Saturday, January 7, 2012

Charmed By The Chateau

I learned about Chateau de Versailles before I learned how to multiply fractions. Not at school, but from this thick blue book entitled “How? Where? When? Why?”; I think it was a supplement book from of encyclopedias that we had.  Yeap, you read that word right – encyclopedia.There was the good ol' encyclopedia those days where you could lose your thoughts into.

Probably what remained in my young mind when I read about Chateau de Versailles was that castles were real. The castles of the Disney cartoons were just...moving pictures. This picture in the book was real. In the far country of France in a continent called Europe, there lies Palace de Versailles. It didn't become my dream goal at that moment, but it was rather a pipe dream of sorts back then.

Childhood and castles
Today,Imma see a castle. Palace, castle, whatever, I'm gonna see it. I’ve seen Doge’s Palace in Venice and Palazzo de Vecchio in Florence but this is the one that palace that I was really looking forward to visit.
Palace of Versailles is located in the suburbs of Paris. Allot a whole day for your visit. Actually, allot two days if you can. The grounds are just enormous to be fully appreciated in one day. Wear walkable footwear that you can trudge in the dirt. You’ll be walking in lush carpets and dirt paths.

I was already familiar with reading the map and navigating around the metro. I had a route in mind how to go there. I planned to get off at the Versailles Rive Gauche station using RER C5 line. Note that this is not covered by the usual Paris Metro Ticket. You have to purchase a specific ticket going to the station for €3,20 per way. When I purchased my ticket, the "ticketer" asked me:

Ticketer: Are you going to Versailles? How are you going there?
Me: I plan to  _________ (I trace in the map)
Ticketer: I recommend you an easier route. He draws in my map.

He suggested a route which looked like a longer route but with a fewer stops. I thanked him for his helpfulness and went my way. RER station C looked more well maintained compared to the other Paris metro lines. More modern, more posh-looking, and it didn't reek of any smell. I had to ride the train named VICK to go to my stop. It took me an hour before I reached my destination.

Versailles Rive Gauche train station

It was a short walk from the station going to the gates of the palace.  There was a more direct path going to the gates but I chose the side path. I read that there were scammers in the main street selling these fake "official tickets" going to the palace. I avoided the main street.

Well autumn, so glad that you could join me here.

Overcast. I hope the rain doesn’t pour when I’m outside.

The palace is covered by the Paris Museum Pass so I just had to queue on the line going in. There was quite a line but it was moving. Took me around 30 minutes to get in.

I miss the blue skies

At the facade.

The purple camera case makes it to Chateau Versailles
I have no idea what this hall is. I stopped in my tracks when I saw the gold - in the doors and in the room.

Gold everywhere

Imagine how grand it is to live in an estate like this. With everything paid for by the taxpayers. You have servants at your disposal. 

I wonder how this angle was painted. There weren't helicopters back then and there certainly was no mountain in front of the palace. Could this be just the painter's imagination? Incredible.

A painting of the estate.

Look at their hair...wigs? I guess this was the style back then. Like they were all these rockstars with long hairs.

Royal highnesses.

I’ve developed an adoration for ceilings during my trip. This time, I loved the walls of the chateau. Rich, luscious.

Apple green

Blood red

I don't get the pose

Some comic relief. Somebody uses a water bottle as a flag for his tour followers. There are a lot of tours being conducted at the palace, and they stop at some places. I chose to do it freestyle as usual.

The famous hall of mirrors. It is more breathtaking in real life than this picture.This was is a sloppy shot.

Love the ceiling and chandeliers

The bedrooms are just... over-the-top.

Hide and seek

So much gold.  

So much flowers. As if the flowers from the walls grew over the centuries.

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And of course, there were all this wonderful ceilings. Angels were painted, as if to look watch over them. Or to remind the rulers that Someone else is watching?

Lined with gold.

Everyone, look up naman.

This one had a war theme to it

Some restoration being done on these

In less than three hours, I toured the place. Wasn't much of a fan of the history and all. If you are, then you'd probably stay inside the whole day. I ventured outside.

It was cold. And I see the rainclouds comin'. Uh-oh.

And I thought I'd pop out and be unique by wearing my newly bought red dress. Hah.

The palace was a proof of the luxurious lifestyle that the government maintained during those days. If I was a taxpayer back then, I would’ve hated them. But well, on the good side, it left the world with something to admire.

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