Friday March 9th 2018
Take the suburban train from Paris to the famous royal village of Versailles. Collect your bikes and visit the famous Versailles market for your picnic supplies. Ride through the beautiful gardens to visit the Petit and Grand Trianons and Marie Antoinette's Hameau before settling down for a picnic along the Grand Canal.
After lunch we'll return the bikes and take the behind-the-scenes visit the Chateau de Versailles via a skip-the-line ticket. Versailles is a massive, opulent palace that helps explain the French Revolution in a unique way. Originally built by Louis XIII as a hunting lodge outside of Paris, it became the center of French absolutism and culture during the reign of Louis XIV. He greatly expanded the palace into the place it is today, all with the purpose of overawing his nobility who he wanted to weaken so his own power would increase. Louis built such massive additions as the new chapel, the Mars Room, and the famous Hall of Mirrors. The Hall of Mirrors has seen the creation of the German Empire in 1871 by Otto von Bismarck as well as the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I and destroyed the German Empire. Versailles is also famous for its immense gardens, fountains, and lakes, and if the weather is nice, you will have the opportunity to bike around the property, possibly even out to Marie Antoinette’s ‘little house.’ A day spent exploring the grounds and palace at Versailles will help provide context for why the French peasants chose to revolt.