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5:27pm on Friday, 14th August, 2009:



Today, we went to the Palace of Versailles. I've been to Paris before, but never to Versailles, so I was really looking forward to it even though I knew the fountains wouldn't be on.

Well, it didn't disappoint. If you like stately homes, you're not going to find many that are more stately that this. It contains some iconic paintings that even foreigners like me can recognise — Marie-Antoinette, Cardinal Richelieu, Napoleon Bonaparte, ... There was a vast wing that had entire walls painted with scenes of French victories, mainly of the Napoleonic era (no mention of Waterloo, of course) and some iconic photographs from more recent times such as this of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, and this one of Lynndie England at Abu Ghraib, which I can't say was calculated to please American visitors...

The gardens are huge. We walked several miles in them and still didn't even manage to see the main sights, let alone the secondary ones. I didn't get to see the village Marie-Antoinnete had built so she could pretend to be a shepherdess, for example. We did have a look around the Grand Trianon in the garden, though. Hmm, when I build a trianon for my palace, I think I'll have a suite of rooms for the King of the Belgians, too.

By this time, the nail of one of my toes was chopping like a machette into the toe next to it, so we took a ride back on a vehicle called "the little train" (I'd give the French, except I don't know if it's le petit train or la petite train). This was fine except when it went over cobbles, which it did most of the time. Still, better than walking!

My camera filled up with photos, but here's one I took of the Hall of Mirrors, where the Treaty of Versailles was signed:

Yeah, I know, other people's holiday pics aren't a lot of interest...

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).