Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Château de Versailles Part 2

"We're beautiful and dirty rich."

Wandering around what is probably the most extravagant palace in Europe, I couldn't help but remember Sofia Coppola's Marie-Antoinette. I kept seeing visions of Kirsten Dunst aka Mary-Anne, Party Princess of Austria, traipsing down the ornate halls in her voluminous skirts, engaging in juvenile behavior and navigating court intrigue whenever she wasn't trying to get Louis-Auguste to bonk her so she could finally produce the next dauphin and get France off her case.

One can't blame poor Mary-Anne for losing her head, though. Versailles - like many other great works of art and architecture - can certainly be overwhelming. It is a sensory overload of sights and, back in its glory days, smells, as well. As Wiki put it:

"The smell at Versailles was said to be 'unique out of all the palaces in Europe' (duc Saint-Simon). There were no functioning toilets until 1768. By the time of the French Revolution in 1789 there were only 9, and those belonged to the King and his closest family members. The rest of the palace simply had to live with the constant smell of the privy-chambers clinging to their clothes, apartments and the general atmosphere. Although banned, chamber pots were constantly emptied out of the nearest window." 


Anyhow, a single day is truly insufficient to take in the grand majesty of Versailles. But one fine day was all I had, and therefore had to make the most of it.

Therefore, mesdames et messieurs, as the ever-so-proper Comtesse des Noailles so eloquently put it:

Scrub to 2:30 if you wish to skip the morning's petit lever.

Bonjour, mes petits anges!

Magnificent frescoes sweep across the ceilings.

A view of the chapel of Versailles.

Le Grand Appartement du Roi.

This is what a bed fit for a king looks like.

These chairs held the derrieres of the king's loyal courtiers, 
who performed the king's levée every morning.

The Sun King strikes a serious pose.

An antechamber to the petit appartement du roi -
 his majesty's even more private quarters.

The palace...

...was simply overcome...

...with gilt.

Après les appartements du roi...

...on présente le petit appartement de la reine.

Mary Anne slept here.

The ornate canopy above the bed.

And the rest of the gilt-stricken room.
Actually, Mary-Anne's quarters reminded me so much of...cake.

Donc...qu'ils mangent de la brioche?


  1. Love the video, and the pictures. Thanks for sharing! Hehe.

  2. wonder how having sex on a bed like that would be like.


  3. @ gillboard : Considering it took Marie-Antoinette and Louis-Auguste seven years to consummate their marriage, I'd say that bed isn't really recommended for the horizontal mambo.

    @ db : Some more cake, monsieur?

    @ Mugen : Aw, thanks, Joms. :P

  4. I should be thanking you. I decided to watch Marie Antoinette by Coppola. :) Great film!

  5. Meron din akong ganiyan. Isang box galing Japan. lol

  6. @ Nyl : Oh. We stomped Tokyo last year :p

    @ Mugen : Ho ho cool! I'm glad you liked it. I had misgivings watching it the first time but it was a real eye-opener. Coppola based most of it on the respected and well-balanced biography by Antonia Frasier, so Antoinette came out as more of a sympathetic - if ill-guided - human being instead of the villainess much of history made her out to be.

    It's also delicious to know that the most-hated French queen - and the most famous Frenchwoman in history - wasn't even French :P

  7. Sometimes I think what life would have been like during those times. Awful for the peasants, I bet, and uuuuuberrr fun for the royals.

    The clothes! The food! The decadence! Ahhhhhhhhhhh hahaha Hay Rudie, it must have been something.


  8. @ Kane : Does that even need thinking, Kane? That was a period of history made for you and me.

    As you said: the clothes! The food! The decadence! We'd have been so unapologetically, unabashedly, unrepentantly living lives of utter debauchery. And after all that, I'd probably be turning my nose up in disdain while you'd be flirting with the executioner on our way to the guillotine.

    Vive la decadence!

  9. i wonder if there are any hidden rooms, passages, and peepholes

  10. @ Sean : I don't know about the rest of the palace, but there is a secret passageway linking the queen's bedchambers to the appartement du roi. It was through this secret passageway that Marie-Antoinette was able to escape the murderous mob that attacked Versailles on October 1789.

    There is also a hidden chamber, accessible through a wall panel right beside the queen's bed, that you can see if you watch Coppola's Marie Antoinette. I'm pretty sure a palace as expansive as Versailles would have numerous other secret places, passageways, and yes, even peepholes.

    The more you know :D

  11. I hope to go there someday too. France was my dreamland a few years back. :]

  12. @ Manech : I can see you heatedly/placidly/indifferently discussing Sartre and Camus with the other intellectuals and bohemians as you smoke and drink in one of the Left Bank cafés.

    A picture of utter contentment :)