Today we traveled to Versailles, and I really have no words that will do this place justice.  The most beautiful place I’ve ever seen is the bio-bay at Vieques, Puerto Rico, where there are creatures in the water that phosphoresce at night, but the gardens and grounds of Versailles run a close second.

For that reason, I’m going to take a bit of photographic license and show you 3 photos from each area of Versailles – the palace, the gardens, Marie Antoinette’s manor, and Queen’s Hamlet.

I’ve also had a complaint from my brother that I’m not posting any pictures of myself!  This is of course on purpose because I hate taking or seeing pictures of myself, and this trip is more about what I’m seeing, not about seeing me, but I understand the gripe.  :)  Keith told me he wants to show the kids my blog and the first thing they’re going to ask is where the pictures of Auntie V are.  So I’m posting some special pics that I know Hayden and Nick will get a kick out of, and maybe some of you bigger kids too.

First off, this place is massive.  The courtyard is as big as a football field and we had to queue there to get in – about 6 very long snaking lines filling the courtyard.  We got there at 10:30 and even with what had to be nearly a thousand people in line it only took us about an hour to get in.

Neither Callie nor I are big fans of peeking at portraits of dead folks or checking out their china, so we just walked through the palace to see the “grand apartments” as they’re called.  But the Hall of Mirrors was a real treat – majestic and beautiful.  Inside the palace it’s a nightmare to get around.  So many people and so crowded, and the palace is decorated in what looks like the baroque style to me, so it’s pretty gaudy.  Took us about 45 minutes to go through it.  Then we had a yummy lunch of brie on baguettes and I indulged in a caramel éclair.  Couldn’t help it - it just looked too pretty!

And then a wonderful thing happened.  As soon as I left the palace and began wandering the gardens, it almost felt like I had the place to myself.  The grounds are just so vast that even with hundreds of people walking them, I could be alone in a patch of garden for a bit.  Really lovely.  And the gardens are what to go to Versailles for.  Andre Le Nôtre designed them for Louis XIV in 1662.  The immense size of the palace is impressive, but the gardens are gorgeous as well as vast.  Huge avenues lined with trees, striking fountains and statues, and surprisingly peaceful considering all the people.  You can also pay to take a tram car to Marie Antoinette’s manor rather than walk there (guess that big old palace wasn’t enough for her), but you should absolutely walk or you’ll miss a lot.  It felt like about ¾ mile to me, down a long, gorgeous avenue of trees.  Goats and sheep in the meadow.  Marie’s place felt more like a mausoleum than a home – lots of cold marble – but her gardens are also gorgeous.

Then Callie and I walked to Queen’s Hamlet – a little village she had built near her manor.  Straight out of medieval England, so quaint and pretty I could have sworn they shot THE HOBBIT here.

Today was glorious and I saw so many wonders that just reinforced my faith in God.  How can mere man – so flawed and fallible – create such beauty if not for the existence of a Maker ever more beautiful?

Hope you enjoy the photos!

Love to all…

 


Zell
07/21/2013 5:48am

Oh, my--a caramel eclair! I've never had one; it sounds heavenly! Your commentary about the crowds was funny, Vicki! In such situations, I always lament to myself, "Being a tourist could be so pleasurable if it weren't for all these stupid tourists!" Haha! I wonder what the crowd density is like off-season--like in November? (Or if the buildings are even open to the public in November?!) Can't wait to hear about your next adventure!

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Vicki
07/21/2013 8:05am

I know! I was telling Callie, the perfect time to visit Versailles might be in winter, but then of course the gardens won't be in bloom. I don't know why I thought we'd be able to just stroll right in. :)

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Isabelle
07/21/2013 8:04am

LOL! your comments and captions are great.
Couldn't agree more portraits and china :)
I want to say I went to Versailles as a kid but don't remember much of it. Will have to do when I take Sean to Paris :)
The kids are going to love the pictures :) they are perfect.
You look so happy! Please do keep posting some of yourself.

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Vicki
07/21/2013 8:08am

So happy, but wish I could've brought all of you with me! Now that Callie's gone I'll have to rely on the kindness of strangers for more pics of me, but will try. I got sunburned standing out there waiting to get in, even slathered with sunblock!

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Vicki
07/21/2013 8:09am

And you must, must, MUST take Sean to Versailles! Jog through the palace, linger in the gardens. :)

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