Thursday, November 04, 2010

Paris part 8 - Versailles

We were so satisfied with our "free" walking tour in Paris that we decided to go for a "paid" tour in Versailles. We thought it would be just as good as the first one. However, we made the universal mistake of not reading the fine print and the 40€ we paid for the tour didn't include the 15€ (I think) entry fee for the castle in Versailles.

All of us felt so ripped off. However, it didn't change the fact that Versailles is a statement on its own.

"The Château de Versailles, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30 years, is one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682 (for power really). Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful." Source

This place is massive! Can you imagine that we spent 4 full hours just walking around in the gardens alone? And no, we didn't go in circles.

The cool thing about the entrance fee is that you get headsets and explanations for various rooms / paintings of the castle.  One is better able to appreciate the history, cultural and heritage of the French people, than just mindlessly snapping photos of the interior.

The King used Greek mythology to instill fear in his subjects. An example is the pond (above) with frog structures made of stone. Legend has it that if anybody revolts against the king, he has the power to turn humans into frogs. Imagine all these various Greek mythological figures placed strategically across his garden sprawling over 800-hectares! What a smart king!

And what better way to keep revolts at bay than by making sure that all the people in positions of power are living within close proximity? Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer, that's what that say.

Versailles was the blueprint for other castles at that time. Even the castle in Ludwigsburg was modeled after that in Versailles.
 The Castle and its carefully-manicured gardens 
 Gotta love the stunning violet colours of the flowers!
Just one wing of the massive Palace 
 A glimpse of the entire Palace
The interior of the castle. Doesn't it just scream out "decadence"?
 The famous hall of mirrors. When the sun rises /sets, the entire room lights up due to the reflection of the sun rays on the mirrors. I think I can understand why the French revolution took place. While people were starving, those of royal blood were busy dancing, drinking and enjoying their lives away!
That's a very famous painting of the Napoleon's disdain for the church. During his ordination as king, he refused to wait for the Pope to be finished with the usual protocol and simply took the crown from the Pope, placed it on his own head and did likewise for his wife, Josephine.


steph said...

yeah, i loved my trip to versaille too. it was summer and we ate ice cream, sat on the grass by the was so nice!

Pris said...

Hey Steph!
You must be the one from Singapore! Yah! Versailles is awesome!!! :) I can imagine that it looks even nicer in summer! We had pretty nice weather too in spring.


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