Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Versailles, the Rodin and the Louvre...

We came...we saw...we enjoyed the treasures of Paris!

One of the finest historic buildings in Europe is a magnificent palace called the Chateau de Versailles. King Louis XIV transformed an old hunting lodge into a palace which was the ultimate symbol of grandeur and excess. It took 40,000 workers 50 years to create the decadent palace. For about 100 years, the Versailles was the residence of the king and the cultural centre of Europe. That all ended with the Revolution of 1789...but some 50 years later, the palace was re-opened as a museum.

We were in good company on the day we chose to tour the Versailles. It happened to be the first Sunday of the month...when guests are admitted free of charge. We had our 'purchased in advance' passes in hand...but they weren't required.

From ceilings that were amazing works of art... gilded moldings and crystal chandeliers...everything was a little 'over the top'.  It was easy to imagine that peasants of the day felt justified in revolting.

As you can tell...the palace is massive and took a while to tour. And when we were done the palace...we entered the gardens...and realized our tour was far from over!

The gardens were awe-inspiring...all 250 acres of them!    They seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see, with lakes and ponds all nicely laid out...and bronze statues and fountains galore.  We weren't really expecting a whole lot from a winter garden...but definitely enjoyed our time there.

It is a 40 minute walk through the gardens to the domain of Marie-Antoinette.  Here we found King Louis XIV's hideaway...a smaller palace called the Grand Trianon that he used to escape the pressures of kingship. And nearby was the Petit Trianon...where Marie Antoinette made her home. 

By the time our tour was over...the French sun was about to set...and we had logged 8.5 miles on the pedometer.  We were good and ready for our French cuisine that evening...served to us by a waiter named Phillippe.  If you are ever in sure to visit Chateau Versailles.  It was amazing!

I'll take you on a quick trip to two of the other museums we visited.  Though some would have spent hours at these places...we took 'power tours'.

We found 'The Thinker'...

...a famous sculpture by Auguste the extensive gardens of the Rodin Museum. 

The Louvre...often described as the greatest museum in the world...houses more than 35,000 works of art. It was all rather overwhelming to us...but we went in search of one particular work of art.  We found her...

...she winked at us...and we carried on! 

Enough for today.  I'll take you back to the City of Light once more...before we take the Eurostar Chunnel to London.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!


  1. My last trip to Paris was in the month of February, so your photos brought back memories of being chilly in that marvelous city. You two certainly made a day of it in Versailles - I love that you wore a pedometer!

  2. Judy - did you have to wait in line with all the others at Versailles? What a great idea to take your pedometer! I think we're both early birds as I often see you've posted in the morning.

  3. What fun to explore the places that had only been imagined before. I was laughing a bit to think of touring 250 acres. My overwhelmed meter would have tweaked out. Only 8.something miles? Amazing! (I didn't know that Marie Antoinette had a smaller establishment. Was it as ornate? My corner has a little connection with Marie. There were plans to spirit her out of the country and bring her to our shores and then on to Quebec. Alas, we know that they were not in time.)

  4. Thank you for the tour this morning....places most of us only dream of traveling to. The gardens, the paintings.....amazing! Did you tally up all the steps you took on the trip? We often take our pedometer on holidays too...just for fun.

  5. I was thinking as I looked at the pictures that you are on the other side of seeing vacation photos. Now you can see it all perfectly in your mind.
    I've heard that these vacations are an excellent way to get in shape and I don't doubt it for a minute.
    I was wondering to if you made it to the front of the que or cue (however you spell it)

  6. What a quick tour, but giving us the highlights and make me itch to see some of this stuff that we studied in those history books way back and at the same time you had your gym class...We did not have pedometers in those day.

  7. Just amazing and magnificent! I love seeing your photos...

  8. I love that you packed in as much as you could! Well done! How many people were standing around the Mona Lisa? I can't tell which camera is yours in the reflection! LOL.

  9. You must have spent a lot of time in line-ups if you walked only 8.5 miles in crisp weather. Imagine all that's left to see in those gardens! You must be due a Paris trip in summertime one of these years...

  10. Were you surprised at how small the Mona Lisa was? I've often heard people who saw her in person state that fact. I loved the reflection of all the faces looking at her in your photo.

    Paris looks like an exceptionally beautiful city! Such opulence in that palace! Yes, I do see why Mary Antoinette lost her head :)

    I'm enjoying your tours very much, Judy!

  11. Great photo's...can you imagine cleaning those chandeliers??
    Can't wait to see London!

  12. I made the comment to my family once that if I lived in France I'd have a season's pass to Versailles. They think it hilarious. But I do enjoy my visits there, as far apart as they've been.
    It is a massive establishment, isn't it? Too bad about purchasing passes you didn't need.

  13. To those of you who wondered...yes, we stood in line like the rest of them! We had Paris passes...which are meant to by-pass the ticket line-ups; but since it was a free day...we lined all lined up just the same. The line-up moved quite quickly though...and people dispersed once we were through the gates.

    Vee...Marie Antoinette's 'cottage' was not as ornate, though not exactly a cottage! Interesting that she 'almost' came to Canada.

    As for the crowds around the Mona couldn't get close. I have a good zoom on my camera! I was very surprised by the size, Pat. Small...compared to all the massive paintings that hang about in the Louvre. It is about 20" x 30".

  14. That is one thing that hit me when we were in Europe ... so much history! It actually makes hitory real and interesting. We have nothing like that here.

  15. How beautiful! I've always wanted to see the palace of Versailles, nice pictures!

  16. You certainly did some walking! I know how tiring Paris can be, but you saw some of the best of it.

  17. You captured so many highlights of your trip and I feel so honored to be able to share in those hightlights. I always enjoy the exercise that walking tours provide, and it seems like you all certainly got your fair share. Thank you for the photos and the commentary. Great post!

  18. Touring through your trip here late at night. Wow you got to do and see so much. I am dreaming of a return trip to Paris myself.

    We just need to make the time and start the planning.

    I am drooling here....and think I better get a move on and plan this trip soon!


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson