Upon arriving in Versailles, look at whom we ran into: our old friends "The Tortoise and Hare," from our "Animal Tales" recording. A series of these beautiful illustrations grace the streets of Versailles. Although we trace many back to Aesop's Fables, the French refer us instead to versions from their own fabulist and poet, Jean de La Fontaine, who retold the fables and added some new ones in the 17th Century.
Jim gets ready to enjoy a day of site seeing in the town of Versailles. (He will not be hopping on that motorbike, tempting as it may be!)
Randy stands before the sumptuous Palace of Versailles. This palace, the grandest in Europe, was built by King Louis XIV, and cost the equivalent of the gross national product of France for an entire year.
Randy and Jim pose in front of just a small portion of the Palace's wondrous gardens. In the background: the Grand Canal.
In the royal chapel within the palace of Versailles, (still used for services and events today,) the future King Louis XVI wed Marie Antoinette of Austria in 1770.
The glass work in the church and throughout the palace is exquisite.
This is the table at which Mare Antoinette entertained guests in her quarters at Versailles.
Is this similar to the china that you use in your own home?
Compare this lavish bedroom to the bedrooms in your home! What would it feel like to go to sleep and wake up in such a room? And think how strange it would feel to have a group of favored nobles appear there each morning to help dress you for the day.
Jim walks through the famous Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. Louis XIV built BIG, and covering the wall of this vast hall with mirrors appeared to double its size.
Tourists and locals can enjoy a boat ride in the lake at the palace.
When Marie Antoinette was queen, she was always under the watchful eye of the French nobles, many of whom were hostile to her. So she claimed her own corner of the Versailles estate for miniature palaces and a fairy tale version of a country farm, to which she could escape with her most trusted friends for a while when the pressure grew too great.
Can you just imagine strolling the gardens in the days of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI?
This is a view of Marie Antoinette's "country farm", which was designed by France's leading architect to look rustic... though their idea of rustic was a lot more ornate than real country villages. She actually had the cottages and farm built so that she could escape the hustle and bustle of palace life.
Another shot of Marie Antoinette's cottages.
Jim feels right at home here. Wouldn't you?
Nature's beauty, carefully planned and constantly groomed, is abundant all over the grounds and Palace of Versailles.
Vegetation is also abundant. Here's a farm garden in Marie Antoinette's private retreat. Needless to say, she didn't do any of the heavy work herself.