Terra: Versailles, Je Vous Adore
My adventures in Versailles lasted from late October to mid-December. Versailles is a large city, which is about a ten minute drive from Paris… If there is no traffic. In reality it probably takes around a half hour to an hour if its rush hour, or there is always the train. The Versailles palace sits right in the center of the city and all the roads seem to lead to it. Even the city itself is very beautiful. I used to jog up and down the streets, endlessly exploring the rich history of all the houses and shops that radiated with Christmas decorations. There is an open market once a week where you can find everything you need for food and much more, almost like a fair that happens every week.
The palace itself is so expansive that anyone could get lost in it. When you walk in and read or listen to the history of each of the rooms it almost seems like the royalty that lived there had rooms for their rooms! There are even secret passage ways in the palace that the royalty used to use to escape their insanely public lives.
Outside of the mansion there are expansive traditional French gardens modeled after the balanced and symmetrical gardens of the Italian renaissance. The land is so huge you might just forget you are in the middle of a city. Each pathway leads to some sort of masterpiece fountain with gods and saints in the middle, eternally holding their poses for the sun king himself (and of course all the visitors).
My all-time favorite part of French history is that of Queen Marie Antoinette. It’s not a pleasant history by any means but it’s very interesting. She was so naive and alone even when she was surrounded by hundreds. She is also the one responsible for the “peasant” village, Hameau de la Reine, at Versailles. Of course, her view of a common person’s life was so diluted that her village became more of a country garden resort complete with a full farm.
Versailles is a trip in itself. If you ever get a chance to visit, you’ll find that everyone that lives there knows so much about the history that just continues to gush from the shimmering gates. The French are very proud of their history no matter how ugly it was at some points. Make sure to ask questions because you will find yourself learning so much in just one trip. You might just feel like royalty yourself!