Part 2…Versailles…A view inside another era…Today the interior…Tomorrow…The romantic dinner cruise on the River Seine…

The famous Hall of Mirrors. This project was carried out by architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart and painter Charles Le Brun between 1678 and 1686.

After last night’s wonderful River Seine dinner cruise, a visit to the light show at 11 pm at the Eiffel Tower, we returned to our hotel by almost midnight thinking we had to get up and go to the Louvre early in the morning.  Silly me, I had the wrong date in mind and jumped out of bed to check our tickets.  The Louvre is schedule for Saturday morning, not Friday!  We were thrilled to be able to sleep in. (More on the dinner cruise with nighttime photos of the City of Light will be posted tomorrow.

The first stairway near the entrance to the residential chambers.

Today, we’ll finish this length, photo laden post and then head to the self serve laundry to do a few loads of wash. We’ll haul our clothes in the wheeling duffel bag, return to the hotel to later head out for dinner. 

The use of flash is prohibited in the palace. Wednesday was a dark rainy day, causing some of our photos to be darker than we’d prefer.
The stunning artwork is found on almost on every wall in the palace.

Most nights, we find ourselves winging it for dinner. We’ve walked the neighborhood to find dozens of restaurants, some very good and others mediocre. So far, none have been awful.

The doorways to each room are elaborately decorated with marble and gold.
Of course, we wish we’d had time and space to identify all of the art throughout the Palace. It was difficult to hear the tour guide with the crowds in each room as she identified various works of art.

Yesterday, late afternoon, I started working on today’s post, knowing it would take several hours with the number of photos of the interior of Versailles. 

View of the chapel, which was blocked off to tourists preventing us from a full shot.
This is a statue of Marie Antoinette.

As much as we would have liked to have been able to identify every piece of art, after considerable research online, we were unable to find the information for many of the items. The remainder we recalled from tidbits we were able to glean from the tour when the background noise was so loud we couldn’t hear even with the earbuds. In many of the areas, the reception for the receiver was poor and we weren’t able to hear a word.

Ceilings, glass archways, walls…all of it was stunning.
It was hard to resist looking out the windows imagining how the occupants of the palace may have contemplated the view, hundreds of years ago.

As we’ve mentioned we’ve done a tremendous amount of walking. Based on google maps assisted calculations so far, we’ve walked approximately 25 miles, the most Tom and I have ever walked together.

It appeared the sun had come out when light began filtering through the darkened room.
In the 40 years, it took to build Versailles, thousands of workers were employed to participate in the process.

With a few blisters on my feet, I’m happy to have had a bit of a reprieve on Friday during the day to let them heal enabling me to continue on our lengthier walks again in the next few days. Although, the Louvre itself requires an enormous amount of walking which I’ll somehow manage, blisters and all.

This portrait may have been Louis XIV.
Another view of one of the exquisite ceilings.
It was challenging to aim the camera toward the ceilings when there wasn’t enough elbow room for properly aiming the camera.

We have additional booked tours remaining, another top-rated restaurant reservation next week, and other outings whereby once again we’ll take the metro which appears to be the quickest means of transportation in the city and coincidentally the most economic.

We believe this portrait is of Louis XIV when he was young.
This is referred to as a commode with no relationship to a toilet.

The “hop-on, hop-off” one-day bus pass runs approximately US $40, EU $30 per person depending on the bus line chosen, for a 2½ hour ride to many areas we’ve already visited. We can’t seem to justify spending US $80, EU $60 for choosing this option. 

Louis XIV had this statue made of himself dressed as a Roman Emperor to enhance his image. He was of short stature and wore tall wigs in order to enhance the appearance of his height. Others in his court were forbidden to wear a wig as tall as his.
A variety of artists were commissioned for works of art.

Our roundtrip train fare was a paltry US $18.45, EU $13.80 for both of us. What a great way to get around if one can avoid the pickpockets. 

Gold used in creating designs was prevalent.
The various artists maintained a certain style befitting the palace.

It is this reason that prompted me to no longer carry a handbag, large or small, except on travel days. It’s odd not to carry a purse but, the freedom of my hands being free to take photos is more appealing than carrying stuff.

This scene was created on fabric. 
One can imagine gazing out of the window to the palatial gardens without tourists wandering about.

Tom carries my lipstick and phone in a front pocket which has my restricted food list translated into the language of the country we’re in at the time. I show this list to the servers and chefs wherever we dine to ensure my meal is safe to eat. Having this list has worked out well in all of our travels avoiding the necessity of lengthy explanations at the table.

A bust of Louis XIV.
The artwork in the ceilings is as detailed as the walls.

Now, back to our visit to Versailles. Once we were inside the palace, able to remove our soaked jackets, shake the water off our heads and faces, we felt more at ease until we encountered the massive crowds, everywhere we walked.

King’s chamber and bed in the King’s apartment.
King’s bedroom.

There were more crowds than we’d ever seen at any venue. Apparently, the time of day of arrival is totally irrelevant when crowds are already body-to-body packed like sardines in each of the rooms in the palace.

There were many photo-taking tourists in the Hall of Mirrors.

When I didn’t want the heads of tourists in our photos, I pointed the camera, still wet from the rain, above the heads for most of the shots. When an item was located at a lower level requiring lowering the camera, we had no choice but to push our way through the crowd to gain a better vantage point.

As the rain continued few tourists explored the gardens.
Artist’s name is unknown.

Tom’s good at pushing through a mass of people and he led the way for me to follow, setting up the best possible spot for the photos. Oddly, many of the interesting aspects of the rooms were above eye levels such as painted ceilings and portraits. I did my best. It was challenging and also frustrating at times.

The bedroom in the queen’s apartment consisting of four rooms.
Marie Antoinette’s bedroom, showing the top of the bed canopy.

We spent no less than four hours inside the Palace, more due to the crowds than the number of points of interest. How wonderful it would have been to see Versailles without the crowds. 

Fireplace in the council room.
Again, a nude statue.

It would be impossible to find a time with less of a crowd. As a result, we did our best using our imagination as to what life may have been living in this extraordinary, extravagant castle of several centuries long ago.

Queen’s bed.
Bust of Marie Antoinette.

Most assuredly, much of the palace has been restored when aging would have destroyed portions of the artwork, fabrics on the walls, beds, and furnishings. We perceived that they were replaced and repaired with the best possible replicas available to maintain its authenticity and integrity. 

The fabric on the wall of the queen’s bedroom.
Queen’s bed and gold-trimmed headboard.

As we walked through the palace, it wasn’t difficult to let our imagination wander to what it would be like living with such excess and opulence with the gold and crystal fixtures and finials and the finest of art and fabrics.  Apparently, the royalty felt they deserved this type of lifestyle, not unlike rulers all over the world today.

The elaborate canopy over the queen’s bed.
View of garden from the bedroom.

Putting aside our political opinions, the discomfort generated by the crowd, our wet clothing, and often standing still for lengthy periods, it was a glorious experience to see that which we’d only seen in movies and books.

Salon of Le Grand Couvert is a part of the Queen’s grand apartment where the king and queen dined, recently renovated.
Ceiling and wall in a room referred to as a salon.

A first visit to Paris would be incomplete without a trip to Versailles, rain or shine, while elbow to elbow with hundreds of other onlookers, as eager as ever to get a peek at a lifestyle one can only imagine.

Our view as we were sitting on the train on the return ride to the Champ de Mars area near the Eiffel Tower where we exited the station for the three-minute walk to our hotel. We remained on alert for pickpockets when one of the members of our tour group had his wallet taken upon entry in the station.

Photo from one year ago today, August 8, 2013:

The only photo we posted one year ago, was this logo from the Minnesota Viking football team. As the season was set to begin, Tom was hoping to be able to watch the games from Italy and Kenya. But the Wifi signal in both locations wasn’t strong enough to download the games after he’d paid several hundred dollars for the service. He was only able to view a few games, much to his disappointment as an avid Vikings fan.

For details from that date’s post, please click here.