My Travel Philosophy

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Aerial view of Versailles
I've wanted to see the palace of Versailles for years and years so it was definitely on my list for this trip. Got a bit of a late start due to sleeping in, but got myself going and got a Starbucks, found a post box so I could send Ian's postcard (written in French -- thank you internet), and caught the train to Versailles.(The return was a bit more complicated as my ticket wouldn't work so I had to duck through a gate when it opened for someone else. Then, I couldn't figure out which train to take but a nice French gentleman helped me.) It's a short walk from the train station to the palace and, honestly, the palace itself is so vast it's hard to even take it all in.

Entry gate to Versailles
When you stand with your back to the gates, you can envision the road to Paris that the carriages would have taken and it must have been a stunning sight to see the palace perched up higher as you made your approach.

Unfortunately, as anticipated, the whole place was really crowded (even though it's Wednesday - can't even imagine what it's like on a weekend) so it was difficult to move around inside. I skipped several of the rooms at the beginning and all of the introductory films, etc. that they have for visitors. By doing so, I did move ahead of a lot of people and that really helped. Unfortunately, though, I all but missed the Royal Chapel (quick look through the door).

The Queen's Apartment
Let me just say:  the ceilings, walls, and moldings in every single room are just stunning. My little camera is doing a really good job, but the scale is so massive at Versailles that it's almost impossible to get good pictures (also, too many people in the way). You really need more than one set of eyes to really see everything. Fortunately, I was able to get a book before I left home from the sale at the library: Versailles - Complete Guide. It's a coffee table-type book loaded with pictures and history of the place.

Even though the Queen's apartment wasn't just for Marie Antoinette, there were busts of her and paintings of her and her children.

The stunningly beautiful Hall of Mirrors

With all of the beautiful palaces and cathedrals that I've visited, you wouldn't think that anything could now be more impressive. You'd be wrong.  Versailles is absolutely unbelievable in beauty and opulence. In addition to the main palace, there are summer homes on the estate as well where the family would move when it was too hot to be inside the palace! The sculpted gardens are enormous and you can rent bicycles or golf carts to help you get around, and there are boats on the small lake.

It would take several visits to be able to see the entire palace and grounds.

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