• Crowds, Culture, and Cuisine: the Ancient and Modern City

Versailles and Notre Dame

Going to Versailles was eye-opening for all of us. The sheer size of the building is very overwhelming at first. As we entered we little audio guide headsets that would tell us about all the different rooms and paintings as we got to them. Everything is so luxurious and beautiful that you have absolutely no ideas here to begin. My personal favorite room was the Hall of Mirrors. This was a beautiful hallway that consisted of seventeen tall archways tha overlooked the gardens outside. Directly across from each of the arches are twenty-one mirrors tha reflect all light that comes into the hallway. The ceilings are painted with gold and are decorated very royally. From the I ceiling hang dozens of beautiful chandeliers that also catch and reflect light as you walk in. Just walking down the hallway you could just feel the elegance and beauty of everything around you in the hall. After leaving the palace, we entered the gardens. These are definitely no ordinary gardens! These gardens surrounded this palace on three sides. When we walked out into the gardens we could see numerous fountains and a long walkway lined with trees and bushes that were groomed perfectly. As we walked around to the back side of palace we found the deep channel that was dug for the estate. This was amazing to see how they had dug out this huge, long channel that seemed to go on forever. We looked at our map and it told us from the palace to the tip of the other end of the channel is an hour walk. I had an amazing time exploring everything outside but unfortunately it was very cold so we did not get to see as much of the garden as I had wanted.

 After leaving Versailles a small group of us decided to go back to fid our way to the city on our own. We made our way back to the train station and went to the desk and tried to ask for a ticket to get back to Paris. The woman behind the desk did not speak much English and said that the cost was 185 euros. I am sure tha our faces were priceless because we just stood there completely speechless. We were just starting to turn away when she corrected herself and said that it was only one Euro and eighty-five cents. We all breathed a sigh of relief and got our tickets to the train back to Paris.

Once got back we we starving and decided to head down to the Latin Quarter to get a good meal. It is hilarious to find palace to eat because all of the restaurant have people standing out front competing for your business with other restaurants by giving discounts, free dessert, and other perks. One of the people outside told us we cod get drinks and a three course meal for ten Euros. We were sold. On the menu was escargot and I dared people in our group to order it. No one took me up on the dare and I decided to be the brave soul to get it. When it arrived I had a sudden change of heart and lost all confidence I had when I first ordered it. I finally mustered up the courage to try it, so I picked up the snail, forked out the meat and popped it into my mouth. I wish I could say this was a story of me trying a new food and it being surprisingly amazing. However, that would not be the case. I ended up finishing my plate, but endless to say that it will be the last time I order escargot. Regardless, I am very happy with my decision because I got to try new French food while I was here.

Finally we made our way across the river Seine to Notre Dame. As we walked in, the church was astounding. The ceilings were very tall and there were many different stained glass windows all around us. As we came to the center of the church we had a very pleasant surprise of an orchestra and a choir singing right in front of the altar. It was seriously one of the most amazing sounds I have ever heard in my life. We were standing in the back and the sounds of the instruments and voices of choir resonated off the walls like you would not believe. I was stunned and ended up standing there listening for quite some time. Between the amazing architecture of the church and the beautiful decoration inside and the amazing music that was being played and sung, Notre Dame was definitely one of the coolest things I have experienced in the course.