A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Feeding a revolution

Posted by Alan on June 11, 2011

Having become rather engrossed in cycling in the last few weeks, I’ve missed out on all kinds of writing, including some about cycling. For a change, here’s a post about a highlight of our Paris trip: Versailles, specifically the palace. I can’t believe it’s been two months!

Feeding the revolution

Feeding the revolution / Let them eat ice cream

 About 40 minutes out of Paris on the RER train, it really isn’t Paris. Having learned a little of Versailles and it’s role in both French and world history, I don’t think I’d really seen any pictures before so the scale of the place was a bit of a shock. The gardens seem to go on for ever – actually in the shot below, the ‘official’ gardens (the bit you pay to get into) stop on the other side of the circular fountain pond in the middle of the photo. The long square lake is now outside of the grounds.

Down the garden - Versailles palace garden

Down the garden

Apart from being famed for being the home of many King Louis and where the blame for world war I was decided, it is home to some ‘musical fountains’. The musical bit is rather cheesy to be honest – recorded classical  music pumped through 3′ (1m) high speakers! I guess in the days of the French Kingdom, they were accompanied by live orchestra. Times have moved on, savings to be made etc etc.

Spinning water

Spinning water

The fountains themselves are very impressive.  All manner of shapes created just through spinning and adjusting water pressure, synchronised with the piped music.

Fountain

Burst

Only one of the fountains runs all day – so you should probably plan a trip better than we did if you want to really make the most of it. Having arrived around lunchtime, we saw the huge queues for the palace and headed straight for the gardens. We’d pretty much arrived as they turned the fountains off a few hours! It did mean we could wander freely and get a chance to feel the scale of the gardens and by mid-afternoon we could easily get into the palace anyway – and come back to the fountains, knowing where the more impressive jets were likely to be. Each fountain is different and there are few hidden behind tall bushy hedges.

Marble arch

Marble arch - expensive stone carvings around a fountain

Having taken on the size of both the house and gardens, I could really empathise with the French revolutionaries – no bread, yet the King had musical fountains, vast tracts of land and gold everywhere.

Versailles Palace - Golden

Cash my gold!

The inside of the palace is just as ornate and golden. We didn’t bother with an audio guide which meant we missed some of the key information on which rooms were historically important – just guessing and appreciating whatever information we could take in. Still, it was well worth the trip out of Paris for and good to take in a different French atmosphere for a day.

Finally, a helpful tip – if you’re under 26 and an EU resident, the EU pays for a lot of these attractions and even where they don’t you usually get some kind of discount.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Feeding a revolution”

  1. Murray said

    Did Versailles get the idea of musical fountains from Las Vegas or vice versa…?

    • Alan P said

      I think the French were there first – when did Las Vagas start? I think the fountains have been at Versailles since around 1780!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: