Monday, April 23, 2012

Three days in Paris and 5 hours in Versailles

Last week from Madrid I flew directly to Paris for 3 and a half days. There I hosted an education session for IBM sales folks and met with several IBM customers. I am surprised how well business people speak English in Paris. Not so with taxi drivers :-). One night with my two team mates we went to the traditional French restaurant. Drum roll... and that is where I tasted snails. Turned out to be quite good, especially considering that there was a ton of garlic and spices. I doubt it would taste like much without all this flavoring, but you could say this about almost any food.

The definite highlight of the trip was my visit to Versailles. I had 5 hours to visit the palace on Saturday. What a beautiful place it is!!! One thing I do not understand - why the king's and queen's bedrooms are separate? Did he (or she) snore? :-) Ok, I know kings in France had mistresses, so they needed separate bedrooms. But as much as this palace is beautiful, it does not seem to be designed for living. Entire design is built around showing off the wealth and power, not private quarters where you can relax. There are several floors in the palace - I wonder what else is there - the stuff off the beaten tourist path? Wouldn't it be nice just to wonder around anywhere you wish?

The garden beautifully complements the palace. I only had 1 hour left to walk around, so there is a good reason to come back in the future. I can only imagine how much work is needed to maintain it all in such perfect shape. At the same time, I figure at the $36 entry fee and about 3 million visitors per year (source), they can afford to keep it look pretty :-). The weather forecast the night before predicted sun in the morning and rain starting at 1pm. I had to leave to the airport at 1pm anyway, but was quite surprised when sun disappeared and rain started at 12:50pm. I think French weather folks do much better job than their colleagues in US :-).

I took quite a few photos - click here for the full album. I also have posted photos from my earlier trips to Paris in this album.

Here are just a handful of shots from this trip: