Versailles is truly a world of its own. It’s impossible to imagine living in such eloquence, but let’s just say if I did I’d be a happy clam. I thought I would “beat the crowd” by arriving right before it opened for the day with my pre-bought ticket in hand. Silly tourist me. The wait was already 1.5 hours long for guests WITH tickets! So for what seemed like forever, hundreds of people stood painstakingly in line, shifting their weight and reading facts from their travel guides to build anticipation. I’m just thankful I scooped up a warm croquet monsieur on the way!
Greeted up close with iron clad in gold, the gates finally opened for me. I was finally able to behold one of the greatest wonders of the (manmade) world, and to say it took my breath way is not saying enough. I was amazed at the intricate details throughout the chateaux, and I’m not just talking about the ceilings, drapery and artwork… though of course I could write a book about those! It was the smaller things, like the leg of a candelabra telling a mythical tale in figures bursting from within and the impeccable painted dioramas crafted during the years of construction. They wasted no expense, but who’s surprised?
A symbol of absolute monarchy, Versailles was originally commissioned by King Louis XIV to be an occasional getaway. But as someone who is addicted to *cough cough* the Anthropologie style of living, I can understand how he got swept away. Versailles would soon become an essential place for his senior court officials to spend time, and court life was more of a never-ending performance than an actual life.
Surrounded by selfie sticks and audible oohs and ahhs, I stumbled into the Hall of Mirrors with tears in my eyes. The chandeliers seem to go on forever, so I guess the strategic illusion is doing its trick. To have waltzed in here until the first rays of light came refracting through the floor-to-ceiling windows would have been enough joy for a few lifetimes. I’ll let my imagination have this one since this Hall was primarily used as a mere passageway on the way to meet the King.
I later found myself taking a leisurely stroll through the labyrinthine gardens, making sure to be there during the musical fountain display. The water sprayed and danced in rhythmic delight, and I couldn’t pick a favorite between the 50 different fountains… could you? I loved seeing Marie Antoinette’s soul at the very heart of the estate, and her influence seems to shine most brightly in this spot.
Versailles displayed unparalleled splendor, though nothing could have prepared me for those crowds. I’ve experienced holidays in Disney World for almost 5 years and none of them compare to the mob that toured Versailles with me that day. That being said, it’s not something to miss on your visit to Paris. So just be sure to allow ample time for your visit!