After seeing Sofia Coppola’s beautifully filmed Marie Antoinette, I became very interested in the queen and in French history. It was my dream to visit the beautiful Palace of Versailles, where Marie Antoinette had lived from her youth up until the Revolution. I dreamed of visiting Versailles to experience the grandeur as she did and look at the same paintings she did everyday. I wanted to wander the gardens as she did and then escape the palace for a little while; be revitalized at the hamlet, away from prestige and prying eyes. Finally, I wanted to walk down the Hall of Mirrors and get the same view of the immense garden; just like a French courtier would have glimpsed out into the great beyond, longing for a sense of freedom past the pomp and protocol. Although it would be amazing to live in a place like this, surrounded by fineries, there are ropes that would come to bind one along with it. That is where the history of what royal life was really like comes in. There were still so many facts that I did not know about this beautiful chateau and the people that walked its halls.
There is so much history and so many other French royals to learn about here, not just Marie Antoinette. It is filled with art, beautiful architecture, and a history that spans generations. It is also much larger than I could ever fathom. And I’m not talking just about the palace….there are lovely gardens, grounds, a man-made lake, and other smaller domiciles. It would be virtually impossible to see all of this in one day. If you plan on visiting, I recommend setting aside two days because I was there from open until close and still did not get to see all of this amazing place.
The Hall of Mirrors showcases many accomplishments of King Louis XIV. The ceilings are painted with successes from his reign.
I should mention that during this time period, owning a mirror was considered a great extravagance. This marvelous room contains 357 mirrors to openly prove the points that: 1) The French could make looking glasses just as well as the Venetians (whom everyone went to for mirrors at that time) and 2) To show the luxury and economic success of the French. Point taken!
Since Versailles is so large and there is so much to discuss, (I actually had a couple hundred pictures just from the one day we were there!) I am going split my piece on this gorgeous place into more than one part. Consider this article as a bit of an intro. I just want to make sure no one has to read a three hour article from me 🙂 Stay tuned for more historical information, stories, and pictures from my Versailles trip!
***Just an interesting tidbit…If you are wondering why so many of my Versailles pictures are either very up-close and personal or look as if I’m holding my camera high up or on a weird angle….it is because it was so crowded on that day! It was hard to get a decent picture without waiting in a line or raising the camera above people’s heads. I recommend that you get Skip-the-Line tickets (like we did) and check the Versailles website to see which times of day and days of the week are expected to have high traffic. It can also depend on the season or if there are any special events going on at the palace that day!
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