Last night, we booked tickets for the Palace of Versailles and the only tickets left were for the 14:15 time slot. For this reason we decided to give ourselves the morning off after a jam-packed 3 days of walking around Paris. We slept in late and took our time getting ready for the day. We looked through the photos that we had already taken during our holiday and planned out the remaining time we had left in Paris.
We left the hotel at 12:00 to buy some snacks for the journey out of Paris to the Palace of Versailles. We head to the Metro, jumped onto line 9 and head for République station and changed to line 8 to head for Invalides Station so that we could change onto the C-line train for the Palace of Versailles. But the universe had other ideas for us...
Our journey to Bonne Nouvelle station had been smooth but there was an unusually long wait at this particular station. Passengers were all talking, and there was a little bit of commotion but then the smell of burning rubber wafted through the train followed by a thick grey smoke, the sound of an alarm, and ab.so.lute chaos. There was shoving, shouting, fear and confusion by the fact that there was smoke coming from either the tunnel we had just come from or from the last train car.
We stood on the platform, while the smoke from the back of the train filled the air, and waited for further instruction from train staff members. We all realised that the problem was more serious than we had previously thought when the train driver got out of his carriage with his suitcase and walked up the stairs and out of the station. The entire line was shut down and no trains were going to run for the rest of the day. Dillon and I tried to find another station to catch another train to our destinations, but the closure had not only affected line 8 but it also affected the only other line (line 9) that we could take to Invalides. No other train stations were in a reasonable walking distance. So now what??
Being as pressed for time as what we were, we decided to order an Uber to Invalides so that we could be in time for the train to Versailles-Château-RG. I wish I could say that the money we spent on the Uber ride was worth it, and that we made it to the Palace in time, but I can't. The Uber ride added another 25 minutes onto our already long journey and we were officially late for the time slot that we had booked for the Palace of Versailles. All of the commotion and Uber ride had added an extra hour on our journey out of the city.
Even though the over ground train from the city to the Palace of Versailles was an uncomfortably long ride with no aircon, I love seeing the suburban areas of France.
The ticket office, through whom we bought the online tickets, was thankfully not a far walk from the train station. We rushed to the ticket office in hopes that our 30 minute late arrival would go unnoticed. While we could still go into the Palace, we missed our opportunity to be escorted beyond the line and had to stand in line to get into the Palace. Thankfully, the line was short.
We saw the King and Queen apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, the Gallery of Great Battles (this was by far our favourite), and the coronation room.
Sadly, because we arrived as late as what we did, we were not able to explore the gardens (which I hear are magnificent). So once we had walked through the Palace museum, and seen all that was still open, we made our way back to the train station to head back to our hotel. Thinking about it now, I am still upset that our day turned out as chaotic as what it did, but missing the gardens definitely gives us a reason to go back to France one day.
We got back to the city just before 20:00 and decided to see if we could use the metro to head back to our hotel. Our hope was that the issues we had experienced at Bonne Nouvelle had been cleared up and we could pass through that particular station again. Thankfully we could, and our journey back to the hotel was not as stressful as the one to the Palace of Versailles. Before heading off to bed, we had dinner at Le Bistrot du Peintre and just watched the Parisians go about their evening.