Friday, April 11, 2014

    This is Versailles: 2012 Edition

    It's true i've drip-fed a 2012 holiday over 2yrs now, but it's also true I write this blog primarily
    for me, as a diary ( and there was a lot of stuff we did to sort through! :) )

    It seems every school holidays I get a little chance to add to it further, and these school
    holidays are no different.  It's just important for me to do it, and have it done :)

    So this is Versailles.

    I've been lucky enough to visit Paris once before, as a couple, but a jam-packed schedule
    meant no time for leaving the city, and Versailles is a train ride out of town and takes up
    a whole day easily.

    The Train to Versailles

    Seeing as this was a "Paris with Kids" holiday and we'd spent all our time delighting them,
    and trying not to drag them through too many castles and galleries, my only wish this time
    was to see Versailles.

    Plus I am a bit of a sucker for a trip on a train :)

    Versailles 2012

    There was an amazing art exhibition on at the time which I found fascinating as I
    didn't expect it at all. 

    I really liked how the artist's work both blended and complimented the opulence
    and more traditional art on show.

    Versailles 2012

    Versailles 2012

    Versailles 2012

    Versailles 2012

    Versailles 2012

    My favourite piece was the crocheted lions below.  I could have admired them for hours,
    but the natives were restless.  Gone are the days of contemplative meditations in galleries,
    soaking in the details .. hustle!  hustle!  hustle!

    A few times I found myself alone in a room full of strangers.  My "seen it, next!" family
    several rooms ahead, as I eavesdropped in on snippets of guided tours and soaked it all in.

     ( Still, I took the boys to the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition in Canberra last year and my
    eldest held my hand and paused to ask questions about the works and the era as we
    shared a headset.  It was a happy day :)

    Versailles 2012

    These works/ installations were all by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos
    You can read more about her and this exhibition here:

    Versailles 2012

    My boys and a selfie :p

    Versailles 2012

    After thoroughly discovering the Versailles interior, we headed outside and boarded a
    trolley car to take us to Marie-Antoinette's Estate. 

    We thought we were quite clever by avoiding the crowds, but alas, when we arrived,
    we had like almost 2hours to kill before they opened the gates on the Petite Trianon. 

    *Le Sigh*

    The Petite Trianon was Marie's little house to escape court life, although when I say
    "little", it's still quite the palace and would still be an impressive huge home if you
    plonked it down in modern Toorak.

    So we hung out nearby and drew with sticks in the dirt and played chasies for a while
    and waited..

    Versailles 2012

    We also checked out Marie's little mill and little farm.

    Much has been made of the fact the Queen liked to 'escape to the country' with
    her children and pals.  They'd don peasant garb and milk goats and play at the simple life,
    albeit, in a romanticised way.

    The people of France, already not in love with the aristocracy, hated on her all the more.
    They were living the peasant life, and there was no-one to pre-wash THEIR goat's teats or
    groom them all pretty-like before they had to do the hard yards.

    Versailles: Marie-Antoinette's Estate

    The truth is many wealthy French aristocrats built similar faux peasant estates on their properties.
    It was a bit of a garden trend, the same as crazy paving and pink flamingos in the 50's.

    Rustic life was very popular in paintings and plays/novels of the time, and of course must
    have been a welcome relief from the stuffiness of court life at Versailles. 

    I know if I worked in the Melbourne CBD all week, i'd be wishing I had a pad to retreat to
    down the Peninsula. 

    Plus, I love to hang out in the garden and pet animals.  Sounds ideal to me.

    Marie-Antoinette's Estate

    Everything was rather idyllic and painterly.

    However, the fish in the pond grossed me out a LOT.  ugh.

    Marie-Antoinette's Estate


    Finally, in the heat of the day, when everyone was tired and getting cranky,
    we boarded the trolly car again and found even more painterly wonder.


    Are you freaking KIDDING ME?

    Boat hire was quite reasonable, but to be honest, resistance would have been useless.


    best put the kiddos to work then ....


    ^ I love this pic of AB

    Yeah, Versailles was pretty unimpressive.

    Versailles 2012

    I wouldn't recommend it AT ALL :p

    Versailles 2012

    P.S. : You can see other images from our holiday here:
    i-phone montage
    The Arts et Métiers Train Station
    Les Marchés de la France
    The Cafe de la Prominade
    Our Paris Apartment
    Les Averries :: Our Country House in France
    Paris Daily

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