Friday, May 13, 2011

Thursday 12 May - Versailles

Google managed to lose today's blog so I am having to do it all over.

Versailles is easy to get to from the 17th.  There is a train every 15 minutes from St. Lazare which takes 30 minutes.  From Versailles Rive Droite it is a twenty minute walk to the Chateau.  There is a free bus transfer from Rive Gauche station but it is an interesting walk through the town and its four market buildings.

Having visited Versailles many times we only wanted to see the gardens so we went in through a side entrance.  Although there must have been about 80 tour buses in the car park, the tourists only go to see the Chateau and very few venture beyond the area at the bottom by the lake.
Not a tourist in sight

Staff were laying out the beds for plants.
The fountains have not yet been turned on and staff were only just putting out the bedding plants so there was not as much colour as we had expected.

We walked down to the bottom to the boat rental area., pausing to take advantage of the granite toilets.  Using a granite urinoir is pure luxury.

At the boat dock there was a family of ducks as well as a swan and a coot on nests.  The swan was using sticks provided by the staff.  The coots were pretty aggressive toward the swans who had three eggs in their nest.  There were many large fish breaking the surface in the area but these seemed to be carp so I doubt if they would have been interested in eating ducklings.
Aggressive coot

The ducklings kept pretty close to each other

A couple of twigs improved the nest
A Fowl Lunch
Lunch was at one of out favourite restaurants, la Flotille.
I started with foie gras and then had the declinaison de canard.  The plate showed duck breast and duck leg with potatoes.  However, when opened, the potato revealed duck meat.  Mary had a salade with smoked salmon and sauteed crevettes followed by veal with mustard sauce and blue potatoes.  With a bottle of Saumur this made a memorable meal.
Duck and duck

A plate for a canardophile like me - duck, duck and duck.
Blue potatoes added a splash of colour to Mary's meal
After lunch we decided to walk down the meal and went around the man-made lake.  This is deceptive as it is in the shape of a cross and the total distance is around seven kilometres round.  Only local people, children on biles etc., make this.  It is very pleasant but with the straight lines of the grass and trees it is not a particularly interesting walk.  We came across a pair of swans who had seven eggs in a nest.
Half way around

Three quarters of the way around

Seven-eighths of the way around

On the last leg
The Orangerie
The bedding plants have been put out but need to be removed from their pots, planted and watered in.
A view over the Orangerie was an indication that we had made it round the lake and we paused to look at the staff who were setting out the bedding plants according to a very complicated plan.
Click below to see all pictures

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