Friday, October 5, 2012

Versailles, France

Day 4: Going in reverse a day, we visited the Palace at Versailles. We actually hadn't planned on making our way here, but after seeing how long it was going to take to get to Normandy and the D-Day beaches, we altered our plans to stay a little closer to Paris. It was only about a 30 min/$10 train ride round trip.

Let me just start by saying - this place was ridiculous. It started as a "humble" hunting lodge, but once Louis the 14th got a hold of it, he turned it into a palace in honor of himself. He moved the court and government to Versailles and then proceeded to throw extravagant parties to distract officials from their job. It would have worked on me, that's for sure!

Me and the front of Versailles

The one and only chapel in all of Versailles

So this chapel above is interesting - Louis the 14th would stand above all of the "commoners" on the second level and instead of them looking at the altar, they would turn around and look up at him! Also interesting is that, in the French monarchy, the king was chosen by god. That made anything Louis the 14th said, god's official word. No wonder all of this extravagance and craziness went on so long - no one in those times would want to go against god himself! Anyways, on to more pictures...

The Venus Salon in the King's Apartment

Hall of Mirrors

The King's chambers

So that's the palace. There are also the gardens, summer palace and Marie Antoinette's estate to visit! We had a long day, that's for sure.

The gardens were spectacular - the most photographed part being the Grand Canal. Louis the 14th wanted to bring Venice to himself and all his entourage. We rented a row boat and Jason paddled us around the canal. We also almost got killed by an angry/hungry swan.


Grand Canal in the distance

In the middle of the Grand Canal

In the middle of the Grand Canal

Angry Swan - he was pecking the boat!

After that, we walked around the Grand Trianon (summer palace) and Marie Antoinette's Estate. The summer palace was for when court life just became TOO much and they needed a getaway. The estate was kind of amazing too - she built it to be "like a commoner". As you can see, it was a hamlet complete with vineyards, stables and a fish pond!

Outside the Grand Trianon

Marie Antoinette's Estate

Marie Antoinette's Estate

Marie Antoinette's Estate

That was our day in Versailles. I would definitely recommend it to anyone going to Paris. It's a nice little getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city and also extremely interesting to visit. It's a UNESCO World Heritage site for a reason!

Next up - our trip to Beaune, France!

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