Bonjour mes amis!
Today we are going to Versailles.
We started out with the Metro, taking it to Pont Neuf…a famous bridge.
From there, we walked to the RER (train) station for the trip to Versailles.
The train ends there so you just get on and ride it all the way.
After descending, it’s a 10 – 15 min walk to the “house”.
As you approach, it is so fascinating to see the town snugged right alongside.
Cars, scooters, buses, pedestrians, ATM’s, cafes…and so on.
The gold is being restored and I’ll show you a before and after
so you can appreciate the amazing transformation.
The vastness of everything is hard to translate with pictures.
Despite the overcast sky that day, the temperature was perfect
and we never opened the umbrella. You’ll see the gorgeous sky a bit later.
You can see the restoration process here. On the right, before, and on the left, after.
The center part is covered where they are currently working.
Notice not only the gold, but the marble after it is cleaned.
We commented many times about how expensive it must be for the government to maintain this property. But, it is a national treasure and a significant part of their history.
Not only tourists, but many French come to see it, much as DC is crowded with Americans.
A group of schoolchildren on a trip.
After purchasing our passes we began.
The pass we chose included an audioguide which was invaluable.
Of course, I cannot show it all but I will try and capture the tremendous opulence
and huge scale as best I can.
The chapel was designed to be taller than the house
because the King wanted God to be more prominent.
The ceiling is curved and ornately painted.
Gold encrusts everything.
The Hall of Mirrors is hung with multiple chandeliers and lined with…of course…mirrors.
After many rooms of gold and heavily painted surfaces,
it was lovely to see the Dauphine’s chambers
and a more delicate treatment.
The fabric has been reproduced as it was destroyed in the revolution.
It is embroidered with flowers, ribbons and peacock feathers.
The colors are so lovely and feminine.
Since I love needlework, I was struck by this rug…it’s original.
The rolled back section is the reverse….
it is so finely worked that it could be the top.
The Dauphine’s trim was in a beautiful blue green.
We moved into the room where the King and Queen ate dinner.
I was struck by this napkin folding…is it a fish?
Isn’t it gorgeous?
Now we’ll move outside.
You’re not allowed to be tired yet……you’re sitting, I was walking!
This MAY give you an idea of the vastness.
To the left and right are series of garden “rooms”.
Each has a theme and is done differently. Each seemed to have a fountain.
We didn’t visit but one or two.
My husband was trying to figure out the operation of the fountains that many years ago.
He thinks they were gravity driven, with a cistern at a higher elevation
which was opened and then the fountains operated.
Getting the water back to the cistern was the job of peasants I imagine.
No wonder they got fed up and chopped their heads off!
Actually, it was a frightening time, as all revolutions are.
I just saw Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst last year.
If you haven’t seen it, you should watch just for the absolute gorgeousness
of the sets and costumes.
Looking over the orangerie.
Also known as “the backyard”
Home Sweet Home
Gorgeous statuary is everywhere along with gigantic urns.
We’ll leave Versaille with my favorite shot of the day.
Back to the train.
We got off near the Eiffel tower.
It was about 7pm and we thought it was a good night to ride to the top.
Unfortunately, only one lift (of four) was operating. The line was horrific.
We decided to find a brasserie and eat and then stop back
and see if there was improvement.
We returned in about 2 hrs and while it was better, it was still too long for us.
It took some walking to find the Metro stop we wanted.
Along the way, we passed this building covered in plants.
You can see the wall is mostly covered in moss but there are quite large plants too.
Mr. Engineer explained the trickling water system
which drained through grates along the bottom of the building.
Back to the apartment for a good foot soak.