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A Free Man (and Woman) in Paris, Unfettered and Alive . . .

A Free Man (and Woman) in Paris, Unfettered and Alive . . .

Jan 29th, 2007, 09:17 AM
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So it was then time for our tour. Talk about a VERY unusual man giving it. He was the perfect French man, he was in his 50’s, had an obvious disdain of the non-french, had the perfect Parisian outfit – Mr. RF and I loved him. And the things he pointed out on the tour were very bizarre – in such a funny way we were very entertained. And everything ended with “do you understand what I mean?” Now, I will give you an example of an area he discussed that was so bizarre and he wouldn’t let up on it and even with kids on the tour. The bathing habits of the Court back in that time. He kept going over and over how the men shaved their entire body and took two baths – one with soap and then changed tubs to rinse off in another; but that women did not shave at all and only took one bath for everything, and had a special bathing outfit to wear during the bath. And he would emphasize it by saying “Men shaved, women didn’t shave. Men two baths, women one – do you understand what I mean?” And he said it so often, Mr. RF and I were trying to not burst out laughing. We even got to see the royal toilets of the time.

Also, this French guide was offended that Versailles has only retained about 10 percent of what was in Versailles “back in the day”. What’s interesting though, no one stole the items, the French sold them. So the reason they are not in Versailles now is because the French wanted money and sold them to private entities. And then this man was VERY offended that these same ingrates would not give the items back.

We also went to the Opera House again, but this time we got to sit on the upper level and got an even better view. We learned that they still hold operas there. I don’t want to tell you this part because I don’t want you to take my tickets; but if you go on-line you can get on a waiting list for tickets to see something there. Also, dignitaries have dinners there – a royal family from Belgium had an event there the week previously. And we also learned that the stage could be expanded by going over the lower seats –I guess this was a huge deal back then.

During this time in the Opera house, we also had question and answer session. And boy, if he did not like your question or thought it was stupid – he had no problem telling you so. We were cracking up over the way he answered people’s questions. And as this was the time the movie “Marie Antoinette” was out so of course someone had to ask about that. I’m not kidding you, the tour guide looked around to make sure no one else from Versailles was there and when he saw no other employees, he told us it was a disgrace; and a horribly inaccurate movie. He was so offended you would have thought the movie was about this mother. And that ended the tour.
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Jan 29th, 2007, 09:18 AM
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There was one complaint I had about Versailles. Because of the “Marie Antoinette” movie, it seemed like most of the souvenirs were geared towards that and very flowery and phoofy, which I am not. So I bought no Versailles souvenirs except two umbrellas, which were very nice; and only 9E each.

We got the umbrellas to go out into the garden. Mr. RF didn’t want to go far; however, because of the rain. But then we got lucky because even though it was not summer, they were still renting golf carts! Yes, they were 28 E per hour; but they were worth every minute; and we had such a blast on them it was the best part of the day! The golf carts also came with an audio tour guide; so when we drove past different spots, the audio would start to tell us about the area. We got to see so much more than we would have otherwise, and it was a blast to drive around the gardens – how many people can say they have driven on the Versailles gardens? I would recommend this part to anyone; and up to four people can ride in it. We went down to Marie Antoinettes Petit Trianon and saw her gardens. I got COUPLE PICTURE # 3 in front of the Temple of Love. We then bee-bopped it around the rest of the gardens, flew by the Grand Trianon as we didn’t have time to stop because of our hour limit; and made it back about 10 minutes over time. Thankfully, they didn’t charge us; but I have a feeling that in the summer, we would have been.

After the joy ride, I then wanted to walk back a bit to get a couple picture in front of Versailles, on the garden side. Mr. RF didn’t want to because he was tired and ready to go – we had been there about 5-6 hours by that time with no lunch. I had something in my arsenal, however. You see, when I saw Versailles back in February, 1993, I was with the guy I was dating at the time; and we had a couple picture in front of Versailles. So I said to Mr. RF, do you want my only picture as a couple in front of Versailles to be a picture with someone who is not you? So needless to say, I got my picture, one with our backs to the Chateau (PICTURE #4) and then one with our backs to the gardens (PICTURE #5).

So then we were ready to go. It was a lovely day, but we had had enough. And we were starving. So we decided that, on the walk back to the station, we would stop for lunch. Well, this was a lovely idea except for the fact that it was 3 p.m. and everything had just closed for that time between lunch and dinner. We finally found a sandwich place and grabbed some to bring on the train. Don’t misunderstand me, it was very good – and I had diet Orangina for the first time which I loved – but I was really looking forward to a sit down meal. Oh well. And I was also disappointed because I had been in Paris for three days and still hadn’t really shopped yet. I only had one more day in which to do it.

So we got back to the train station and took the train home. Then on the metro back to our hotel, we saw the nice American family from Italy who we met at Notre Dame on Thanksgiving – we gave them some directions to the Eiffel Tower; and then we went back to the room and rested before dinner.
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Jan 29th, 2007, 10:29 AM
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