Paris – 6/12/2018
After our first week of work, Kelly and I were pretty tired, so we really didn’t do much on Friday night. But Saturday morning, after a quick trip to the Monoprix (grocery store), we made our way to Versailles! Versailles is one of Kelly’s favorite places, and I can see why – it’s absolutely beautiful, with huge gardens and an extremely ornate Palace. Versailles was originally a two story hunting lodge built for King Louis XIII in the early 1600’s. In the 1630’s, Louis XIII had the hunting lodge made into a large chateau with the immense gardens and pools that exist today. A few decades later, Louis XIV rebuilt Versailles, making the chateau even bigger and more grand. In the coming years, it was made bigger and bigger (until the French Revolution). Today you can tour parts of the Palace, and much of the gardens, which is exactly what we did!
We ended up getting the year pass to Versailles, so we got to skip the ~400 person line and go right in. Once we were inside, we walked through the Palace, which is really amazing – everything is painted, gold, or marble – even the ceilings!
The Kings bedroom has a massive chandelier.
The Hall of Mirrors
It was a little hazy, so the Grand Canal looked like it blended right into the skyline – the Canal is almost a mile long!
The Apollo Fountain – which was finished around 1671 – had working fountains even then!
Kelly and I also visited The Queen’s Hamlet – Queen Marie Antoinette apparently wanted a place to relax and host guests, and had an idyllic, functional village built – they even hired ‘normal people’ to live there. From the outside, it looked like the Queen was ‘playing peasant’ and mocking peasant life – at a time when much of the country was poor and starving – which helped fuel the hatred of her by the country.
After a lot of walking, we made our way back to Antony and made some dinner (which wine of course) and watched Somm – a documentary about people training for the Master Sommelier test – if you’re interested in wine, check it out!
On Sunday we visited the Louvre. The Louvre was the main residence of the French Royalty before Versailles – and you can tell. But before that, it was actually a castle and city wall that protected Paris. Eventually Paris grew, and the wall became useless.
One interesting thing remains though – the castle was destroyed, but when they were expanding the Louvre, they found some of the remains of the castle – below is a picture of what was the moat of the castle, with the large rounded wall on the right being one of the pillars that held the castle up!
The museum has exhibits and art from everywhere in the world and every time period. Below is the Great Sphinx of Tanis, which is from 2600 BC – over 4500 years old!
They also had some great works from Greece – this is known as Venus de Milo (Venus is the Roman goddess of love and beauty, but since this is from Greece, it’s actually Aphrodite de Milo). One tidbit – Greek sculptures like this were painted (I guess the paint wore off after 2000 years).
Below is the Winged Victory statue – it was unearthed in 1863. It represents the Greek goddess of victory – whose name might sound familiar – “Nike”.
Again, like Versailles, much of the building is covered in gold and paintings – and the marble floors are the same marble floors that where there when the French Kings and Queens lived here.
This is one of the main hallways in the Louvre – it’s very long, and full of amazing art.
This one painting (in the same room as the Mona Lisa) is 40 feet wide. It represents when Jesus tired water into wine.
The Mona Lisa! Since it’s so popular, there was a large crowd of people in front of it, and a line where you could wait to get closer. Our tour guide personally thinks it’s over-rated compared to some of the other pieces.
Another huge painting – from the crowning of Napoleon as King.
The Louvre has special exhibits, and the exhibit they have there right now is of the work of Eugene Delacroix – he’s most famous for this painting – Liberty Leading the People. He also had some other great works on display!
As we left the Louvre, we went to one of the Metro stations near it – and even in the Metro station there were greek statues and other works of art.
Overall, we had a great weekend (our first real weekend in Paris!).