Friday, 5 April 2013



We decided on an all-day visit to Versailles.  We bought our four tickets for use on the RER train at the Metro station Etienne Marcell, and from there we changed from the Metro at St. Michel to the RER Versailles train.  We knew that we needed four tickets for the two of us, but we did not realize that these tickets were all the same, with no markings to distinguish which ones has been used on the outward journey, and which were still un-used, oh dear .....

On our return trip, at the station at Versailles, we found that three of the tickets were not usable.  By mistake three had been put into the ticket slots at Etienne Marcell or at St Michel when we changed trains.  By then it was about 6 pm and there was a huge queue, as it was the rush-hour, and we thought the only solution was to buy one more ticket for the return journey.

Luckily a helpful man opened the Customer Service window near where I was standing, just in time. I explained the problem and he kindly sorted it out, pointing out that we had used three of the tickets but only two should have been cancelled,  so  BE WARNED!!!  Watch which tickets you use.


We bought our tickets to the Chateau and the grounds at the Tourist Office, which you pass on the way to the Chateau.  It was much easier to do this, rather than join yet another queue at the Chateau, although it cost a couple of Euros more.  I think it was about £37 for two.

We went into the grounds first and I took these photos, but found to my horror that the battery on the camera had died on me, so I could not take any more photos.  The gardens and parks are really beautiful, despite the cold spring which meant that no trees were showing any green.



We tried out the bus service in Paris, and used No. 29 from the Marais to get to Opera, near Gare St-Lazare.


Crowds milling around on the steps and elsewhere, but this popular destination was closed for two days.  I took this photo of a jolly brass band playing on the steps.

On the steps of Paris Opera

It was a Saturday, 23 March and our first designation was LES PRINTEMPS, grand magazin (bit like Selfridges in London).

Here is a link to it

I wanted to find a particular make of French lipstick, which they did not stock, unfortunately. 
So we made our way to the roof where there is a cafe, and outdoor seating area with magnificent views. The cafe staff were not very interested in serving, there was a sort of help-yourself coffee machine, but good coffee.

The coffee taken, I then tried out the ladies loo on the ground floor which cost me 1.5€ - shock, horror! (that's just under £1.50)

Next destination, MUSEE JACQUEMART-ANDRE, so another bus, the stop for which was very difficult to find.  The official bus map for Paris does not show any clear indication of streets, just coloured lines and little boxes with bus numbers in, but finally we got on the No. 22 which passes the Musee  Jacquemart-Andre, going along Boulevard Haussmann.

Here is a link to the museum's website

and if you want the French version:


This museum  is a furnished grand mansion on the Boulevard Haussmann, Paris, 75008, in one of the poshest parts of Paris.  It dates from the end of the 19th century and was built by Edouard Andre, a very rich banker and his wife Nelie Jacquemart, a painter.  They were lovers of fine things and had the money to indulge their passion.

The Boudin exhibition had started the day before, but nevertheless we were surprised to see the length of the queue to get in,  It was not moving at all.  It seemed like every rich, trendy, chic Parisienne or Parisien was in that queue, along with a sprinkling of Americans and Japanese.  Finally the queue moved and slowly, very slowly, the girl on the ticket desk printed off our tickets.

We walked round the permanent collection first, admiring the large collection of Italian religious paintings, very fine, such as this Botticelli Virgin and Child

and there were French works, including some by Fragonard and Boucher.  The English and Flemish works were not so impressive.  

The rooms, and the staircase, are themselves were works of art, in their colours and textures, with impressive antiques and gilt panelling, with some high painted ceilings and costly drapes at the windows.  All well cared-for.

Then it was time to go to see the Boudins, a painter I particularly admire. There was a large collection of his work and it was well worth the visit.  The collection was borrowed from prestigious world galleries, and we commented that it was surprising that the condition of the watercolours, oils and pastels was excellent.  Presumably Boudin knew how to work with good quality canvas, paper and mediums.

The colours too are very beautiful, and the luminosity of the sky absolutely striking.  He visited a great many coastal areas, such as Honfleur, where he was born, and Trouville, and at the end of his life worked in the south of France.
Here is a link with some good information about Eugen Boudin, from the National Gallery.


I thought it a shame that the people jostling around the paintings and drawings were, on the whole, paying a great deal of attention to the audio guide fixed to their ears.  

There was no necessity for this, the works spoke for themselves, and they were produced in an age when those who appreciate art could form their own opinions on its excellence or otherwise, without somebody else telling them the when, whys and wherefores.