still smiling.” (Pay no attention to the belly or the unflattering jeans.)
OK I should stop complaining about the price. Kidding aside, 15 Euros is actually on the cheaper side of doing things in Paris. But still, it’s not every year that one gets to visit Paris. It would be nice if everything was accessible.
Speaking of accessibility, just think, many years ago this expensive place was designed for only kings and queens and other dignified royals to gracefully curtsy and traipse across the courtyards.
Now this is what is going on:
Then we walked all the way down to the main lake. It was a lot of walking. By the way, in case you’re wondering, if you’re less active and more financially-secure, you have the option of renting a golf cart to rove your way across this land.
It took a while but we got closer.
Oh will you look at that? And by that, I mean the power of my zoom lens:
You could rent boats by the lake and sing to your lover.
This scene looked very familiar. I remembered a painting by one of my favorite artists, Georges Seurat:
Now here is the modern-day, slightly less sophisticated version:
By the way, I don’t mean this to offend, but… to the woman in the rowboat, it looks like one end of your boat is sinking deeper than the other. Just thought you might have it, erm…checked out, as a safety precaution…maybe you can put something on the other side to balance it out…just in case, because no one likes to fall into a lake… and uh you know what, I’ll just shut up.
They had really nice tree paths and walkways:
Well, goodbye Versailles.
That night we went to Paris’s Asian district, Place d’Italie (yes, I can’t get over the irony of the name even though I know the explanation for it) and ordered pho again. I swear, my mom is so Vietnamese, we travel all the way to France and all she wants to do all the time is try a Vietnamese restaurant.
At first glance, it looks like your regular bowl of pho. But it tastes very different. We’ve had pho in at least three different popular locations in the city already so I think it’s safe to say, the pho in Paris is weird. The soup doesn’t have the star anise smell and in some places the color was a dark caramel brown. The taste is not close to authentic pho, but more of some odd fusion. (And before you say, “How do you know what is authentic or not?”, I will remind you I visited Vietnam for three weeks a few years ago, so I’m like… totally a super expert on that country now)
And the hoisin sauce in Paris…maybe we’re just unaccustomed to it, but to me it tastes like death. It tastes like liquid black licorice that’s been fermented, with a lingering aftertaste, and I had to use lemon as a chaser. I mean, it’s cool if you’re into that, the places were crowded so they obviously have people who enjoy that kind of taste, but for me, it was not my cup of pho. (See what I did there?)
Afterward we visited the Asian grocery store. This brand is really popular: