5:30 Wake-up, breakfast, pack and final sweep of house
6:30 Planned time to leave to make 2 hour drive to Versailles in plenty of time for their 9AM opening
7:00 Leave the house
7:30 Notice GPS claims arrival time is around 10AM
7:30-7:40 Freak out a little and fiddle with navigation unit – wish more attention had been given to whatever unit in French class had words about directions and GPS navigation systems
7:45 Decide paying tolls is worth the hour saved and relax – arrival time is again, 9AM
8:00-8:30 Traffic – attitudes adjusted to deal with new arrival time
9:00 Wrong exit taken – Versaille Parc is different than Versaille Chateau
9:15 Anxiety attack over whether or not Versaille Chateau and Versaille Palace are one in the same thing and we may be in the entirely wrong part of France
9:30 After 3 attempts parallel park 2 blocks from Versaille Chateau/Palace
9:45 Find gates of gold, lots of tourist and decide this is the place; wind way through ticket building and buy tickets – fairly swiftly
10:00 Race to long line to beat tourist mob approaching from other direction. Wait in super long bag scanning line with lots of Japanese tourists who seemingly amuse themselves by trying to slyly cut in front of us. Line does not move.
10:01 Realize that we must leave Versailles by 12 noon to get rental car back by 1PM. Family ruminates over how much time the line will take and will there be enough to fully appreciate the grandeur of the treasure held within.
10:05 Leave Versailles with new plan to deliver bags to apartment, book hotel for Anne, return car by 1 and then take a train back to Versailles
10:45 Call apartment to see if we can check in early. “No, you can’t”
11:00 Get gas and more traffic
11:30 Park in parking garage, 6 levels deep, near apartment and wander streets looking for hotel for Anne. Freak out a little due to number of $ex shops we are passing. Hope Brody doesn’t notice.
11:45 Find hotel with vacancy, hope it is near apartment. Ponder actual apartment location
12:00 Retrieve car, park illegally and haul everyone’s luggage to Aunt Anne’s swank hotel room
12:30 Drive toward train station to return car and traffic
1:10 Arrive at car return 5 minutes late – mentally draft note of complaint should they dare charge us for an extra day. Exit via elevator rather than walk the car spiral entry way like we did on arrival
1:20 Stand in train/metro station wondering how to get to Versailles. Play with a ticket machine until it says, “transaction cannot be completed”
1:30 Get help from train station helper at a different ticket machine. Succussfully purchase 5 of 7 tickets and off he went. Screw up the purchase of the final 2 when left to our own devices
1:50 Get on a train and hope it takes us to Versailles
2:30 Get off train and walk down nicest looking road in hopes it leads to Versailles
2:45 Versailles! Much smaller bag scanning line!
3:00 Enter wrong door and have to ask for directions to the actual entrance and audio guide room.
5:00 Complete tour which consisted of about 20 opulent rooms out of about 2,000. Feel a little gypped after making that comparison. Wonder with is done with the other 1,980 rooms
5:30 Make way back to train, buy bread and strawberries on the street. Call it “lunch”
6:00 Arrive in Paris
6:15 Study train station map and wonder where the Hotel/apartment is located. Study Anne’s hotel brochure, after 5 minutes notice the words “Metro: Etienne Marcel”
6:45 Arrive at Ettienne Marcel
7:00 Find apartment street and building. Make it through gate #1 but cannot unlock gate #2 or locate key in secret hiding spot. Go back to Anne’s room
7:15 Madly try to get internet connectivity in Anne’s hotel to contact apartment landlord. Grab bags and haul them to apartment
7:45 Meet with landlord and tumble into apartment
8:00 Grocery shop – get disproportionality excited about Baguettes for thirty-nine cents
8:45 Dinner of spaghetti, our traditional first night in a city meal
9:30 Brody’s dreams come true when Anne invites him back to her hotel, freeing him of his sisters for a night. He packs a toothbrush and pair of underwear before she can change her mind