"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.
...was simply overcome...
Après les appartements du roi...
...on présente le petit appartement de la reine.
Mary Anne slept here.
The ornate canopy above the bed.