Thursday, December 5, 2019

A Little Outside Paris

Hi there,

Almost a year ago I travelled to Paris, France and Nairobi, Kenya. I started a few posts on my travels but looking back over the year I realized I didn't get too far with the travel posts. I will try to catch up now before the year ends and see how far I get. I left off after a visit to the Palace of Versailles just outside of Paris. If you missed that blog you can find it here.   The first post in what was intended to be a series can be found here.

Today we continue with my tour of the Palace of Versailles.  There were just so many photo opportunities that it is very difficult to do only one post.

Firstly there are a few things that you might be interested in knowing. There is a lot of useful information on line to help you with your visit to the palace.
  • The Palace of Versailles is located just outside Paris and about 1 hour by the city train. How long it takes you will depend on where you are staying in Paris so it could be a little less time or a little more time. Once you reach Versailles there is also a short walk to the palace.

  • Some people can enter the palace for free.  Check on line here.
  • You can purchase your ticket on line by computer or smart phone. There are a variety of ticket types. The type we selected was for timed entry to ensure we got in on the date and time we wanted.  This is particularly important during the height of tourist season to ensure you won't be disappointed.  You can check here for tickets.  I believe we arrived at 10 a.m. and after a short stop to pick up coffee we carried on to the palace. We needed the entire day to walk through the palace, stroll quickly through the garden and on to Trianon. By the time I got back to the front gate to meet my nephew (we separated here and there) it was already 5 p.m. and the entire place was closing for the day.  I am so glad I visited this place in Winter season and not in peak season because there were plenty of people there. I noticed too that a lot of people arrived just to see the gardens and did not enter the palace.
  • The palace is open every day from 9 a.m. onward except on Mondays.  The estate of Trianon and the Coach gallery are only open in the afternoon.
  • The Park and Gardens are open every day and the gardens are free unless there is a fountain show.
  • The following items are not allowed in the palace and must be left at checked luggage where they will store them for free: pushchairs (wheelchairs), metal baby stroller, walking sticks, crutches, bulky luggage and umbrellas.  I honestly don't know how a person who needs mobility aids is supposed to see the palace or the gardens if they have to check their assistive devices. I also don't see how a mother with children will be able to get very far without a baby stroller. When I checked in I didn't know about these restrictions and I took my walking poles with me thinking it was a good idea because I'd likely have to do a lot of walking. When I  entered the palace at my gate, I went through security clearance.  They asked me about the poles and scanned them and then they let me through. It was only while I was walking through the palace that I was stopped about 3 times and questioned about the poles. I was permitted onward in every instance. I think it helped that they accepted my story that security staff had scanned my poles and let me pass through.
  • There are a few places to have a quick bite to eat and/or drink on the grounds. You will need it because you will have to spend hours there to make it worth your while. If you are only going to see the gardens you can probably pack your own lunch.
As I mentioned in my first post on the palace, I was most interested in seeing the personal spaces of the King and Queen and in that regard I was not disappointed. I was also most interested in seeing the special place that the King built for his wife and as depicted in the movie, Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst in the title role. More about that later.

Today I'll start with a few photos of gigantic paintings that were on a temporary exhibit in the Africa Room. I felt very privileged to have been there during this special display. Unfortunately I don't seem to have many photos of the paintings. At that point I was very tired and trying to put my sticks and bag under a table in the room so I could take unobstructed photos. However the security stopped me from doing that.  Even so, this room and exhibit was one of the major highlights of the day for me.

The large, displayed notice of the exhibition.

The first three photos were taken in the Africa Room.

 A beautiful desk with a Egyptian sphinx on either side. I'm not sure if they are made of brass or gold

The photo above gives a good idea of the scale of the paintings which all depicted military scenes from various wars.

The photo above gives some idea of the grandeur of the passageways and the height of the ceilings along with the fabulous painted ceilings. 

The next several photos of a room with red walls and lots of gilt and chandeliers are of the King's bedroom.

The King's bed was much smaller than I expected.

The "green" room was the King's office. 
I remember thinking that it didn't look much like an office for doing work in though I imagine the King really did have work to do, people to meet, papers to sign and so on.  It was also quite dark in the room so I imagine there were many, many candles to light the room especially in Winter. I visited in January when I'm sure it is much darker than other months of the year.

My memory is hazy now but I don't believe this huge fireplace was located in the King's office. 
I took a photo of it because I seldom see such massive fireplaces.
This one had a beautiful painting above it and as you look up to the ceiling you find extensive gilt work and the ceiling of course is ornately painted.

There were a lot of paintings of Napoleon Bonaparte at various stages of his life.

One of the many statues in the palace. This one is of Charlemagne also known as Charles the Great.


 The next photos are various salons and passageways. 
At times it was difficult to look at paintings and objects.  When tour guides were passing by the tourists would block passages and didn't seem to worry that others needed to pass through.  There were also a lot of school children on tour. I enjoyed seeing them and I thought how fortunate they are to see such things at such a young age.
My nephew and I were not part of a guided tour.  We opted for a self tour with information fed to us through headsets.  Even so, it is far too much information to recall. I like simply looking at what strikes my fancy and learning a little here and there.
One has to be quick though because there is just so much to see.

The massive painting below depicts the scene in which Mary Magdalene washes Jesus' feet while he and the disciples eat together. That is me walking past it.

Here I am looking out one of the palace windows over the massive gardens which is where I will head soon.

Before I get there I still have something wonderful to see inside the palace.

Thank you for your visit.  Please come back soon.

If you've already visited the Palace of Versailles let me know what was your favourite part.


eileeninmd said...

Hello, what a beautiful tour of the palace. I have never been to Paris or France, so I really enjoyed your post and photos. Have a great day!

Cloudia said...

Can't wait till the cool show returns! We saw the establishment of Versailles as seat of govt

Terra said...

My favorite part of visiting Versailles was the gardens, the fountains and water works and the Petit Trianon where Marie Antoinette relaxed.

Mari said...

Wow! I am overwhelmed by your photos! I can't imagine how beautiful it was in person!

Rhodesia said...

You have done an amazing job of photos tourist free. Wish mine had been more like that. It is the most amazing place and you photos are excellent. Have a great weekend, Diane

affectioknit said...

What fun!...reminds me of my trip to Paris all those years ago...
~Have a lovely day!

Pamela M. Steiner said...

Oh my! These are such grand pictures! Amazing! I've never been anyplace like that before...thank you for sharing with us. What a treat!!

Jeanie said...

I would do the headset tour, too. This is gorgeous, Penny. I've never been to Versailles and I appreciated not only the information you shared, but your wonderful photos, especially. They are just beautiful. How lucky you were to enjoy this wonderful spot with your nephew!

Lowcarb team member said...

Simply WOW!
These are wonderful photographs, such a beautiful tour.

All the best Jan

shayndel said...

Sorry to be late!! Looks like you had an amazing visit and lots to share in the photos!! I didn't know there was an Africa room! It seems it was there for you! I was there mannnny years ago Somehow I remember "the petite trianon", but mostly and I must say my favorite part was being with my Mom and Sister!! They came to visit when I was studying abroad for a sememster!! Good for you to get the photos posted, I know how it is to have trip photos and wanting to get to posting them!!! Blessings and a peaceful and beautiful season to you!! ♡

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