Sunday, June 19, 2011

Life Lessons from the Sun King...

When I was a freshman or sophomore in high school, I was browsing around the library one day and lit on a book about Louis XIV (or as my daughter Carrie calls him – Louis the Ex-Eye-Vee) of France.  Since the day I picked up that book all those years ago, I have wanted to see Versailles for myself.  Well, I finally have.  Greg and I took a day and the train to Versailles to check it out before we headed back to the States.

I won’t say I was disappointed exactly, but I was a little put off by the crowds of people who obviously had read that same book that I had.  The place was packed.  I know it was pie in the sky for me to think that we would have it to ourselves, but pretty much until we got to the Hall of Mirrors, I felt like I was being pushed along prettily steadily by the crowd and I didn’t get to fully appreciate what I was seeing.  It was a bummer or possibly simply bad planning on our part.  Then we went outside and I felt much better.  The gardens at Versailles are so big and beautiful that the crowds seemed to disperse into thin air.

The bottom line is that I learned a couple of things during my experience at Versailles.  The first thing is to skip the house (well, I guess they correctly call it a palace) next time and go directly to the gardens.  And, secondly, that I am not a person who is very comfortable in crowds.  Whether that is the cause or the effect of us living out in the country, I don’t know, but it is true that given the choice, I would take the pastoral Normandy over the city of Paris and the crowds at Versailles pretty much any day.
  That’s just the way I am.
Having said that, I am very happy that I got to spend time in Paris and a little time walking in the same space once occupied by the very interesting and well-dressed Louis, the Sun King.  He built himself quite a house there.

As a little post script here, I want to thank the young man who came to my rescue when I couldn’t get my return ticket to register in the turnstile when we got back to Paris from Versailles.  Before I knew what was happening, he scanned his pass to allow me to go through the gate and then did a graceful leap over the gate and was on his way.
  Merci beaucoup.  Votre gentillesse a été très appréciée.

Greg and me in the Hall of Mirrors.

The Orangery

Pointing the way to the train back to Paris.


texwisgirl said...

how nice to meet a kind person in a strange land. :)

magda said...

Versallies-Pallas is wonderful!!!
I have been there 20 years ago...
Your photos are Fantastic!!!!
Thank you for the memories!
Many greetings and kisses

Rachel said...

Stunning photos! Would love to see those in person, and so glad for the visual trip here! :)

barbara l. hale said...

Thanks, all! It was great to see it in person despite the crowds. It's much larger and over the top than I even imagined.