Just now catching up with blog posts – where does the time go ?
Versailles seems so far away, like a dream. We went via train (my program gets a Navigo pass for free, which allows us access on the metro, bus, and train in all zones, even ones that go into the suburbs or banlieues where Versailles is situated).
Although it was the young Dauphin Louis XIII who initially ordered the construction of Versailles into a palace in the early 1600s, it was his son Louis XIV who is the emblem of Versailles. The self-proclaimed Sun King, Le Roi Soleil, he made major efforts in the late 1600s to re-model the palace to his taste, as evidenced in the gilded walls and lavish decor. You can find more history about the palace here.
Needless to say, it is breathtaking. And immense!! There is the Palace, the Trianon Estate, the Gardens (of which there are many), the Royal Stables .. we didn’t see it all. It was a beautiful day in early October when we went, so we decided to spend most of the day outdoors in the gardens .. which could warrant a whole day’s exploration on their own. I’d like to back soon on a weekday when it is less crowded, in order to explore more of the gardens and properly see the inside of the palace.
When we went inside the Palace, I was reminded of the estates in Delaware that I’ve visited, Nemours and Winterthur. Everything is so ornate and luxurious, and made with such detail. In fact, I think there is a clock in the Nemours estate that once belonged to Marie Antoinette! The DuPont family who owned those two estates, among others, are descended from French nobility who escaped just before the French Revolution.
So while Versailles was arguably in its glory during the reign of Louis XIV, by the time Louis XVI came around, it was growing less popular. Less nobles were living there, and the monarchy itself was falling from favor. Thus .. the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette is of course infamous for “let them eat cake,” but her gardens and the Trianon Estate are without a doubt beautiful. So she redeems herself in my book. Plus she was known for her love of luxury .. need I say more? 😉 One of my favorite parts of the palace was the famous Hall of Mirrors / Galerie des Glaces, as pictured below. Such ornate grandeur !!
Just let me know where I sign the lease .. can’t wait to move in!