Paris Diaries: Versailles

Friday, August 9, 2013

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Versaille- the largest palace in the world, proved almost impossible to capture on film from the outside with its unutterably massive scale. Inside was a strange juxtaposition of opulently decorated walls for rooms empty of any furniture. Versaille was once the center of the French state- then an absolute monarchy- for about 170 years. Though a royal home had existed before, one can safely say the palace as we know it today was  built by Louis the Fourteenth. In many ways a brilliant politician, he schemed to bring all his nobles with him to his new palace in order to keep them under control. He also was the first royal in Europe to provide care to his soldiers who were wounded in battle; on the other hand, Louis the fourteenth was also incredibly egotistic, and arguably hedonistic. When the French Revolution came most of the personal effects of the royal family, including most of what was in Versaille, was auctioned off to Europe's nobles in order to fund the wars against these same noble's countries. The building itself was partially restored by first Emperor Napoleon and then King Phillip-Louise as a museum.

Above you can see some of the statues and frescoes that adorn the palace, as well as its most famous room, the Hall of Mirrors through which petitioners would gather to see the king enthroned.

The palace was mobbed by tourists with  lines that were unexpectedly long and disorganized lines (and we'd anticipated long lines, but this was unbelievable even so), so we only saw the main building and then spent our afternoon enjoying the extensive gardens, which you can see a bit of below.

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The formal gardens has musical water "show," where all the fountains were on, gushing forth. Classical music created an ambiance that, aided with the tall walls formed by the hedges, helped simulated the seemingly impossible- you almost felt alone, lost in this world of natural beauty and pleasures. Stumbling upon one fountain after another felt like taking a peek into Alice's Wonderland. The hedges opened up unto a huge pool with Neptune rising from his the waters in his chariot (above) and behind them the Grand Canal, which measures over a mile long. How we wished we could have gotten on the row boats, but the daunting line changed our minds and we instead fed the fish in the canal. Long used to humans, they would gather at the edge of the water, right below the surface and gape their mouth open for any bread you might want to share.

It was the only truly sunny and hot day we had, pleasant for the gorgeous skies we got, a bit unfortunate in that sunscreen was forgotten. But regardless it made for some stunning memories together.

PS See more of our adventures with Paris Dairies, and Paris Dairies: Mona Lisa and a Night on the Seine.


Or check out our other travels to San Francisco and Portland. 

14 comments

  1. ohhh i loveeeddd versailles :D even if i spent most of my time there in the town scurrying for bread. haha. such pretty photos. im enjoying your blog as a 'wake up' this morning with all the pretty photos. expect my comments to be a little haphazard as i'm a little sleepy and reading a bunch of posts in like 8 tabs :D

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    1. Haha- I feel like most of my comments more than a sentence or two begin to sound scattered.

      Where were you looking for bread in the town? Just hunting down some food or for something else?

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  2. Soooo jealous of your Versailles photos! The shots of the fountain are incredible!

    Xo, Hannah

    sweetsweetnoir.net

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  3. Amazing photos!!! I am so jealous, such a gorgeous place to visit.
    xJennaD

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  4. wow. amazingggg. i just got back from a trip to germany, where we visited a palace in berlin. it was awe inspiring, but nothing compared to this, i'm sure.

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    1. What was you favorite part of your trip? I hear that Germany is gorgeous!

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  5. Such beautiful art and architecture! Man, that must have been amazing! <3

    - Anna

    www.melodicthriftychic.com

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  6. god can you imagine LIVING there? or even cleaning all that- one word: daunting. it stinks there was so many people that you couldn't really see everything, but i wouldnt want to stand an hour in line either. i can't get over those frescos. i wonder if the royals thought it was just as normal as paint, or if they were always mesmerized by the beauty they lived in. and those gardens! those hedges remind me of a princess tale, so pretty and royal

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

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    1. The line was actually over two hours, but since we took a train to get there and it was once-in-life type of thing... wait we did!

      I kinda of wonder what they thought of the decorations too. There was mention that Marie Antoinette wanted/did redecorate to more modern styles (she eventually made her own adjacent place done up in an "English" style, but we didn't have time to see that part.)

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  7. really wonderful writing here Kristian! I enjoyed hearing a bit of the history behind the palace, interesting other royals took the wealth later to fund war. bummer about the crowds but the garden looks and sounds just amazing with fountain after fountain so maybe it was for the better, sound so romantic! and love the first pic of the palace and all the details you got.
    Cuddly Cacti
    Mitla Moda

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  8. Such a beautiful pics!! Thanks for sharing with us! :)
    xoxo

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