The Palace of Versailles, Paris

September 02, 2013

Recently I had the good fortune of spending a week in Paris; I took so many photos that I hardly know how to begin retelling my adventures. I have finally decided upon defying any chronological and logical order and beginning with my most anticipated and possible favourite place in, (or just on the outskirts of) Paris- which I actually enjoyed on my very final day. I'm not sure when I became convinced that I wanted to visit Versailles, and why I was always adamant in my conviction that I would adore it, but I can safely say I wasn't misguided. It surpassed all of my expectations. 

I got up early, hopped on a bus, and the next thing I knew I was faced with the majestic architecture of the imposing palace. Now I'm not exaggerating here: everything about Versailles exudes wealth, some might say ostentation, but certainly skill as well as aesthetic understanding and mastery. Before your eyes even have time to observe the grandeur of the palace, they are stunned by this grand gate. I later found out that this was a very fitting entrance to the Palace that certainly had its fair share of gold-leaf embellished decor.

Another recurring theme is aptly demonstrated by this statue of Louis XIV, that greets you on your walk towards the palace; its size acts as an indication of what is waiting inside the gates with relation to excess and splendour...

After my initial observations, it was time to begin my wander through the house. I was impressed anew by each room and its decor, as well as the intricate detail on every surface.

With colour schemes from lime, to gold, teal, to scarlet, everything seems to be designed with the utmost thought. It also occurred to me that leaving a ceiling to itself- without embellishing it with some gold leaf and a few paintings that were lying around, or sculpting it into symmetrical patterns with arches, and of course adorning it with a chandelier or two- was a crime, based on the absence of any minimalism or blank undecorated surface.

The Hall of Mirrors is a pretty good example of this attention to detail.
Strangely, what really captivated my heart was not the splendour of the rooms, nor even the dramatic chandeliers whose glass prisms played with the light, but the hallways with their marble checkerboard floors.

Having had a good look in the palace apartments, and learnt a little on the way,
 it was time to move on to another area.

After a leisurely walk, I reached the Petit Trianon. This area was meant as a retreat for the King and his maîtresse en titre, a place to invite guests without the strict etiquette and formality of the court. Next time, and there will be a next time, I will make sure to see the Grand Trianon and Marie Antoinette's hamlet that are just around the corner from this building.
The Petit Trianon almost felt subtle in comparison with the grand palace. The architecture is beautiful and, of course, symmetrical. The wonderfully designed gardens were just a taster of what I was to see at the main gardens. After a little walk, I returned to the main palace where I began to explore.
The gardens are all perfectly manicured with a selection of colour schemes, a mixture of seemingly wild flowers, and of course the obligatory box hedge or two.

I also saw the musical fountains show. During the day, classical music emanates from the hedges helping to transport you atmospherically elsewhere, but for several hours during the day they turn the fountains on and also have a musical display. The fountains, synchronised with the music, are truly impressive.

...And that was the end to my first taster of Versailles. There is so much to see that I can't imagine you would ever get bored of visiting. Next time I would love to hire out some bikes to make my way around the vast grounds. There is also a fireworks display alongside the fountains that I imagine would be magical.

Have you visited the palace? What did you see and what did you enjoy best?

1 comment:

  1. Paris is one of my favourite cities in the world, I don't think I could ever visit it enough times to satisfy my love for the place! I've been to Paris four times and I have still never been able to visit Versailles but I am desperate to go there. Your post only reinforces that! Your photos are lovely :)