Dancing in Versailles

Can we discuss this day?! 

Okay so putting aside my disgust at the socio-economic chasm caused by the building and running of Versailles - I LOVED spending the day with Jeff at this palatial estate. It was as if we had our very own royal playground, perfectly staged to take us back into an era of decadence.

I suggest arriving early because even though we entered Versailles in the morning, we were still met with hoards of crowds. It did not, however, take away from the other-worldly experience of beholding this place. 

We began in the North Arcade, stopping at the chapel before making our way to the second floor state rooms. I had no idea Versailles contained its very own temple. I envied the french nobilities' ability to pray in their own homes in such a beautiful place. 

The estate rooms, although packed with tourists, were beautifully detailed and sort of magical to stand in. I kept having to remind myself that this place wasn't merely the replica of an 18th century palace, it was the true residence of three generations of kings. Jeff and I took our time to wonder about each space soaking in the ornate paintings, filigrees and decorations. The infamous hall of mirrors was amongst my favorites. It was the type of room you only see in dreamscapes and there we were inside of it. 

We eventually made our way through the two floors, 4 wings and 3 suites of the home. {Stay tuned for soooo much vlog footage in my upcoming YouTube series}. We emerged on the Water Terrace just east of the palace and were greeted with crystal clear blue skies and an abundance of colorful flora. I practically had an anxious fit I didn't know what to photograph first. I had never seen gardens of this scale before. 

We spent the early afternoon wandering through the main gardens behind the palace. The Great Staircases of 100 Steps and the Orangery were basically empty and incredibly picturesque. We snapped some palm trees (a comfort for us being so far from home) before getting lost (somewhat literally) in the towering hedge maze. 

One of my favorite moments was seeing the Outdoor Ballroom for the first time. If you haven't yet seen the film, A Little Chaos, please do. It stars Kate Winslet and chronicles the story of the woman who designed this famous outdoor room and reveals the art in the architecture of the gardens. And yes, those are real seashells embedded in the stone work - incredible. A few more pitstops and a couple of meanders later we emerged at the Grand Canal. 

Exhausted but determined we made our way to Marie Antoinette's Estate on the North West side of the property. The Grand and Petit Trianon boast their own marvelous homes and gardens for visitors to explore...and explore we did...for another 3 or 4 miles. 

One of my favorite moments was discovering the Temple of Love in the Trianon Gardens. Among their many delights was this perfect pavilion bathed in sunlight. I have seen plenty like it before but somehow this one felt more perfect and more serene with it's view of the Petit estate just down the winding creek. 

I can honestly say we lost our way in the Trianon Gardens but it was a welcomed dance we did to find our way through it. Without a timetable or agenda we could fully explore without fear of cutting any venture too short. We soaked in every grassy knoll and marble plaza. 

We made our way through the last of the rooms and I mentally noted about 100 things I want to update in our home. The attention to detail in each inch of Versailles captured my heart and made me appreciate the beauty of details. I have always been drawn to the ornate and glamorous and Versailles has cemented my obsession with home design. 

In the early evening light we made our way out of Versailles stopping to capture the sunshine glinting off the golden fountains and statues. I can't believe there was ever a minute I wanted to skip visiting Versailles. It was such an amazing (and very full) day. We walked nearly 8 miles and saw hundreds of rooms and acres of gardens. 

My last line of advice, if you are visiting Paris and have the time GO TO VERSAILLES.




~ A ~

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