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Versailles

sunny 15 °C
View SEP Pre-Trip on seaskimmer's travel map.

Alright, I know I haven't blogged about Belgium yet, but I promise I'll get to that tonight. I need to get Versailles out first!

But before that. Let me lament about how I accidentally left my key on a random bench in the gardens and thus have a lock on my bag and a useless lock in my other bag. A blight on my day, seriously.

Okay, so I paid 18 eur for access to all of Versailles, from the Chateau itself to the gardens and the Trianon out back.

The Chateau/palace was first, it was immensely grand and beautiful with adornment on everything you could imagine. History buffs would enjoy this part because there's a lot of busts around and the hall of battles (or something like that) is full of paintings of famous French battles. That was cool. And also just being where all the Louis and Charles of history had been.

I went out, walked through all the way to the Grand Trianon, bypassed the gardens partly by accident and partly because I wasn't sure how much time I'd have, and I'd rather have gone to the Trianon.

The Grand Trianon was very pink. It was done up much more tastefully and simply than the palace itself. The palace anyway was built and decorated chiefly to impress people and provide a subjugating influence on the subjects. On the other hand, the Trianon was built firstly as a hunting lodge and later as a private home residence for the royal family to escape the crowd sort of. So while the place is still big and expensive looking, it's much more livable.

The Petit Trianon was even more subtle and pretty. It wasn't built or commissioned by her, but Marie Antoinette lived in it, in its later years.

There were estates built by Marie Antoinette, the gardens and the Hamlet to the side of the Petit Trianon. The grounds are absolutely beautiful, and my favourite part of the whole palace of Versailles. The area was very landscaped and hence not real on that sense, but it felt so much more natural than the coiffed gardens of the palace. There were little pavilions studding the green, and (rather dry and empty) streams winding their way around. There were also features like little grottos and the Belvedere thingy. I think what took the cake were the little buildings for the servants (I think). They were little cottages that looked like they'd be more at home in an English countryside rather than a grand palace. They had thatched roofs and crumbly stone and mortar walls and each building was allocated to a different staff, like the gardeners. They were all arranged in front of a little pond (one end of the streams) and there was even a turret at one of them!!! Wheeee. There was also a farm, I didn't go all the way over but I could hear the roosters and chickens making a ton of noise. I got to see the sheep though haha. And cows.

I loved the gardens of Marie Antoinette. She was described to be a bit of a terrorising airhead, but her gardens are beautiful. Then again, I was also thinking about how huge and beautiful the grounds are in juxtaposition to the poverty the people were living in during the time of Louis XVI. No matter how wonderful the palace is, it still was a bit of a power grabbing and maintaining tool, when more money and attention could have been spent on making France a better place. No wonder the revolution occurred!

I wonder how Marie must have felt when she was being led to Madame La Guillotine. She was still young then, and her assumption that royalty is power, authority and respect no matter what must have been dashed on the way there. It's amazing how privileged the upper classes during that time were. I personally think that's a reminder to not have false elevations in Singapore or wherever. I honestly think that there's a lot the middle class in Singapore doesn't see (myself included, but I try to).

Okay anyway advice for anyone who might go: the gardens are much better than the palace so allocate time accordingly unless you're a history buff (out of the palace by 12, assuming you get in at 9). Go on a nice day to better enjoy the gardens. Go early when the park opens cos the queue is crazy. Spend the entire day there. Get the audio guide, it's free and worth it even though the initial queue is a bit longer. Get the map and guides from the tourist info office outside before you go in, instead of getting it later at the Trianon like I did. Bring food and water because the food there is obviously touristy and expensive. Be prepared to walk a lot. Be prepared to take lots of pretty photos.

PS no photos right now, might update with photos at a later date. Photos are in the camera right now, lazy to get them into a com. Don't expect photos from March on fb til April!

PS 2 I'm im Jouy-en-Josas now with S, who's studying here. Tomorrow we leave at night by plane for Dublin. I'm gonna relax the whole of tomorrow, my feet are hurting so bad.

PS 3 I think I shouldn't have brought my winter coat. Should've been like S2 who only brought 2 sets of clothes for 3 weeks haha. Hope Spain will be cold simply so I can justify bringing my winter coat and extra warm layers. Don't think I'll use my thick jumpers though sigh. Then again maybe it's just the particularly beautiful and warm weather recently. Which I do indeed thank God for!

Posted by seaskimmer 13:28 Archived in France Tagged france history versailles jouy-en-josas Comments (2)

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