Fontaine à Chambéry

Fontaine à Chambéry

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Don't Go to Paris in July!

Sorry for the delay in writing a new post--I was busy finishing school and my friend Elane came to visit last week. We spent a few days in Chambéry and then headed to Paris so Elane could experience the city. For those of you interested in traveling to France, I highly recommend avoiding Paris during July and August, when tourists run rampant and lines for attractions are ridiculously long.

Elane and I visited the palace of Versailles one day and waited two hours in line (in the sun!) just to buy tickets. When we finally approached the ticket counter, we realized why it had taken so long: there were only two people selling tickets, but ten ticket counters. Hmmm, that's a problem. Once inside the palace, it was so crowded that one could barely breathe--literally! (The heat did not help.) Taking photos was almost impossible because people were constantly jostling you or in your way. The most horrible moment though during that visit to Versailles was when we were in the room connected to Marie Antoinette's bedroom. People had scratched their names into 400 year- old mirrors. The art historian in me was freaking out. I fail to understand why anyone would think it was appropriate to deface something of historical significance. Scratch the mirrors at your own house if you so desire! If you're thinking "Oh, there should be guards in each of the rooms," you're right, and there already are. They just don't do their jobs. I saw many of them leaving their posts to go hang out and talk to other guards nearby. I even saw one guy playing on his iPhone! The entire thing was absolutely ridiculous. My new goal in life is to somehow become in charge of Versailles and whip things into shape. Graffiti wouldn't happen under my watch...

From this entry it may sound like I hate Paris, but I don't. I just hate crowds. It's too difficult to learn about something when people are hovering behind you. In the Louvre (see photo) it was so crowded that people would walk in front of you while you were looking at a piece of art. Crazy! Bottom line: unless you love crowds, go to Paris in May or June.

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