4 February 2010

My very own Versailles

Well its a love hate relationship. For some people versailles was a palace for some a prison, for others it meant their starvation, and for the rich their sanctuary, currently its a place where people walk around in awe. Well I think I experienced all these aspects of the palace today and the gambit of emotions that go with them. It was beautiful, opulent, perhaps exesive just like one would expect. The grandure of gold, and ornate decoration was like non other that I have ever seen. But I was sadend to realise that even I couldnt live there with out feeling like it was excessive. I felt guilty for the starving beggars still at its gates today as I paid 15 euros just to see all the gold, and yet felt too poor to offer them a penny. So I cant imagine how terrible I would feel if it were my home. Basically I became maniacally depressed to discover that should the French government offer me a residence in the grand palace I would feel obligated to turn it down. This realisation was earth shattering. It totally conflicts with my princess complex.

The second thing I did not like were all the rules and regulations, you may not see this room, you must go through that one, You may only wonder around this room in a clockwise direction, and that one is circulated counterclockwise. I felt angry at the palace and the staff for their pretentious cattle herding. I understand that in the summer it may be so busy that these measures are nessicary, but today they just felt cruel. I kept thinking to myself "who do they think they are?" Then a small voice in my head answered, "Versailles", and therefore they have the right. I guess that is why the palace was built in the first place, it was made to think that its word was law. Every thing about the palace history was made with the thought "I will be cause I can", so I had to forgive the palace for its absurdity, because it didnt know any other way to be. As for the staff, maybe working in such a regal place goes to your head after a while. Therfore I was amazed, then guilted, then imprissioned, then accepting all in the 1st 5 minuets of being there. What did I learn about home today? If you want something decorated, hire the French. There is a point when to much luxury becomes a prison. And santuary for me is relational to light, and noise volume!

Now that the spiritual stuff is over I have to say Versailles was so unbelivably like a dream come true, and it would be perfect if even the beggers could have lived there, god knows there is enough room.

The bed chambers are stunning, and pretentious. Mom I took pictures of the fabric wall paper and gold embrodery trim just for you. The gaurd in the corner was giving me the strangest look, then he said "you missed the painting AND the fireplace." The ceilings are all painted and its magnificent. I have such a sore neck from walking around looking up.

The hall of mirrors is far cooler than most people realise. At first glance it looks like a lot of crystal and light bouncing around. One wall is floor to ceiling windows, the other all mirrored panels. In the middle hundreds of chandeliers dripping with crystal. the effect is magical. But what I found magical was that the mirrors were doors and when I asked what was behind the doors the guide reacted very supprised and told me I had already seen the rooms on the tour, but not many people realise the mirrors actually open. After carefull thought and a good look at the map I realised it was the King and Queens bedrooms and anti chambers. So in the morning they could wake up to this view.

The sad part was that so much of it is closed in the off season. So I did not get to see the opera/ballet house, or the grand chappel. I was gutted!!!! Much of the gardens were closed for planting too, so I was depressed, but what I saw took my breath away, and my feet are very soar so I dont think I could have walked more if there was more to have walked. I liked the gardens almost more than the palace not that I was suprised by this. They were practiacally empty and very peicefull. Some of the bast landscaping and water features I have ever seen. I took more pictures in the first 4 hours at the palace than I have in all of Paris. My battery was fully charged and ready for the day and it died after 4 hours of constant use. So I will have to share the rest with you at some point, these are just a taster.

Overall I had an amazing day, peacfull at moments and in other moments a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. Although I felt kinda sad when leaving because I have been waiting my whole life to see that place and now I had. My dream had come true and then I was leaving and may never see it again. I am not sure what to do with the knolledge that I have realised my dream, now what?


Aric Clark said...

What are you to do? Have more dreams. So you can fulfill them too. Then dream some more. Why stop?

The amazing landscaping is doubly cool because it is not historical art, it is present, living art. People living today are doing the work of making those gardens beautiful which is pretty awesome.

Eddie Louise said...

I always feel that pull of the dual nature in Palaces - the desire to be gowned in voluptuous silk - to dine and dance and revel like royalty - alongside the guilt at the sheer opulence in the face of so much poverty in the world.

Thanks for the pictures of the wallpaper and the trim! I am in decorative heaven!

Chip Michael said...

wow... wow.... wow, to the descriptions, wow to the opulence, wow to the awareness of the juxtaposition of the world(s) we live in.

Stacia said...

I didn't realize you'd actually start posting so soon! Glad you made it safely and are so very reflective. I laughed so hard reading your posts! Mostly because I could relate to a lot of them. I can't count the number of times I've seen the dodgy parts of town before I managed to wander into the tourist zones.

I'm so glad you got to see Versailles. I hope to see it someday. Sounds like it was worth the 15 euros. Isn't it so funny how the royal beds are so short? I always think... wow, the king of such-and-such would have only come to my chest! I try not to smirk :P

Touristing always feels very split to me, especially in the very very popular yet 'holy' places. I always wonder what the Sistine chapel would feel like when it was not jammed with humanity, but graced with peaceful singing - similar to the imposed silence at Notre Dame I suppose. How do I respond to wanting a special experience, but being part of what ruins/devalues it at the same time?

I'll shush for now. Take care dear sister.