In 2001 my parents took me to Versailles and I recall enjoying the gardens and thinking the palace was absolutely massive. 13 years later, I returned and had a new perspective and new appreciation of what the place was actually about. I found that I was able to appreciate the art and the history quite a bit more as well as grasp the magnitude of the statement the king was making by choosing to have the palace in Versailles. The idea that a government would leave a main city and move to the outskirts is absolutely mind boggling and yet, that is exactly what happened and after various additions, became the Versailles that we all see today.
All patrons are given a free audio guide to assist in the tour of the 50,000 square feet of space. A few fun facts:
– There were apartment nights when the king would allow common people to come in and feast
– There was a billiard night where he expected his wife to dance because they were not a private couple
– Dinner was served at 10:00pm and people were allowed to watch the king eat, but they were not able to join
– The mirror room was designed as a showing of wealth as the materials and size were incredibly uncommon at the time
The tour of the palace was amazing and I followed it with a walk in the gardens and a bit of a nap. Once again, the pictures need to do the talking.
I grabbed a quick dinner and finally had some tartare that was heavenly!
Of course, I had another night with new and old (two days) friends at the Eiffel Tower. We drank wine and laughed and chatted and I even ballroom danced under the lights to some music on the Iphone. Everything about Paris was perfection!