Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Trip to Versailles

Versailles is one of those places that has always fascinated me. The grand schemes of Louis XIV who wanted a palace that would demonstrate his power and centralize his authority are evident in the sheer opulence of the place. And of course, Versailles became the world of Marie Antoinette, one of history's most interesting women, who showed her strength of character in the face of unspeakable horror and tragedy.

There is a lot of work going on at Versailles - here you can see the gilding of the palace roof on the left, contrasted with the plainer roof, not yet gilded, on the right.

Wonderful frescoes decorate the grand apartments. Not just pretty paintings, these frescoes send a message of power and of authority from the king to his courtiers and visitors. Louis XIV used mythology to convey his godlike status to others.

An intricately worked window latch continues the opulence. Everything that can be decorated is, with stunning effect. And here, the window frame shows the wear of years, that this was a place where people lived and loved, schemed and hated.

It's difficult to capture the grandeur of the Hall of Mirrors with amateur photography. For one thing, there are so many people in the palace. Here you can see some of the decor and the sparkling chandeliers through the mirror's reflection.

In Marie Antoinette's state apartment, floral fabrics abound. Elaborate tassels and passementerie form part of the draperies on the windows. It was so hot the day we were there, and I just imagined Marie Antoinette giving birth in front of the court in this room. History reports that she fainted from the heat, and her husband, Louis XVI pushed through the crowds to open a window allowing air to come into the room.

Check back in the next day or two for more about Versailles.

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  1. Hi Lorri, Thanks for the posting about Versailles. I visited that grand place during my 1989 trip to Europe. An amazing place.

  2. Welcome home, what an amazing trip. Such a blessing. Clarice

  3. Wonderful post! The palace is unreal! What an amazing place to visit. How wonderful for you to see it.

    I have to chuckle whenever I see the name Versailles, "Vair- sigh". There is a Versailles, Missouri (a teeny, tiny po-dunk town)and in true, Missouri style, it is pronounced, "Ver- SALES". Accckk!

  4. Lorrie,
    You would have loved our Father's Day excursion in Quito, "De Terror a la Libertad" in honor of the bicentennial here! It's a special exhibit including art from the Louvre, weaving together the histories of Louis XVI, Marie A, and Ecuador's independance from Spain;which was instigated by the appointment of Napoleon's brother ("Pepe Botella") as King of Spain. "We can't be a colony of a colony" they said. It would have been fun to have you with us!


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