They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a thousand pictures cannot do justice to that which is Versailles. The name alone conjures up images of opulence, grandure and French Royalty. The vision of Louis XIV, Versailles was the seat of power for the French Monarchy from 1682 to 1789* when the Louis XVI and his Royal family were forced to leave forever by the crowds of the revolution. But there is more here than just gilded moldings, statues and tapestries – much more. There is the Chateau with its rich history dating back to the 17th Century when a young Louis XIV first envisioned creating a palace and garden worthy of the power and wealth of the French King. But there is also the town that grew up around it – from 1000 inhabitants when Louis XIII died to over 60,000 at the time of the French Revolution.
When I first visited Versailles several years ago, I was awestruck by its beauty and splendor. Clearly whoever conceived this magnificent structure wanted to demonstrate to all who visited the power and wealth of the French Crown. With just one day, I was barely able to see the inside of the Chateau. The crowds were large and made for slow going through the labyrinth of rooms and galleries. Even with two subsequent visits, I still felt I had hardly scratched the surface. So I decided that I would spend a week there and really see everything there was to see and at a pace that worked for me.
I must admit that even with 5 days, I felt pressed to see all that I wanted to see. There is the Chateau, The Gardens, The Grand Trianon, The Petit Trianon, The Queens Gardens and Hamlet and then the actual town of Versailles itself. I was stressed that I wouldn’t be able to get it all done and rightfully so. At the end of 5 days I was blissfully exhausted from my travels and full to the brim with historical facts, art, gardens and the gilded beauty of Versailles and the town that surrounds it. Given this, it would be impossible for me to create for you my experience in one short blog. So I have decided to break it down into three separate blogs: The Town, The Chateau and the Jardins. The fact is that the Jardins alone could take up three posts in and of themselves: The Jardins, The Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon and Hamlet. But, I will try to keep it to just the three. However, I reserve the right to expand it if I feel the need. I hope you won’t mind.
So there it is. In the next two weeks or so, I shall be uploading each of the three posts on Versailles. I hope to create with words and photos my magical experience during my stay at Versailles. In the meantime, please enjoy a few random photos from my trip as a teaser.
* Upon the death of Louis XIV in 1715 the court moved to Vincennes and then Paris but returned to Versailles in 1722 at the request of the twelve year old Louis XV