Monday, 8 March 2010

Paris day 3 – (06/03/2010)

Versailles – the most beautiful city in the world!?

Wow! We went to Versailles this morning and I can safely say that it was the highlight of my time here in France! On driving in to the city we were greeted by rows of tall, elegant French style houses in different coloured pastels and with shutters on the windows. There are cobbled streets and trees and flowers everywhere. (It strangely reminded me of a town I once drove through in South Africa!)

When looking past the high, gold gates of Versailles Palace, it was clear that it had most certainly been built as a statement of wealth. The architecture style was bland, yet incredible! Gold traced the edges of the building making it even more visually impressive! It was scary to think about the history behind Versailles and my mind kept flickering back to images from the film, ‘Marie Antoinette’, one of my favourites. Once satisfied that we’d taken enough ‘touristy’ photographs we made our way inside. (It’s free entry if you’re under 25 and show your passport!)

On first glance the garden of Versailles palace was unimpressive. What was once a garden of spectacular splendour and beauty was now a wasteland…triangular shaped trees sat scattered around the area looking withered and sad. Fountains, which would have been full of life and energy, sending water dancing through the air and creating soothing sounds, now lay empty and dilapidated. The sky suddenly seemed duller, and the air colder. However, after turning a corner and heading toward the back of the palace I looked to my left and saw an immense sight. At the bottom of many steps was a canal, the ‘royal canal’, and it stretched off into the distance for what looked like miles. We walked down towards the canal then turned right to head towards ‘Marie Antoinette’s estate’!

It was a long walk and the weather was crisp! It was however worth the walk and the uncomfortable coldness. Unfortunately work was being done on the building and so scaffolding had been put up which completely destroyed the view. However after looking inside we went around the back where scaffolding wasn’t up and so I was able to take some photos! I liked how I recognised everything from the film!!

Until you’ve been there I don’t think you could ever imagine just how big Versailles is. The palace gardens stretch for miles and as you get deeper and deeper into them, more and more wonders are discovered! Lorna and I thought we’d got lost at one point! We went around the back of Marie Antoinette’s building and found more buildings, one of which was owned by the king. It was made of pink marble and in the past was used as a place to entertain his mistresses – it is also the home of the famous ‘Hall of mirrors’, which was where all the latest fashions were discovered. Wooden dolls dressed in these latest fashions would have been sent out to other cities such as Paris and London so that the rest of the world outside of the wonderland that Marie Antoinette had created for herself inside Versailles could keep up to date!

If you ever visit Versailles, equip yourself with a pair of comfortable shoes, as you will be doing a lot of walking! I would definitely like to go back again, preferably in summer, as I feel as though I didn’t get to see everything that I would have liked to. I would like to see the gardens during the summer season when the trees will have blossomed. I would also like to go back to see Marie Antoinette’s room within the palace which I sadly didn’t have time for!:(

(Me in Versaille - wearing my new dress £9 from Primark and new tights £8 from Topshop)

The rest of my day has pretty much been a blur! We left the hotel at 10am and I returned at 10pm…it’s been a long day full of castles, grand gardens and boat rides - kind of like a fairytale:)


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