Sunday, February 16, 2014
Today I had the pleasure of going to visit Versailles and all its magic…and let me tell you, it is magical. Paris is spectacular, beautiful, etc…but there are no words to describe Versailles.
I wanted to visit Versailles early in the season before the hoards of tourists make it impossible to enjoy. It was an absolutely gorgeous day today, sunshine, few clouds, 50 degree temperatures. I met my friend Alex at one of the metro stops and we took a train about 20 minutes out to Versailles. We have a metro pass that is “zone free” on the weekends, which means we can go pretty much anywhere the trains/buses will take us in the greater Paris area.
The amount of buses and tourists just outside the castle was a bit daunting, like was it going to be too busy but once inside it was perfectly fine. Because we are studying French with students Visas we got in for free which was a pleasant surprise. It’s funny to me how little security there is in France.For example, today we opened our bags for a very brief look and then through metal detectors which of course went off but you just keep walking; it seems like this is common for most places in Paris. They have such high warnings about terrorist attacks but then there is very little security at high traffic locations.
The “grandeur” of Versailles is a bit disgusting. It is of course beautiful, but to think that Kings and Queens lived like that is mind boggling. Walking through the grand palace, there are countless sitting rooms, rooms for the council, the king and queen of course have their own rooms complete with rails where their ministers and servants would watch them dress and eat every morning.
After going through the main Chateau, we walked through the gardens and down to the “Grand Trianon” and the “Petit Trianon” which were the guest house and Marie Antoinette’s private house, respectively. These two were much simpler, although still ornate, less gold plating and the ceilings were just plain white…decorators got lazy here. We watched a little clip on Marie Antoinette and learned that she liked to spend her summers at this little house, away from the world. I guess Louis would come down for visits occasionally but never spent the night so they hardly saw each other.
Everything was so beautiful, but I definitely need to go back when the gardens are in full bloom and the fountains are working to fully appreciate it…