It’s April in Sydney, and Autumn is upon us. The trees outside my window bend and bow in the terror of the great north wind, as he bellows and shakes them to and fro. There are heavy clouds as far as the eye can see, their pregnant bellies bursting with a haze of downpour, shrouding the world outside with a vaporous fog. Shadows grow across the land. Dusk falls quicker these days.
My mind wanders to an identical scene, on the other side of the world, exactly a year ago today. It was springtime in Paris, and everything was wet. We were treated to highs of 12 degrees by day, and close to freezing by night. My toes were wrinkled and damp inside my three layers of sock and boots. My nose wept constantly, even when wrapped night-rider style under a scarf. My jeans were sticky and cold against my bum and legs from sitting on the rain-drenched seat of our scooter. It was wet, wet, wet… a typical Parisian Spring.
“What do you do when you’re caught in the middle of a springtime downpour”, you ask? These are my top tips to surviving Paris in the Rain.
The Château de Versailles is a name that brings to my mind both the pinnacle, and the demise of the French monarchy. It is simultaneously the most glorious of all palaces, golden and gargantuan as the centerpiece of the town of Versailles… as well as the most shameless; the most decadent and indulgent trophy home of it’s time.
We visit on a cold, wet and grey Autumn day (not too dissimilar from today in fact). Funny – the way I always end up at this palace in the rain… still, it sets the mood, as the stormclouds gather above, casting a rather fitting, grim shadow over the dark history of Versailles.
While it is a sight not to be missed when visiting France, the buildings that comprise the Château de Versailles and their surrounding grounds require serious planning if you intend to cover it all in a single day. The palace alone spans 67,000m2, before you even get to the gardens – which more than doubles the distance you have to cover. So believe me when I say you’ll need every minute of daylight afforded to you, and you’ll need to use it wisely.
The following are 9 simple suggestions for an itinerary which I hope will help make your visit an efficient and memorable one.