Day 32 - Paris

Another day, another adventure on the Paris Metro, as we set of for the 40 minute ride out to Versailles. As soon as you leave the train station, you start to see the amazing 17th century buildings that made up Louis XIV's new capital of France. The nobility had grown tired of Paris and wanted a new centre of government, away from the the troubles and the rabble. They quickly established the city of Versailles. It was the seat of power in France from 1682 until the Revolution of 1789. The buildings are amazing, as is the surrounds of the Palace, but we began our visit with the world famous Gardens of Versailles

The Gardens take up 800 hectares to the west of the Palace and are incredibly spectacular. A combination of perfectly manicured gardens and wonderful sculpture and water features. Once again, we had not planned nearly enough time to see all the Gardens has to offer, but what we did see made an indelible impression and we will certainly revisit here on our next trip. 

After the beauty of the Gardens, we made our way inside to the overwhelming ostentatiousness of the Palace of Versailles. I was instantly reminded of our visit to the Vatican Museum, with pushy rude tourists taking selfies of themselves in tightly packed spaces. The Palace is far more gaudy than the Vatican, and stands more as a testimony to the extravagance of the French aristocracy, than anything else. While a great majority of the French people struggled, the nobility lived in absolute opulence, but we all know how that ended, don't we!

The execution of Louis XVI in the Place de la Concorde

One highlight was the Gallery of Battles. Built as a memorial of famous French military campaigns from 495 to 1809, it is comprised of amazing, huge paintings of glorious French victories, featuring, among many others, Charlemagne, Joan of Arc and, of course, Napoleon.