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.|
|Pointing the way to the train back to Paris.|