Day 9 was a fun long day- with hundreds of pictures for me to pick and choose from- which is why it’s getting split up into two posts! The first half of the day was spent at a place I’ve been wanting to go to for 5 years, ever since the last time I was in Paris with one of my best friends Danielle, and we slept in too late to make it there…
My brother and I started out the day with a delicious breakfast at our hotel. I had fresh fruit, a crosaint, crepes with apricot jam, applesauce, milk and orange juice. The breakfast of champions! We as a group, (the ‘Purple’ team) jumped on the metro system at the stop closest to us- Breguet-Sabin, and took two lines back up to the Bercy stop where our other hotel with our group was located. Then we took several more trains to get on one that would take us the long way around to get to Versailles:
Finally we arrived at the train station near Versailles:
We took about a 10 minute walk to the palace. There was some obvious homelessness around the train station. The town had some nice shops, but clearly was not the best area. I would like to have more time to explore the city of Versailles. There were several antique shops that we passed, this one had books- I wanted to stop in this shop so bad:
The first sighting! I knew that the palace was big, but dang, it is BIG!!:
Wow. My first thought was, ‘no wonder the French had their revolution!’ If all their money was going toward building this- and they were living in sub-par conditions. That thought repeatedly occured as we went trough the palace:
They had a lot of modern art mixed in from the popular Paris born artist Joana Vasconcelos. This was the first of it that we saw:
The Hercules Room- it was used mainly for diplomatic functions:
The Mars Room- it was a guard’s room and ballroom for receptions:
The War Room:
The Hall of Mirrors!!!
This was the room I’d been looking forward to the most (of course) and once we got there it was incredible. No pictures can capture it’s beauty or the light feeling you have there. The mirrors were just as hard to see yourself clearly in as I thought, but at the time they were the height of technology. In the 17th century mirrors were one of the most expensive things to manufacture and Venice had the monopoly. In fact, France enticed several workers to come to France (as they purchased only items made in France) and they are the ones who used a high temperature melting process for the glass which was the first time that had been accomplished.
The room was used for court and state functions- basically this was a room they had everyone use to show off their wealth and status. Louis XIV used this room daily when walking from his private apartment to the chapel. Courtiers would assemble to watch him and request invites to his parties.
Video of the Hall of Mirrors:
View of the Peace Room from the Hall of Mirrors. The hall was in between the War and the Peace room:
The Bull’s Eye Room, courtiers would wait here before being admitted into the king’s bedroom to watch him wake up promptly at 7:30. There was always a doctor, some family members and others chosen to be there which was a great privilege. It has been estimated that there were normally 100 people in attendance. In fact most of his day was planned out and observed by others:
The King’s Bedroom- the same people who would observe him waking, washing, dressing and eating his breakfast would observe him going back to bed:
The Peace Room, part of the Queen’s apartment where it served as the study:
The Queen’s Bedroom- over 19 ‘children of France’ were born here, (like getting ready in the morning and going to bed, this was a public event). When Marie-Antoinette was Queen after her first public birth she absolutely refused to have another one. (Don’t blame her!) The Queen would spend most of her time here, and the side door is where she escaped during the Revolution:
The Queen’s Noble’s Room- where the Queen would hold her official audiences:
The Queen’s Gaurd Room- visitors had to pass through either the Queen’s guardroom or the King’s to get to either of their apartments:
The palace grounds and gardens cover about 800 acres of land west of the palace. There a sculpted lawns, parterres with and without flowers, sculptures and 50 fountains. I found out that they only have the fountains turned on for the weekend, and as we were there on a Thursday we didn’t get to see the spectacle of the Grandes Eaux.
Layout of the grounds from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardens_of_Versailles:
Fun on the palace grounds:
Grounds of the palace:
We had a blast at the palace, I only wish the fountains had been on that day! The cobblestones were killer on my bum knee too. We walked down a side street to the Nazarene church just down the street for lunch.
Heading back to the train station Chris and his dad Ron had fun replicating the statue of Louie XIV out in front of the palace where he is riding his horse:
It was a beautiful walk back to the train station. We had a wonderful time at the palace, I don’t know how to describe it properly. Suffice to say that we were allowed in a fraction of the rooms in the palace- and that small amount was so extravagant and amazing. It was truly incredible.
Paris (part 2) coming soon!!