Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Versailles in April

The weekend we were in Paris, we headed out to the Chateau of Versailles, one of my favorite places in all of France. So much of the country's history unfolded there. On spring and summer weekends, the fountains are turned on with music playing in the background, as you stroll the grounds. You are seeing the Latona Fountain which is just behind the palace.

Of the 1400 fountains and waterfalls that were originally built, 600 remain today.

It required 6.2 million liters of water to run the fountains, which was a real challenge in the time of Louis XIV,

So he instructed that each fountain only be turned on as he passed by it on his daily stroll, and then turned off after he left. You can click on the picture below to hear a quick clip of the music in the background.
I snapped a picture of one of my favorite photos of Marie Antoinette while I was there. This picture is especially interesting, because it shows her with her children and was painted by one of her favorite artists of the time, Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun. On the left, is her daughter, Madame Royale, Princess Marie Therese. She is the only child of Marie Antoinette to survive the French Revolution. Pointing to the cradle draped in black is the dauphin, the future king, Louis Josephe, who died of natural causes about a year after this was painted. The empty cradle alludes to Princess Sophie who died as a baby. In her lap, is the second dauphin, Louis Charles, who died as a young boy, while he was imprisoned in the Temple during the Revolution.

I have a copy of this painting in my guest room, which I sometimes refer to as my "Marie Antoinette room," since there are many allusions to her story in the decor.

While at Versailles, I also took this photo of Marie Antoinette as a young teen aged girl

and this one of Louis XVI as a teenager. They were married soon after these paintings were finished. Little did they know of the tragedies that awaited them.

And this picture, thanks to Photoshop magic at the Versailles Palace is of me imagining living in another world, in another time.


  1. Besides enjoying your blog because it is yours, I am also learning a lot about Paris. Thanks.

  2. Debi, that last photo is awesome. what a whimsical treat.