Versailles #1. It pays to get there early.

IMG_5988We arrived at Versailles a half hour before opening. Look at that sky! The gamble of switching the days and going to The Louvre yesterday clearly paid off. See the gold? This is real. It was brilliant against the sunlight and the blue of the sky. One can only imagine the impact it would’ve had on people back in the day. The wealth that it implies is staggering.

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From this view you can see the scale of the buildings. Pretty darned big.

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This is the King who made the whole thing come about. Until he came along, the French kings pretty much based themselves in the Louvre, in the centre of Paris. Versailles was a hunting lodge, but Louis XIV decided to make it so much more.

(He was the third last Louis.)

IMG_5994Here’s a family snapshot of Marie Antoinette and the kids.

IMG_5998Scott and I wanted to get to the Hall of Mirrors as quickly as possible, so we didn’t waste too much time dawdling in the rooms before this. However, it’s impossible not to see these rooms and appreciate what’s in them.

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I should really get my hallway ceiling looking like this.

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The chapel.

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Look up!

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We were among the front runners. Only this toddler stood between us and glory.

Here’s some bits and bobs before the hall of mirrors.

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Look up. OMG. Gold, anyone?

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IMG_6010Look at what’s in the cornices.

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Sumptuous. But the crowds were starting to catch up. Bold moves were needed.

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This is the shot Scott took, while I was distracted with gold and windows. Seriously, can you believe our luck? Who gets to see the Hall of Mirrors like this? It was worth getting up early and queuing for half an hour.

IMG_6030How utterly amazing is this? Disco moves in Versailles. Just like Marie Antoinette would have made.

Everything I’ve ever heard about the Hall of Mirrors is that it’s utterly packed and people shuffle through, barely able to see one side of the room from the other.

IMG_6050Here’s what the floor looks like, for those who’ve been there and haven’t been able to see it. No, I’m not skiting. Not really…

IMG_6035A close-up of a chandelier.

IMG_6046This is the bottom quarter. The crowd was advancing steadily behind me… I had to snap quickly. Scott was the winner of the ‘get a shot without people in it’ stakes; but I had to haveĀ something.

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I turned around and shot this. The quiet time in the Hall of Mirrors was over…. the tourists were coming!!!!!

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Look at this. It’s not hard to imagine this room taking the world by storm, when you consider how dark most of the rooms were at this time in history. The light from the huge windows, themselves a huge expense, let alone the massive mirrors… an incredible extravagance… was a major political and artistic statement by the French Crown.

And we got to see it properly!!!!

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A close-up of the gold along the sides.

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The windows overlooking the gardens.

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IMG_6052Look up!

More on Versailles later. This was the first half hour… but I’ve just come back from our farewell dinner to Paris, (I’m a few days behind in the blog) and I’ve had a cocktail and lots of wine. *yawn*

More to come, including the golf buggy. *OMGsomuchfun*

Goodnight!

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3 Responses to Versailles #1. It pays to get there early.

  1. Lucinda Sans says:

    Beautiful. Actually words aren’t enough. You’ve got me worried about the crowds though. Especially for a return visit that I plan to do in the next couple of years. I visited Versailles in May 1991. The sky was as blue as yours. But there weren’t the crowds. I didn’t queue for an hour. And the hall of mirrors wasn’t full of people. Hardly any at all.

  2. Urspo says:

    How marvelous. I just finished a history course on the French Revolution. I am amazed there is anything left of the place.

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