The long awaited day for our trip to Versailles came and we were up early to be there as soon as it opened at 9am. When we arrived, however, we were told that the workers were on strike and Chateau Versailles would not open any earlier than 10:00 am and maybe not at all. We had made the trek to Versailles so of course we got in the very long line to wait it out. Ten o’clock came and went. Fortunately as time passed people ahead of us gave up so we moved up closer. The line got longer and longer though while hundreds of people waited for the palace to open.
At 10:30 the gates finally started to open. At that point all hell broke loose and a mass of people descended on the gates attempting to cut the line. To make a long story short, there was a lot of pushing, shoving and yelling. The entry process was a complete disaster and the one security guard positioned at the gate was doing very little to help the situation (and they needed more man power to correct the problem anyway). We finally made it inside the gates at 11:30 and only after some near fist-fights. It was ugly. And there was a second line inside and it only got worse. People were getting physical and it was very chaotic. It’s pretty difficult to explain such mass bad behavior to your children.
At that point the day was tainted. We toured part of the palace but it was elbow to elbow and since our moods were already pretty off we decided to bail. While we were there we also heard of the terrible events in Brussels, darkening the mood even more. After a short visit to the grounds we headed back to Paris.
That night we had planned to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. After dinner we headed out ready to brave the long lines. To our surprise (and probably because of the bombings in Brussels) the line was very short. We were quickly at the summit enjoying the beautiful views of Paris!
The Eiffel Tower was lit up in black, yellow, and red to show solidarity with the people of Belgium. Though the motivation for the unique lighting was sad it was very cool to see the tower lit up this way. It was a really long day filled with some of the worst and best experiences of the trip!