Ariel in Paris #7: Versailles and Food Adventures

Hey everyone! In keeping with the theme of talking about things I did last weekend in this weekend’s blog post, today I’m going to be talking about my day trip to Versailles, which I went on last Friday. I’m doing this, partly because Versailles was really cool and I wanted to talk about it, but also because I needed to write this post early in order to have a chance of it going up on time.

You see, as you are reading this (assuming you’re reading this on the day it went up), I am currently on a day trip to Normandy with my school, and tomorrow I will be going to Rouen, France with one of my friends. With all that going on, I knew I wouldn’t have time to write, format, and post this update the day of, like I normally do. So that’s why I’m writing this a couple of days before it’s supposed to go up. I’ll probably talk about Rouen and Normandy in next week’s post, which will also have to be written early, but I’ve already spent too long talking about boring logistics you probably don’t care about, so I’ll leave that explanation for next week.

Let’s talk about what the point of this post is: Versailles.

Here’s some pictures from the castle itself:

I finally got around to going there, after telling myself that I would pretty much since I came to Paris, and once I got there, I was actually kind of underwhelmed.

Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful, of course, and it’s wild to think that at one point, people actually lived there. Everything inside the palace was so over-the-top, it was crazy. And outside the palace, in the gardens—that didn’t underwhelm me at all. They were huge, and I was surprised at how much there was to do. We probably could have easily spent a whole day or two just wandering around the gardens.

I don’t really know what it was about the castle itself that underwhelmed me, but I think maybe it’s because during my time here, I’ve seen so many beautiful things, so many incredible feats of architecture, that when I went to see Versailles, it honestly felt like I’d seen all of it before. I know that probably sounds incredibly privileged, and it’s because, well, I am privileged. I’m so incredibly blessed to have had this opportunity to come here and study in this place that I’ve dreamed of coming to for so long, and I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had here for anything.

I guess another way to describe my reaction, for anyone reading this who also reads this blog for my bookish content, is that thing that sometimes happens where a new book comes out and everyone in the community hypes it up so much that when you finally read it, you’re disappointed. It’s not because the book is bad, per se, but simply because your expectations were so high that it was practically impossible for the book to ever reach them, let alone surpass them. That’s kind of what going to Versailles was like for me.

It was beautiful and fun and I can certainly understand why other people are awestruck by it, but I’d just hyped it up so much in my head that it would have been nearly impossible for the reality to match the picture I’d had in my head.

With that being said, the gardens really were incredible. There were live animals and a little village and a place where my friend and I bought sorbet and then fed the last little bit of the cones to the ducks and pigeons (I got raspberry and she got mango, in case you were curious). Everything was so green, and although parts of it felt like we were walking through a wild, untamed field, there was always an air of purpose. All of the plants were there for a reason, all the pathways purposefully planned out. It was a fascinating mixture of chaos and order. I adored it.

Here’s some pictures:

We spent practically the whole day wandering the gardens, only leaving when the place was about to close and we didn’t have a choice but to leave.

Then began the food adventures part of this post. Once we got back to Paris, we were hungry, having not really eaten lunch (unless sorbet counts). We’d been previously talking about food and how, even though French food is of course incredible, we missed some of the kinds of foods that are really easy to find in the U.S., but not so easy to find here in Paris—like Mexican food, for example, or Tex Mex. So, we decided that we wanted to go see what Mexican food is like in France. My friend searched up a Mexican food restaurant and we headed over.

We were the very first customers there, and also the only customers in the restaurant for a good portion of our meal. I ordered a chicken quesadilla, she ordered some tacos, and I probably should have known better than to order something that would have a lot of cheese in it. When the quesadilla came out, it was good, but it wasn’t the kind of taste I tend to expect from a quesadilla, mostly because of the cheese. It wasn’t that sharp kind of cheesy taste that, in my mind, a quesadilla should have, but a taste that was sweeter and softer.

I don’t know what the tacos tasted like, but my friend said they were good, so I just have to take her word for it.

Once we finished our meal, we had some trouble trying to attract the waiter to our table for the bill (something that, at this point, I’ve just come to accept will be a constant issue here in France), but finally, we managed it, and then we left to head home.

The next day, I met up with the same friend and a couple others to go and eat at a restaurant on a boat on the Seine. I know, that sounds really bougie, and under normal circumstances it probably would be. But in this situation, it was a boat that is permanently docked, and which is designed for students to eat at. There are several student cafeterias/restaurants like this throughout Paris, but this one just so happens to be located on a boat.

It was only like 4 euros, and there was a pretty good amount of food—not only that, but the food was actually good, which I can’t always say for the food at the student cafeteria back home. In fact, I can say with some amount of certainty that the food at the student cafeteria back home is not very good most of the time. I only ate there maybe 10 or 15 times over the entirety of last semester.

After eating on the boat, my friends and I went off to look for some dessert at a local bakery, and of course the food there was delicious.

Overall, it was a nice experience. I do want to see if sometime before I leave I can go eat at a fancier restaurant on the Seine, one on a boat that actually moves, but I know that’s going to cost a lot of money. I’ll let you guys know if it ends up happening, but right now it’s not seeming that likely.

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That’s all that I had for this update post! I’ll see you guys next week to talk about Normandy and Rouen and maybe some other cool stuff I think of!

As always, thanks for reading!

-Ariel

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