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Versailles  

 

On Sunday we took the train out to Versailles, about ten miles southwest of Paris.  All of the exhibits and areas are open on Sunday, including the Fountain Show (Grande Eaux).  We wanted to get the full benefit of everything. Apparently, so did 30,000 other people.  The place was mobbed!   And I walked Mom's feet "bloody".  But Versailles is an immense city in and of itself, and you can't imagine how vast it is until you see it.   It's also evident why the starving peasants must have revolted when they saw the incredible lifestyle of the French royalty and court.

THE PALACE OF VERSAILLES

Main Complex

The Palace of Versailles was the official residence of the Kings of France from 1682 until 1790.  It was originally a hunting lodge, built in 1624, by Louis XIII.  Louis XIV expanded it, using it as a little lodge as a secret refuge for his amorous trysts and built a fairy tale park around it.

Chateau Trianon Park Trianon Chateau Grand Park Map of Chateau

 

Floor plan of Chateau

Red crown

The Chateau is comprised of the King's Apartments (Apartments of State) and the Queen's Apartments.

The King's "Grand Apartment" was quickly used only for state purposes, whereas the first ladies of France continued to live in the Queen's Suite.

 

Mom at Versailles gate Mom and Chris at Versailles Chris at Versailles gate
The main entrance at Versailles
Versailles Versailles Entrance Versailles
Mom in front of Royal Chapel Chris in front of Royal Chapel Mom in front of Royal Chapel
Mom in front of Royal Chapel Chris in front of Royal Chapel Look how big these doors are!!
Royal Chapel

The Royal Chapel, which is simultaneously Gothic and Baroque and over 80 feet high, is consecrated to Saint Louis (Louis IX of France, the French monarchy's crusader king).

Mars Drawing Room Venus Drawing Room
State Apartments - Royal Chapel, shown from the second level overlooking the nave State Apartments - Mars Drawing Room State Apartments - Venus Drawing Room
King's Bedchamber

Louis XIV's bedchamber occupied the exact center of the chateau. It was a key setting for events in the Sun King's day and was arranged to reflect this ceremonial function.  (Humble kind of guy, wasn't he?)

Arched hallway Hall of Mirrors

This is the most famous room at Versailles.  240 ft long, 35 ft wide, and 40 feet tall!  At one end is the Salon of Peace, at the other end is the Salon of War.

It was the symbolic focus of the kingdom.

King's Bedchamber   Hall of Mirrors

 

The LONG Walk through The Grand Park

The Grand Park, formerly an immense hunting ground, is comprised today of the lesser of two original areas; what is now called Le Grand Parc was formerly the lesser park; the original grand park was used for riding to hounds, while the smaller was used for shooting, which was done on foot.   It is organized around the Grand Canal, an ornamental body of water covering 105 acres and measuring over four miles around its edges. Flanking the Grand Canal are orderly forest plots planted with local trees (oak, ash, beech, cherry) yet cut by broad pathways.  The park is littered with pools and fountains, 32 of which create hydraulic effects. 

Louis also had an Orangerie with thousands of tropical trees and plants.  Can you imagine the amount of maintenance the grounds must have required??

Chateau Trianon Park Trianon Chateau Grand Park Map of Grand Park

 

Gardens Fountain overlooking the LONG walk Neptune Fountain
Formal gardens Overlooking the Grand Canal Neptune Fountain
Fountain Mom and Chris Mom
Fountains Mom and Chris during Grande Eaux Mom

 

The Trianons

The Trianons comprise a separate complex away (far away!) from the main chateau.  (Trust me, it takes forever to walk there!)  According to history, Trianon is the name of a village which Louis XIV purchased and then demolished in order to build 'a house for partaking of collations' (light meals). The king could escape from the oppressive protocol of Versailles and remain closer to his family at the Trianon.  The Grand or Marble Trianon, known originally as The Trianon, was later joined by the Petit Trianon and the Queen's Hamlet.

Chateau Trianon Park Trianon Chateau Grand Park Map of Trianons

 

Mom and Chris Grand Trianon Chris at Petit Trianon
Chris and Mom at the Grand Trianon Grand Trianon Petit Trianon

 

The Queen's Hamlet

The Queen's Hamlet is a picturesque little amusement village near the Trianons where the queen (Marie-Antoinette) played at being a shepherdess.

 

Queen's Hamlet Fishery tower Chris
One of the many charming buildings in the Queen's Hamlet Fishery Tower (or Marlborough Tower) Always eating - in this case, a Jambon

 

LINKS:    
Official Guide to Versailles (in English) More photos of Versailles (not mine)  
 

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