Wednesday, April 25, 2012

v is for... Versailles

 Walking towards the gilded fence, one is struck by the magnificence of Versailles, most well-known as the palace that housed Marie-Antoinette and King Louis XVI.  As we were going through the grounds, I tried to think of what it must have been like to be a courtier there - walking with my massive wig and huge 'hips' through the various pleasure gardens.  It would be quite the exercise, that is for sure.

The mobs had quite a trek before them to get to these gates as Versailles is 20 km away from Paris.  During the period when court was in session there, it was a full day's carriage ride to get to Versailles from Paris.

The opulence has been slowly restored since 1789 - when the king was deposed and the state took over.  It wasn't until the 1950s that Versailles was truly made in to a museum - yet it is still used today for certain political functions - and it's not hard to see why.  The famous Hall of Mirrors is still used to welcome various heads of state.

The ceiling in the Hall of Mirrors
If you go through Versailles, and don't look up - everywhere - you are missing out on the best art.  The ceilings are truly incredible, and include picture frames!

The gardens are amazing, and we were there on a chilly day in April last year.  They are also quite extensive. 

The beautiful 1,300-room building is more than a quarter of a mile long, with paintings and sculptures by major European artists, all set in a 250-acre garden-park with pools and plantings and fountains laid out in geometric patterns.  - Versailles Interesting Facts

We actually rented a golf cart to drive all through the gardens, as we had a time limit (needed to be back in the city for a very unique dinner experience!) - but it gave us a chance to see many of the private areas, lakes and fountains.

I would highly recommend, that if you go to Versailles, go for the entire day.  It is well worth it as there is too much to explore.  Our trip there was too fast, and I would love to go back when the fountains are actually on, as well as be able to see Trianon - the mini-palais of Versailles.

Here are some more websites on Versailles
Fun Facts
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