Tuesday, October 23, 2012


This afternoon we visited the palace at Versailles.  Just outside of Paris, an hour or so by horse and coach, Versailles is the royal palace of Louis 14th and his descendants, including Louis 16th and his wife Marie Antoinette.  The French Revolution pretty much saw the end of Versailles as it was, until more recent manifestations. So, full dose of French History from our driver, with the annotated version from our guide,  but well worth a visit all the same.  The Kings Chambers were interesting and provide insight into life at Court, the Hall of Mirrors, which is pretty amazing, but nothing quite as beautiful as the Queens Chambers.  The detailing of the soft furnishings are truly beautiful.
The sheer scale of the palace and its grounds was beyond anything I could imagine, but given Darren and Deena recommended a visit, well worthwhile to see. Seems that the restoration under way now is aiming to return the palace to its former glory, rather than the period immediately after the French Revolution.  A long term plan, things like the gold embellished gates have been replaced.  Many of the artworks and details are no longer original.  The chandelier in the Queens Chambers, made of Italian glass with Sevres Porcelain insert seems to be the exception to this rule....and on odd door or two.
We did well to visit on a wet day.  With 6 000 000 people visiting annually there were more than enough people to negotiate, including the obligatory bus loads of mostly Asian tourists. We explored the gardens a little, but with the weather as it was confined our exploration to the upper terraces.  For me, the view from the hall of mirrors best reflected the serenity of the gardens providing the best insight into their purpose and beauty.

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