“This, madame, is Versailles.”
For some reason, those two lines from the movie Marie Antoinette have stuck with me over the years. I think I’ve only seen the movie twice, but then I went to find the trailer for you all…
and look! It’s in the trailer! So maybe that’s why I remember it.
Anyway, after a visit I paid to Versailles earlier this week, let me just say–I get it. “Ridiculous” is one of many words you could use to describe the place. (Others include, but are not limited to, “beautiful”, “gigantic”, “lavish”, “excessive”, “enviable”, and “expensive”. Wait, make that “robbery”.)
Since so much of Versailles and the history tied to it is about excess, I thought I’d play a little game. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…
Versailles in Numbers
photographs taken: 155
distance travelled (by train) from Paris (in miles): 16
euros spent: 23.80
euros I would have spent if not for my student discount: 48.80
number of times I had to explain that a driver’s license is valid ID so that I could obtain said discount: 3
times I got yelled at by French people: 3
Once for taking a drink somewhere it wasn’t allowed, once for being in the way of a golf cart, once for walking somewhere I wasn’t supposed to walk. There weren’t signs informing me of this. No, just angry guards with guns.
absolutely perfect hot chocolates consumed: 1
Apparently Angelina is famous for their hot chocolate. Which is completely legitimate…it tasted like melted chocolate bar.
times I (weirdly) felt sorry for Marie-Antoinette: 2
Once when I found out that Versailles apparently housed thousands of people…
So I imagine it always felt as horribly crowded as it did when I went? Authentic experience.
And once when I saw the door she fled through when angry French crowds were rioting outside her window. (You don’t know terror until you’ve invoked the wrath of a Parisian.)
There’s the door. There’s the head of a tourist–because no Versailles photo is complete without one.
number of mirrors in the infamous Hall of Mirrors: 357
number of those mirrors I photographed: all of them?
times I geeked out over artwork: just once, oddly enough
This was made by Bernini, my absolute favorite sculptor of all time. In fact, when I go to Italy (IN OCTOBER!!!!!!), one of the number one things I intend to do there is go visit as many Bernini works as I can.
times I wished I’d brought a jacket: (rough estimate) 101380918. Don’t trust weather.com France.
amount of things I actually would have taken home with me, had they allowed it: All of them. Realistically, 2.
this wall covering
Here’s a detail. Don’t know what color I’d pick.
and one of these chairs
tourists at Versailles on the random Tuesday we were there: 10,000 and their mothers
times I was literally knocked off my feet by one of those desperate camera-toting tourists (glad I’m not one): Okay, only once, but still.
amount of times I inadvertently photobombed someone’s picture: again, rough estimate, but I’m going to say…569
hours spent walking around: 5
hours I could have spent walking around: 100, if there were no tourists
total acres: 19,262 (larger than the island of Manhattan!)
things that looked bad in the gardens: Well, I don’t actually know exact quantity, but these things were scattered around and I thought they looked horrible…like, who put their destroyed car parts in the gardens of Versailles, and why has no one taken care of them?
Mistakes made: 1. We wanted to go visit Marie-Antoinette’s country house, and we thought we did. Then, just now, while I was researching, I learned she actually had a whole little hamlet made! Basically so that she could pretend to be a peasant. A peasant with unlimited access to Ladurée pastries. So, anyway. I’ll be returning ASAP (it’s such an easy trip for me), and next time, I’m going to Le Hameau.
I can’t wait to return. Versailles is worth the day trip. It’s really a spectacle to behold. And so inspiring for future interior decorators and landscape architects!
Not. If your budget exceeds 1 billion, maybe.
See you soon, Versailles!