Blog travel

travels: paris, versailles – Le Chateau

June 29, 2015

On a bright and beautiful day Avia and I escaped the city, hopped a train and explored Versailles.IMG_3396

According to Versailles’ official website: “The Château de Versailles, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30 years, is one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful.”

 

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More beautiful? Or perhaps just more MORE. This is the absolute antithesis of the “Less is More” modern architecture movement. Even though the French people overthrew the monarchy, I wonder if they still see Versailles as the pinnacle of French art and power. Perhaps as an American I cannot help but see it as a symbol of power taken to extreme excess by humans who thought themselves Gods.

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Every facet of life centered around the sun king including worship at the “chapel” didn’t begin until the monarch arrived. There were public ceremonies surrounding him going to bed at night for heavens sake.

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I must admit that I did enjoy the beautiful flooring …… modern quilt anyone?

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These were people who thought themselves as large as the paintings they commissioned. Napoleon crowned himself and his Queen and then commissioned many, many very large paintings of himself and his exploits. (Many of which we saw in the Louvre – our favorite was one looking like he was falling off his rearing horse.)

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The obligatory Hall of Mirrors photo.

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I was actually intrigued and impressed by some serious napkin folding skills (wonder if those are authentic 1780’s folds and how would they know?) Mostly, I needed to have someplace to look other than the rest of the room. I had an almost physical nauseous reaction to the place.

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adjective: rococo
  1. (of furniture or architecture) of or characterized by an elaborately ornamental late baroque style of decoration prevalent in 18th-century Continental Europe, with asymmetrical patterns involving motifs and scrollwork.
    • extravagantly or excessively ornate, especially (of music or literature) highly ornamented and florid.
       
      In other words – negative space must be obliterated!
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