Basically, there are the longest lines ever. Lines to buy tickets, and then lines to wait in to be admitted into the palace. It took us about 30 minutes to figure out that we didn't care enough to wait to go inside, so we figured we'd just walk around the gardens, cause they're free, and that would work out fine.
We tried for about an hour to figure out how to get into the gardens without having to pay - all the signs were extremely contradictory, didn't make sense, or just were flat out wrong. We finally figured out where the free entrance to the gardens was...but it meant about a mile walk on a fairly hot day. So we finally just capitulated and paid the 8€ fee to get in where we could see the "dancing fountains" show (even though we had to leave before the next show even started). I'm pretty sure that's their strategy - get all the tourists confused, hot and frustrated enough and they'll just go ahead and pay you to get in the easy way. Well, it worked, and in we went.
The gardens were so expansive, oh my goodness. They went on forever. The grandeur of Versailles is definitely something that isn't lost even if you just see the outside. Its not difficult to see how the rest of the country starved while Louis and Marie built and maintained it. Parts of it are pretty, absolutely, but honestly it was too much - too grand, too elaborate, too much. Versailles, in my opinion, is the definition of gaudy. Worth looking at, but I would never want to look at it everyday, and I definitely wouldn't want to live in anything modeled after it.
That being said, the gardens were beautiful. Its insane to realize that where you were standing, Louis and Marie both walked there, entertained other nobles there, lived there. The history behind everything in France gives me chills constantly. I love that about this country. So we walked around the gardens and just soaked it all up for a few hours, before returning to Paris just in time for Hannah and I to catch our train back to Grenoble. I am so glad I get to spend a few more days in Paris at the end of this month, because two days is definitely not near enough.
(the blog site is being difficult and I can't get my photos to be integrated into text right now, so here is yet another long list of photos for you!)
|Front of the palace. So. Much. Gold.|
|And this is only half of it. I couldn't get one panorama of the entire facade.|
|Yeah, that's all gold. All of it. Again, pretty easy to see why the rest of the country was starving to death.|
|Part of the gardens directly behind the palace.|
|On of quite literally hundreds of statues in the gardens.|
This one was made ~1685-1688.
|View from the steps behind the palace.|