Saturday, August 05, 2006

Saddly Disappointed

Yesterday at Fontainebleau I said, “As spectacular as this is it will be nothing compared to Versailles.” I’ve studied the history and the architecture, I’ve read the stories of court intrigue, and all I can say after finally seeing Versailles myself is, “Eh.” Has it come to this? Have I finally become immune to everything I’ve seen? I’m at Versailles! How could I be disappointed? Why am I unmoved? This is the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV! The grandest and most spectacular palace ever built!

My primary reason for feeling underwhelming are the crowds. Not just the crowds here today, but the millions of people who come to the palace each year. The traffic is taking a toll on the building and preventing anyone there from appreciating it. As pretentious as I thought the tour of Buckingham Palace was, I can’t help but wish for a similar treatment here. If you control and limit the crowds, you control the experience. In spite of the grandeur, Versailles felt seedy and overrun. It’s almost as if the French don’t care about the palace and it’s place in history. Is the chaos here today a sign of the French disdain for royalty that led to the revolution? I have to admit I’m a little upset by the current state of affairs at Versailles.

It is beautiful though.


As the Sun King, the reincarnation of Apollo, Louis XIV thought he brought light and truth to his people. Gold was symbolic of his power.





The Hall of Mirrors does deserve its reputation. It must have been spectacular.

Outside we toured the gardens as the fountains are timed to music. A group of us decided to take a carriage ride through the gardens, splitting the 80 Euro price with a Japanese woman and a couple from Brazil.


Evidently people begin looking like their animals here too.




We found that in the carriage we became as much a part of the show as the fountains.

I think we're all feeling worn out at this point in the trip so we headed back to the hotel to rest. Versailles looks like it needs a rest as well.

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