1. Oregon to Paris 2. Notre Dame 3. Versailles 4. Mt. Saint Michel to Carnac 5. Chenonceaux and Le Mont Dore 6. Vers 7. Maison de Martin 8. Carcassonne 9. Chamonix 10. Lausanne to Paris 11. The Itinerary 12. A Note on the Photographs And a Plea for Feedback!


Journal From a Journey to France
Part Three: Versailles

Versailles - Hall of Mirrors

With the day rapidly advancing upon us, we proceed directly to the Invalides RER station to catch the train to Versailles. On our way to Notre Dame, we had stopped at Gare St. Lazarre to get information on Versailles and Giverney, both of which are apparently unaffected by the strike. We also get our ticket to Rennes on the TGV (which requires reservations) which is a bit of an adventure in itself.

The trip to Versailles is easy enough, and an easy walk brings us to the entrance to the palace itself. Again we are unprepared for how massive this house is, with endless huge wings, a cathedral of its own, and numerous out-buildings (we donít even get to the Trianon or the Petit Trianon). The ďaudioguideĒ is interesting, but hard to match the dialogue to the rooms, so much of it is just miscellaneous information (such as 18,000 workers were once at work on the construction of Versailles). But once one enters the Hall of Mirrors, there is no mistaking it for anything but Versailles. By the time we got to the wing filled with endless paintings celebrating Napoleonís various bloody campaigns, it all seemed rather tasteless in its vast excess.

What impressed me more than anything else, however, was the wide variety of types of marble and their artistic deployment in the construction of the palace. The architect was clearly painting with marble, just as an oil painter deploys his pigments. Versailles GrardensThe effect was almost overwhelmed, however, by the obsession with gilding everything that could possibly be gilded.

By the time we finish our tour of the palace, and with the custodians following along closing doors behind us to close the palace, the rain finally begins in earnest, curtailing our tour of the gardens.

So itís back to our lodgings and overpriced/undervalued pizza up the street from the hotel. After dinner, itís time for bed and another restless night of street noise and ear-plugs.

The photos: the Hall of Mirrors and a marble alcove; pond ornaments and a view of the gardens


1. Oregon to Paris 2. Notre Dame 3. Versailles 4. Mt. Saint Michel to Carnac 5. Chenonceaux and Le Mont Dore 6. Vers 7. Maison de Martin 8. Carcassonne 9. Chamonix 10. Lausanne to Paris 11. The Itinerary 12. A Note on the Photographs And a Plea for Feedback!
Text and photos copyright 1999 Meredith L. Bliss