Sunday, July 6, 2008
Today's plan was to ride our bikes out to Versailles for a visit to the hamlet where Marie Antoinette and her courtiers used to pretend they were farmers and milkmaids. We got as far as Marnes La Coquette, a picture postcard of a village just west of St. Cloud, before a flat tire put an end to those grand ambitions. But we still had a nice ride and picnic. The adventure took us through the Bois de Boulogne, past the Hippodrome de Longchamp(where all of humanity under the age of 25 was camping out after a giant three-day rock concert, and across the Seine by footbridge. From there, it was just a hop, skip, and one big hill where we had to walk our bikes into the Parc de Saint-Cloud. Situated southwest of the city, the terrace has a grand view of Paris and we could see all the way to Sacre Coeur. The chateau, once a favorite of Marie Antoinette and the site where both Napoleon and his nephew Napoleon III were proclaimed emperor, burned to the ground during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. The gardens remain, as well as lots of places to picnic, jog, and bike. The tire has been mended and we have extra tubes packed in the bike bag for another day.