Versailles: A Palace of Dreams
And so, as it were at multiple times throughout the day, it was teeming with rain, there was a bleak grey sky and we were soaking wet.
Is this winter?… No it is the height of summer in Paris!
We are on the RER C drenched to the bone but so satisfied after an unexpected ending to our day!
It all begins early in the morning… I didn’t sleep very well last night and so when we made the decision finally to go to Versailles for the day despite the predictions of grey skies and possible light showers I began planning.
I ran to the supermarket and quickly rustled up an incredible picnic for the day. Fresh baguettes from the local boulangerie, a loaf of fig bread, fresh goats curd, nectarines, salami, pickles, mesculun salad, homemade nougat and drinks.
I ran home and made the sandwiches and wrapped them in foil and prepared my picnic bag.
And off we went… Not knowing what to expect.
It was windy and chilly as we walked from Versailles Rive Gauche to the entrance to the Chateau.
There was a huge line but luckily our cousins were already half way along it and so we joined them to the disgust of the couple in front of us. We waited half an hour or so before we finally made it to the security check to get into the palace.
Once we entered these hallowed halls we began to notice a trend.
It was packed to the brim, a sea of people which quickly flowed through each room with little time to absorb the grandeur and excess of this palatial building.
Sadly at times it seemed more like a theme park with the restoration work over taking any real history or feeling that this is what it was really like in 1790.
There were too many rooms and too many elements to mention so here is a montage of the array of textures and features that make this palace the place of legend…
The decadent fabrics…
The Masonary and stonecarving…
The furniture, each piece worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to collectors…
The works of art don’t only line the walls, some of the best work adorns the roof.
The rooms seemed endless… we walked from reception area, to study to banquet hall to bedroom with an endless array of objects and history filling the rooms till the brim, not to mention the steady stream of tourists.
Nevertheless we were overwhelmed by the true beauty of the queens and kings boudoirs in every sense of that word.
The Hall of Mirrors was spectacular, resplendent in all its excessive glory!
We made it through multiple wings of the monumental estate before heading out into the even more famous gardens of Versailles.
We watched and waited for the Grande eau Musicals to astound and amaze us; I’m not saying it wasn’t beautiful, it just wasn’t spectacular!
We walked as much as we could around this perfectly manicured estate
The sculptures were glorious, the fountains stunning, the greenery full of life and we just kept exploring each of the different areas.
We made a mad dash to try and see the Grande Lillit and made it to see the exhibition of 17th century French influence on modern haute couture which was fascinating.
We rushed back to the exit of the gardens as we were being thrown out early for the poor people who stayed to watch the Grande eau musicals nocturne whilst it poured buckets of rain.
Not feeling at all satisfied by our day, I hatched a plan and managed to score two tickets at the last possible moment to the Vivaldi Four Seasons concert in one of the most beautiful halls of Versailles.
And so there we sat for one hour of absolute bliss. Every string on the violins, every note was emotive, and we were carried away by the sounds of this classical symphony.
Afterwards we couldn’t believe our luck after sitting through such an impressive performance and no less in the third row.
We walked away feeling very lucky and honoured for what rescued the day, an experience we won’t forget.
But Mother Nature, feeling the strength of the music, decided to make her own masterpiece by releasing a torrential downpour of heavy rain and blasting chilly wind. Being without umbrellas, we made a futile run for the station and that is how we came to spend the journey home on the train completely soaked but self-satisfied.