Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A 21st Century Lady in the Court of Versailles

Although my cousin Andrew lives in the country, an essential element of the city is right below him. He lives right above a wholesale bakery. As I write this blog late at night, I hear the "boulangers" below baking baguettes, kneading dough for croissants, and putting pains au chocolat into the oven. When I wake up, the smell of bread wafts into my window (I'm right above the oven-room!). As could be expected, my breakfast this morning was a fresh croissant and a warm pain au chocolat. What a way to start the day!!

After a lazy morning and a little journal-writing, Andrew and I hopped the train to Versailles. The palace was a short walk away. It truly commands the street and its surroundings. What an impressively HUGE place!! This palace was built by one of the most famous kings of France, King Louis the Fourteenth. In his opinion, Paris was too big and he didn't like all the hustle and bustle of the big city, so he decided to build a "country house" for him and his best friends to live in. The result? A gigantic castle with more rooms that anyone would know what to do with, and the most impressive gardens imaginable.

The most incredible part about the Palace of Versailles is the Hall of Mirrors, a long hallway (about as long as it would take to walk from the Lincoln Center to the Quiet Zone) decorated with gold, chandeliers, and of course- mirrors. (My cousin Andrew said that he kept imagining how funny it would be to see monkeys swing from one chandelier to the next, all the way down the hall! That would be quite a sight!)

After we toured the house, we decided to enjoy the gardens. When I hear the word "garden", I think of my cute little flower pots and vegetable garden in my back yard. Not Louis the Fourteenth! His gardens take up most of the town itself! In fact, Andrew and I walked for quite a long time, ducking in a out of little pathways here and there, and we didn't even come close to exploring all of the yard! In fact, we got so tired that we decided to stop awhile and read next to the giant pond. We enjoyed the view of the house and the view of the pond, where people rented boats and rode up and down to get different glimpes of the gardens.

One of favorite moments of the day was walking down the big avenue in the gardens, and noticing a small path off to the right. Out of curiosity, we took the path and after walking a few paces, found ourselves in a huge courtyard made of marble! A beautiful statue adorned the center of the courtyard, and small pools and fountains surrounded it. We were so lucky to have stumbled upon such a treasure of a sight!

I wish I could put into words the magnificence of Versailles. However, a few measly pictures will have to do for now. Take care, all. And for heavens sakes, someone get my husband some vegetables!


Mrs. Nosbusch said...

Sounds like you are having a fabulous time! Can you teach me some of the games and stories you've learned so that I can share them with the 5th graders next year?

Merci mille fois!

Mme Nosbusch

Kathy Choren said...

You have made me hungry while reading about the wonderful smells from the bakery below your cousin's apartment. Are bakery items part of the school lunch? What do children bring to school for their lunch or do they have dining room like ours?
Thinking of French pastries, Kathy Choren