day 17 - versailles and midnight strolls

Hello friends :) I'm now going to attempt to catch up on the last 4 days because the internet is working right now, huzzah!

Today, we went to the magical and ridiculously ornate palace of Versailles. A recent estimate on how much it cost to build Versailles in the late 1600's (but in modern day pricing) was placed at over 2 billion USD and it seriously was beautiful. The hall of mirrors was absolutely astounding. It amazes me that it was built for a person, a single person. Obviously other people lived there, but the intention was for one individual.
Every inch that could be decorated, was decorated. And not just simply decorated, but extremely ornate. The ceilings had intricate crown molding and murals painted. The doors had the most detailed gold plated wood work decorating the surface. The walls had beautiful, expensive wallpaper (obviously not original but from the restoration) and giant paintings hung on the wall with marble sculptures everywhere. Lots of gold, lots of marble, lots of expensive materials and lots of money. It was pretty amazing really. And huge. The palace was ransacked and destroyed during the revolution and they've only recently restored a very small portion. I would so love to see the other parts of the palace that are still destroyed. It would be really interesting to see the contrast between the two.
The gardens of Versailles were probably my favorite part. They were enormous. As in miles long and wide. Here's a link to a map to get an idea of the size. The big, cross shaped thing in the middle of the garden is water. Pay attention to it's massive size for a moment... now image Tia, Mirielle and I walking around the whole thing because yup, that happened. Not the best idea I've ever had. It was pretty nice though, very relaxing and fun in it's own slightly awful way.
I really enjoyed Marie Antoinette's little village and farm that she would escape to. It was adorable and the perfect little picturesque place to get away from royalty life. No wonder she loved it so much. While we were wandering and about to leave, we heard someone call our names and looked over to see Clark perched up on a little hill waving us down. Apparently he had taken a nap there, I wasn't surprised in the least bit, ha! We ran up his way and joined him on a little, grassy hill under the shade of big, old trees and enjoyed looking out on the farm with the sound of a stream running past us. How much more ideal can you get? It was a pretty great moment.

We eventually walked back to the palace and headed back home. Ate dinner and relaxed a bit before deciding to make a night trip to the Eiffel tower. We don't have unlimited metro passes like we did in London, so there's a lot of walking. Including to the Eiffel tower. It took about an hour to walk there. And I didn't want to see the tower until I was right up close to it for the full experience, so I looked at the ground and/or shielded my eyes while we were walking the whole way. Towards the end I was practically covering my eyes and holding onto Clark's backpack while he led me through the crowd. I opened my eyes when we got to the base.... and wow... it literally took my breath away. I was completely shocked from being so giddy and so overwhelmed by the massive size. It was everything that I hoped it would be and so much more. A little secret? There were some tears. I was so overwhelmed and so happy that I was there. I would highly, highly recommend seeing the Eiffel tower for the first time at night. It's pure magic.
At night on the hour for about 5 minutes, the tower sparkles. I've seen it before in movies but it's nothing compared to seeing it in person. And then right before they turn the lights off (1am) they turn off the lights to the tower and just turn on the sparkling lights. It's incredible. It's like an out of control starry night. Like I mentioned before, pure magic.
While we (Clark, Rick, Tia and I) were taking pictures and having a good time, a very drunk frenchman came up to us and asked Rick if he would take his picture with his "very professional camera" and Rick agreed. The guy was a riot, soooo funny. He was so happy about the picture that wasn't a terrible camera phone picture that he grabbed Rick's face and kissed him on the cheek and told us to come to his restaurant for free crepes. It was pretty hilarious for sure.

Walking home took over an hour but was full of fun jokes and goofing off. And then I finally got to bed at 2:45 am, late night for sure but probably one of my favorite days out in Europe so far.
This place is just amazing.

No comments:

Post a Comment