Sisk Family European Vacation: Paris, Day 1 – Versailles Part 2
On Wednesday, I told you that we took the train from Paris to Versailles. I also mentioned that after walking forever and ending up at Marie-Antoinette’s estate, we kept wondering where the palace was…well after walking just a little more, we finally found it. Here’s just a little bit of the history
“The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful.”
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I suppose we could have walked straight in through the golden gates, but we were at least a block off with our directions. However, coming in the “back door,” we were able to see Le Grand Canal up close and personal. According to Chateau de Versailles’ website, 
“The Grand Canal is the most original creation of André Le Nôtre who transformed the east-west perspective into a long light-filled sheet of water. The works took eleven years, from 1668 to 1679. The Grand Canal, 1,670 metres long, was the setting for numerous nautical spectacles and many types of craft were sailed on it. In 1669, Louis XIV ordered rowing boats and reduced models of ships. In 1674, the Republic of Venice sent the King two gondolas and four gondoliers who lodged in a suite of buildings at the head of the Canal, since then known as Little Venice. In the summer the King’s fleet sailed along it, while skates and sleighs whizzed over the frozen water of the Grand Canal in winter.”
That shot was taken at approximately 6:00 pm…so the light was absolutely beautiful. And when you turned around…there was THE PALACE!
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So here’s where it gets kinda comical. I am typically a planner – I carry my day planner everywhere…except when I’m on vacation. I guess that part of my brain turns off and I don’t pay attention to what time stuff opens or closes. Apparently, neither does my husband. You’ll also remember that we didn’t even leave to go to Versailles until after lunch…so we’re getting there at roughly 4:30 pm (accounting for probably 45 minutes of walking from the train station). We wasted about an hour and a half walking around Marie-Antoinette’s estate and looking for the palace…so now it is 6 pm. As it turns out, touring closes at 6:30 pm…meaning that if I’m standing at the canal taking the above shot at 6 pm, the chances of me touring the palace in 30 minutes are impossible.
However, we don’t know that yet…so we walk our happy little butts up to the ticket counter and ask for two tickets to get into the palace (the ticket counter was at the end of the walkway up to the palace). We’re told that it closes in 30 minutes and that it doesn’t make sense for us to pay. We say thank you and walk away….I throw a mini hissy fit. My husband tries to calm me and I ask if I can have a moment of immaturity…that moment is granted (insert mental image of Ashley acting like a four year old).
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I finally get over myself and we’re walking back up the long, beautiful path to the main road. Out of curiosity, I wander over to the side to see what is going on behind a set of gates…this curiosity leads us to another set of gates with another ticket counter. Playing the “I’m a stupid American card,” we tell the guy at the gate that we know we’re too late to tour the inside of the palace but wonder if there’s any chance we can just walk the gardens. Much to our surprise (and we would have known this if we’d planned ahead), the gardens are open to the public FOR FREE after 6:30 pm. All we have to do is wait about 10 minutes. We wait.
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At 6:30 pm, we’re told we can go in. You should have seen our faces…we looked like a couple of kids who just got a free ticket to an all you can eat candy buffet. My husband took over the camera bag and we took off. Can you even imagine living during this time period…big fluffy dresses and all?
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Sure, I’m a little bummed that I didn’t see the inside of the palace – but I probably wouldn’t have been able to take many pictures inside (my photos from inside Marie-Antoinette’s estate are pretty dark…and in a lot of cases they ask that you don’t take any pictures). I’ll just be sure to do a little more reading, watching on YouTube and looking through the photos at this website: click HERE (on the left, slideshow).

I’m just glad we were able to capture some photos from the outside of the palace. The gardens were gorgeous…although I didn’t seem to be much interested in flowers. I was much more captivated with the beautiful French architecture and sculptures. The above photo is actually a very small piece, but for whatever reason, I really liked the detail in their faces. Mouse-over to see another perspective.
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In addition to the beautiful architecture of the palace itself, Venet a Versailles, a sculpture exhibit was on display. These sculptures were modern and yet fitted perfectly within the landscape.

After at least an hour walking around the gardens, we decided that we better head back to the train station before it got too dark (we didn’t want to be stuck at Versailles considering we didn’t know much French nor did we know our way around…we also didn’t have many Euros). Walking out meant that we walked through the entrance. We had one of those DUH moments…how did we miss all of this? Of course we spent a little longer taking pictures of those beautiful golden gates – La Grille d’ Honneur. Mouse-over to see an alternate view of my husband.
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One thing is for sure…I definitely want to go back when we can have a lot more time. We must have been crazy to think that we could cover all of Versailles in a couple of hours. Then again, we must have been crazy to think that we could cover both London and Paris within seven days. Anyways, that’s all I have for today. I’ll pick up our vacation photos next week with Paris, Day Two…the Louvre! 
By the way, Maryvel at A Moment in Time is hosting a new weekend photo challenge. I believe she’d like you to post just one of your favorite photos (which as you can tell, I’m going to have a very hard time doing at least for a couple more weeks). However, my issues are just that…my issues, so be sure to check her out.

Also, I am STILL having issues with Google Reader. It is just not updating feeds as regularly as it should so I feel like I’m unintentionally missing out on a lot of good messages. I will do my best to visit at least those who visit me (until it’s fixed…and then of course it will dump everyone’s feed into Google Reader all at once….and then I’ll get overwhelmed and click mark all as read, etc), but I apologize if for some reason I don’t visit for a while. I promise…it’s not my fault.Anyways, have a great weekend!

    Wow these are stunning!! I love the post processing in each and every photo. What a beautiful place to visit.

    Ashley, these photos are gorgeous! I love the color. To me they look like postcards. Beautiful! I’m enjoying sharing your vacation. I’ve never been but would love to one day. Have a great weekend!

    Absolutely stunning! I just blogged a photo of Hank as a ring bearer at my BIL’s wedding…..they were engaged at Versailles last year….thanks for taking me on a beautiful photographic tour!!!

    Oh my goodness! Gorgeous and you did an amazing job and sharing it with us! Simply stunning!

    The photos are gorgeous! I was in Versailles once, and as silly as it sounds, my most vivid memory of the inside is that it smelled like burnt chocolate. To this day, that smell puts a picture of standing in the long hallway back in my head!

    Breath-taking. SO much beauty looking from the outside only. Wonderful photos Ashley, as always. It would be wonderful to live a while in England and Europe.

    Wow, gorgeous pics – I really need to go there one day! :-)

    Versailles is gorgeous and I’m sorry but you should know it will take time like whole day or two if you want to joy it really without getting too tired:) I’m so sorry you didn’t get inside but hey it has been there so long that it will wait you to come another time, right:)
    I love the pictures, especially the wide one where you can see the garden and realize the whole greatness of that time.

    Such beautiful colours – gorgeous. You’ve made me want to hop on the Eurostar and nip over to see it! By the way, if you’re ever over here again you should go see Chatsworth House in Derbyshire – lovely place.

    Simply, WOW!

    Amazing captures! It really is lovely, huh?

    Ashley ~ really nice HDR!


    I am wishing I could jump through the screen and end up in the canoe floating along the canal.

    Funny story too, but it looks as though you got to see sooo much.

    Oh too bad that you didn’t get into the Palace but the garden photos are beautiful! Very cool “mouse over” shots.

    Ah.Mazing! Sure does make we want to take a European vacation sometime in the my lifetime. My parents just got back from a Mediterranean cruise in which they got to see Rome and Pompeii among other places. Between the two of you, I am definitely getting the itch to travel.

    what a beautiful trip and awesome memories!!!! glad you were able to capture the gardens.

    xoxo have a blessed weekend

    Absolutely gorgeous photos Ashley! I’ve just been through all your Europe photos (I’ve been sick, boo hoo) and they’re amazing, makes me want to visit now!

    I’ve been in Paris a couple of times, but I’ve never been in Versailles…your pics are so beautiful that they make me want to go!!

    These are stunning! you captured so many great details! I love the way you posted this! and the roll overs of different perspectives was so cool!! Loving your vacation!! ;)

    Such gorgeous pictures! So glad you got into the gardens. Travel is always and adventure isn’t it? You never know what is going to happen! Glad that you were able to make the best of the little snafu’s!

    Isn’t Versaille so incredible?! I love it. I was just a tad disappointed with Marie Antoinette’s castle but otherwise Versaille…and the gardens are some of my absolute favorites!

    Oh you got the gate! I LOVE that gate! Beautiful, beautiful place! ANd that “god” your husband is taking a picture of, is totally where I stopped and stood! We’re close in so many ways!!!!! SNIFF!

    Ashley, I love how you processed the photos. It is truly a beautiful place and majestic, which you have so finely captured here. Such a bummer not to get in … but then that gives you an excuse to go back!

    I love these, so stunning, I am loving you PP on everything lately!! The palace is just gorgeous and you captured it perfectly.

    LOVE! Really, you just have another reason to go back! I went to Versailles when I was in high school and an entire day there was not enough time at all. The place is another world! Your photo looking down to the gardens and grand canal is awesome – you captured the enormity of the grounds so well.

    Awesome shots. I love your processing. What did you use? It is really awesome.

    WOW – great pictures – what a journey !!!

    Amazing shots!!!!! I love the one with the gold doors! And I have the same exact trouble too planning time when I am on vacation! :)

    Loved reading your post and looking at the gorgeous images. Beautiful as always, all of them… your processing is so good and fitting for each image. Heavenly light in the first image; love the sculptures in b&w.

    Your photos have pushed me into wanting a European vacation. Like now.

    OK, it’s time to talk lenses now that you’re back from vacation. Did you find that your 28-75 lens worked well for your trip? You captured some AMAZING photos. I’ve got some extra cash saved up & I’m ready to go shopping. Feel free to respond here or email me at theshortlong at gmail dot com.

    Wow – Wow – Wow! The photos are stunning. It looks like a wonderful trip…thank you for sharing it with us!

    So much jealous.

    I’ve been to Versailles. Lovely. Well, I thought it was eh when I went (I was 17). But, I really knew it was amazing.

    I never get tired of looking at pictures of the castle. It really is amazing. Can you image having to look at that view everyday. :) Beautiful. Are you using a particular action for these pics? V

    le sigh


    I’m bummed you didn’t get inside too.

    Wow, that palace is HUGE. You captured the gardens beautifully! And I would have reacted the same, with a 4-year old tantrum. ;)

    Your first shot of the gardens is spectacular – what an amazing experience. Congratulations on the live every moment recognition – well deserved.

    Gorgeous! I am crazy about the one looking through the circle sculpture. Super angle!

    Wow indeed! Gosh they do look like postcards! You did such a good job with such a massive subject.

    My fav is the fountain shot :)

    *sigh* I just enjoyed my mini vacation again. :)

    such goreous images. Makes me think of Vienna. I must get to Paris and spend more than an hour in the airport! Your photos make me long for Europe and the people there.

    WOW!!! These are AMAZING! I can see you would have a hard time picking just one as a favourite! Love your post-processing! I have to say, I love the way you got the palace through that big hoop, VERY clever! Thanks so much for spreading the word about my new link-up, you are way to sweet! and of course, THANKS for joining us!

    Again, loving these!

    Wow, I almost don’t have to go now. I did say almost, right? A wonderful series of photographs.

    So beautiful. You did a great job capturing it!

    Amazing…you have such a gift, both photography and words! Have a great weekend.


    Amazing! You have the most beautiful colors in your photos!

    These are truly stunning. I have been to Paris but wasn’t able to stay in France long enough to visit Versailles. I hope to one day!

    When a door closes another world opens for you. Literary! Wonderful photography!!

    Have you talked about the processing you are doing here? Because it is amazing!

    Stunning! The light in all of them is beautiful. The first one is exquisite. Thank you for sharing!

    Stunning…you really made me wanne go there!

    WOW! I LOVED being able to mouse over those photos and see another perspective – that was brilliant!

    WOW! I LOVED being able to mouse over those photos and see another perspective – that was brilliant!

    J’aime beaucoup Paris. xxx


    wow, wow, wow, wow, and wow!


    Stunning, gorgeous, marvelous, awesome!

    Wow! Your photography is inspiring!

    these could be postcards! awesome views! found your blog via Kat’s…

    These photos ROCK! That first one is ridiculous….like your sailing into the beautiful unknown. LOVE it!!!! boy, this is making me want a vacation terribly bad. Darn you Ashley!!!! :)

    Wow!! Those are all amazing. The one above the mouseover statue shot is absolutely gorgeous.

    I love that shot of the canal..the lighting is brilliant! Well, now you have a reason to go back, right?? :)

    I think this is my favorite set of vaca photos so far. I love them all. I had to laugh a little imagining you having a small hissy fit over not getting in, although I’m sure it was not funny to you.

    These are AWESOME!!!!

    I was in France back in 2001 and when I went to Versailles I never got to enter the palace either! But that was because there was a huge labor strike going on, ha ha ha. I did get to tour the gardens though (dunno why we got to do that, EVERYTHING else was completely closed down), and it was beyond beautiful. Your pictures remind me of it, and it makes me smile.