tourists, lots of tourists. oh, and a palace, too
Now, the first thing to be said about the marvellous Château de Versailles is that you'll be amongst thousands of tourists. They're everywhere... You'll be lucky if you can get a photo of the façade or the gardens without a couple of hundred folk obscuring the details. You'll be lucky if you can find a sandwich for love OR money after the hour of 2pm. You'll be lucky if you get to spend more than a couple of minutes in any room in the palace without being swept away in the current of the crowd.
But you'll also be lucky to go there and see all the wonders in person! Truly!
My sis and I were awestruck with everything! The size of the place, the richness, the history, the grandeur... Even though I had been there before (I sang solo in the Chapel Royale with Les Arts Florissants, doncha know!) somehow visiting as a tourist made everything so much grander!
DS and I decided to 'do' the gardens first... and it was just as well we did...
the bassin de latone and grand canal
We spent 5 hours. FIVE WHOLE HOURS in the gardens alone. I had monstrous sunburn to account for that. Even though there were plenty clouds in the sky, it was a 35-ish degree type of day so when the sun came out to play, he played hardcore.
the palace from the baths of apollo
Even with 5 hours of tramping around the groves, basins, fountains and avenues, I reckon we barely covered half of what there was to see in the gardens and I have to admit finding it hard to take photos of gardens of such a massive scale! Also, me being me, I took more photos of the beautiful sculptures than the anything else! We did make it as far as the Trianons - the Grand and the Petit and both were delightful to behold!
loggia of the grand trianon
Then, after tramping back a couple of miles, it was time for the interior of the palace, itself... And it's totally breathtaking! The French kings certainly stamped their majesty on the architecture and decoration everywhere, from the stunning Hall of Mirrors (which was being renovated while we were there);
la galerie des glaces
to the Chapelle Royale (which we could only view from the Royal gallery on the 1st floor and the door on the ground floor, so please excuse blurry photos - we were amongst many folk all jostling for a peep!);
you can kind of get an idea of the grandeur...
the organ by cliquot
to the grand apartments:
impressive door in the hercules salon
It was a tad on the tricky side trying to get photos, but the few I have give me such excellent reminders of a terrific day out that made any jostling and cramming totally worthwhile!!