One of the main things I had wanted to do on my previous trips to Paris was to go to Versailles, but I had had never quite made it out of the city. When I watched the film Marie Antoinette, it inspired me further and I could not wait to see it for myself.
This time, my husband, daughter and I made the time to catch a train to the palace and take in the château. Despite it’s enormity and the cold weather, it was crowded. But from the moment we passed the statue of King Louis and entered the gold encrusted gates it was worth it.
There was a whole chapel inside the palace, long hallways with sculptures carved into the walls and winding staircases. The rooms all had ceiling frescos and detailed wallpaper. It was definitely decadent now, so I can only imagine what it was like before revolutionaries ransacked it.
There were enormous fireplaces, but small beds; elaborate candlesticks and chandeliers, but threadbare tapestries. Of course we went to the famous Hall of Mirrors, which had beautiful views over the gardens.
My tip would be to go to the Jardins de Versailles first as they would be less crowded in this order, and as nice as the house was, the gardens were much more impressive to me and more vast.
The hedges with statues on the North Parterre was so long and the lake-like fountain on the Water Parterre was so huge. But the most spectacular for me was the view of the patterned Orangery from the Latona Parterre.
Of course, I was also amazed by the famous Grand Canal. I couldn’t believe that there was such a big body of water in a garden. The fountain-obsessive in me also liked Water Ave punctuated with a fountain every few steps and culminating in the lovely dragon fountain.
And of course I loved the idea of the little hidden Three Fountains Grove and the large Neptune’s Fountain. I only wish that I had been here when all the fountains were flowing. How impressive a sight that must be.
I also wish that I had more time to explore the gardens. I could just imagine the parties that the kings and queens had out here. It would have been great to have had more time to see Marie Antoinette’s Estate too and imagine her there with her children.
But alas, my unhappy child would have none of it, so I suppose I will have to leave that fantasy for another day.