Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Versalles or France Part II

Versalles was originally built by Louis XIII, but it is Louis XIV who is really known for making it what it is today.  He is also the one to create an image for the French throne.  Everything in this palace was made to overwhelm the observer with its luxury and opulence. Based on my impressions, it works to this day.   After walking through some of the rooms all I wanted was a bare wall to stare at for a few moments. Visual sensory overload should be one of the hazards posted at the doors along with the "beware of pickpockets" and "no flash photography". 

The photos are mine, unless noted otherwise.  I failed at taking quality photos of some of the things, so had to use the internet to bring them to you. 

One  is greeted by Louis XIV himself before entering the gates. 

I seriously think that artists use these gates as inspiration to portray the gates of heaven. 

View of the Palace from the back. More on the gardens, alley and fountains in a different post. 
Copyright Chateu de Versalles

 The Hall of Mirrors is the most famous room in all of the palace.  There is so much art and history to this room, it would be enough to teach a college course. 
Copyright Chateu de Versalles 
Human sized, gold plated candlestick.  There are at least 20 of them in the room... A few in the other rooms as well. They are all vary from one another. 

The mirrors were a huge deal when this room was originally decorated by Louis XIV.  They literally cost a fortune, and bring a lot more light into the room by directly reflecting the windows.  Because of their size, the effect is incredible. 

 Here is what the official Versalles site has to say about them. 
"Economic prosperity is demonstrated by the dimensions and quantity of the three hundred and fifty-seven mirrors that decorate the seventeen arches opposite the windows, attesting that the new French production of mirrors, which at the time were luxury objects, is capable of stealing the monopoly away from Venice" 

Perhaps the most famous portrait of Louis XIV himself!  He was very proud of his legs, and is said to have been a great dancer...  Note the marble, gild, and silk on the walls.

There was something really fragile and gentle about this sarcophagus.  I don't know who this woman is, and the almighty internet could not tell me.

The Queen’s chamber
Copyright Chateu de Versalles

When the palace was invaded by the rioters on 6 October 1789, Marie-Antoinette managed to escape from them through the little door on the left of the alcove.  The fabrics were reconstructed from drawings of the designs.  

The door was open when we were there.  I think that the colors in my photograph are much more realistic. 

I will not bore you with more rooms full of gilt, paintings, lamps, and marble.  Especially since the photos are not of the greatest quality. If you want to see them, invite yourself over for tea...

Grand Trianon is coming up in the next post. 

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