Saturday, April 16, 2011

Versaille

There is absolutely no way to narrow down Paris into just one post so I'll have to put Versaille in a post of its own. After all, in and of itself, it really is in a realm of it's own--even when compared to other royal palaces. It is so hard to describe the ornateness and over-the-top craftsmanship for that time period. Standing in the middle of the Hall of Mirrors you can truly envision hearing Marie Antoinette say something as outlandish as, "then let them eat cake." I think it would have been hard for anyone who had grown up immersed in such luxury to have had any real sense of reality--any real understanding for what the "real" people's lives were like.Imagine having your own private chapel. ---Let alone having THIS as your own private chapel. It is interesting to note however that this chapel is really not so much dedicated to God or even Christ as it was to the King. Louis XIV was called the Sun King and hence the massive sun motif in the alterpiece and throughout the chapel. Only the royal family was allowed upstairs-so that he could look down on all the people below him of lesser station. Those kings certainly knew how to do "ego". Speaking of the combination of ego and luxury--you have here The Hall of Mirrors. It really has to be one of the all time most impressive rooms. It spans the whole width of the main palace. There are 17 (I think) massive arched mirrors on the left side which reflect the views from the matching arched windows on the right. The entire ceiling is muraled as most of the rooms in the palace are. Ornate gold gilded moldings and stunning chandeliers complete the opulence. Imagine it without the hordes of tourists--possibly set with a huge dining table and elegant lords and ladies strolling about. Definitely impressive. This quaint little bust was so completely french I just had to include it. Now seriously, is there any reason why this little equipment malfunction should have taken place?----and yet, any reason the french could find to display a little cleavage--or a lot of cleavage--or what the heck, complete freedom from restraint, was siezed upon and utilized. Needless to say, we saw ALOT of boobs!
...and Johnsons! Nice placement of the fig leaf! Actually, most of the time they didn't even bother with the leaf!
Check out the massive fireplace. Almost every room (of which there were hundreds) had a fireplace and many of them were this size. Those Oregon tree huggers are going berzerc just thinking about it.

Ever wondered what kind of bedroom an egomaniac would choose to sleep in? Wonder no more. Here is the kings bedroom. Or rather part of the bedroom since I couldn't fit it all in a single picture. (Sorry about the blurriness--not sure what happened there. I still had to include it though.) Just out of frame in the picture is a paneled, almost hidden, door where he would sneak out to meet his mistresses or sneak his mistresses in-whichever was the case for that night. I think the queens room had one too so that he could visit her when he got tired of everyone else. You saw the kings room, now check out the queens. This was extensively remodeled by Marie Antoinette to reflect her own taste---right before she met Madame Guillotine. Evidently she had her babies here in this very room being closely watched by as many people as they could squeeze in here--so as to make sure that no tricksies were played in naming the royal heir to the throne. Sometimes I'm so glad that I'm so normal.


The gardens were every bit as impressive as the house. They literally went on for miles. They were formal gardens with hundreds of statues, ornamentals and fountains, groomed shrubbery and beautiful flowers as well as sprawling grassy areas, reflecting pools, mini lakes and groomed tree-lined walkways. As you wandered along the paths among the trees you would come to hidden away areas that would open up into a fountain/lounging area or some other little nook and cranny place within the overall gardens. Very fun.
This is the view looking toward the palace across the private lake.
One more aspect of the palace as seen from the gardens. This is the view looking towards what would be the Hall of Mirrors.

As you can see, with just this sampling of pictures, (which is really not even a drop in the bucket) it was an amazing, experience. It's hard to imagine that people really do live like that. I guess, when it is all said and done however, I can honestly say, I wouldn't trade my relatively unimportant, inconsequential, and insignificant life for theirs. My privacy and my trust in my husband and the values learned from being "real" are more valuable to me than any of that worldly glitz and glamour. I'll take my little home with my beautiful views, my four great kids and my best friend for a husband any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

2 comments:

Brandi said...

Oh my heck Julie! Miller and I just busted up laughing at your usage of the word "johnsons"...you crack us up! Can't believe you guys went to Paris...we are soooooo jealous! Hope all is well for you and your adorable family :) Happy Easter!

Alisha said...

I am SOOO jealous too!!! What an amazing place to get to visit!!! It's crazy to think that just a few people lived in that HUGE place and now thousands of people roam the halls. It's fun to imagine what it would be like to live in that era but I think you're right, I'd take this life over that any day!!!