When in Paris..Vendredi à Versailles

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The second day of my Paris trip was a lovely day. The weather was beautiful and we headed off to see the famous Chateau de Versailles or Palace of Versailles.

The palace once home to the French monarchy is now more synonymous with the wedding of self-proclaimed deity Kanye West and American “royalty” Kim Kardashian.

The palace is 20km outside Paris so it’s an opportunity for tourists to leave the city and see something different. And by “different” I mean the most opulent extravagant place imaginable. It’s a place that has to be experienced to be believed.

The palace is now open to the public and a merely a symbol of the power the French royalty once had. Versailles was an ornate display of the wealth, power and prestige of the monarchy. Nowadays the palace is a museum dedicated to the “all the glories of France.”

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The carriages of the train to Versailles were decorated with images from the palace.

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Views of the palace outside.

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The gilded palace gates – a ludicrous amount of gold leaf adorns the facade of Versailles! Up close the detail is stunning.

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The spectacular main gates. The original gate was torn down during the French Revolution but in 2008 the pain-staking replica was built from wrought iron and gold leaf.

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Exterior of the palace

Versailles has 700 rooms, more than 2,000 windows, 1,250 chimneys, and 67 staircases. To give you a sense of its enormity, it is capable of holding 20,000 people!

Needless to say I can’t display all of this but we visited the main building, Le Petit Trianon (Marie Antoinette’s residence when she needed a break from court) and gardens.

The story of Versailles began when King Louis XIII purchased a small piece of land to build a modest country home so he could hunt in Versailles. His son King Louis XIV was the one who made Versailles into a colossal project spanning decades.  The entire layout is designed so anyone approaching would be in awe of King Louis XIV’s majesty.  He was known as the “Sun King” and Versailles is designed in a way that building and gardens are amplified by the sun. The sun emblem can be found everywhere in the palace as it represents Apollo the god of peace and life-giver.

Like most tourist attractions in and around Paris Versailles offers free admission to almost every gallery and museum for those aged under 26. (Being 26 I had to use my youthful looks to my advantage 😉 )

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The beautiful royal chapel where the monarchy once worshiped. The chapel is not open to visitors but you can view it from a balcony.

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The ceiling of the chapel

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The chapel was a central part of palace life as King Louis was seen as “God’s representative” and defender of the Catholic faith. However the ancient Roman Gods and Goddesses feature far more prominently in Versailles, from the gardens to rooms named after them.

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Details from the palace

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Views of the garden

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 I love how the statues look like they’re keeping watch in their hollows! Unfortunately the whole of Paris seems to be on a mad water-saving buzz so none of the fountains were switched on.

Below are an artist’s impression of the grounds, views of the hallways and details of the doors.

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The palace is well-equipped for its modern-day role as a museum. Visitors are given an audio guide with different language options.

On entering each splendid room, the audio guide gives a description of the history and function of the room.  The salons or rooms are each dedicated to a Roman God or Goddess where appropriate.

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King Louis XIV was a great patron of the arts and the salons are adorned with beautiful paintings and also portraits of the royal family.

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The red room below is the “Salon de Mars” dedicated to Mars the God of War.

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Salon de Mars is part of the grand apartment of the King and served as a ballroom. (The chandelier budget was limitless apparently 😉

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The most famous part of Versailles is of course Galerie des Glaces or “The Hall of Mirrors.”

The hall comprises of seventeen mirrored arches each with 21 mirrors which reflect the seventeen windows in the hall. In the 17th century mirrors were extremely expensive and such a display flaunted the King’s wealth.

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Visionary King Louis XIV thought of all the girlos who need to take profilers and selfies and provided with them with them Hall of Mirrors. 😛

My playsuit pictured is from Topshop, it was perfect for the sunny day.

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The combination of light and mirrors creates a dazzling effect. You can see the hall in 360 panorama here.

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Below is the King’s chamber which faced the rising sun in accordance with his overall theme.

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Paisley and baroque fabrics decorate the Kings chamber.

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Thosee favoured by the King were allowed visit his bedchamber, admittance was granted in order of rank or standing.

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The Queen’s bedchamber.

The Queens bedchamber is part of the Queens Grand Apartment. 19 royal babies were born in this room throughout the reign of the various monarch. It is in this room Marie Antoinette fled through a tiny door into a concealed passage during the revolution.

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Marie Antoinette’s escape route

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Let’s hope the Royal Highnesses were floral fans-they didn’t have much choice!

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The beds are shorter than modern lengths and the royals often slept sitting up! Lying flat was associated with death and wasn’t the preferred sleeping stance!

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Below is Versailles’ Hall of Battles. As the name suggests it is dedicated to the conquests of the royals with paintings of war and military throughout.

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The various paintings and busts represent war heroes such as Charlemagne and Napoleon most of whom died in action. In 1978 The Hall of Battles was bombed in 1978 by Breton revolutionaries who were incensed by the tributes to Napoleon in the hall.

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And finally you may know this lady ….

HINT HINT

MArie antoinette cake - I'M SO FANCY

Versailles is so huge that one post will not do it justice, you honestly need to see it for yourself! For more on my Paris trip just click here. Thank you for visiting my blog as always and don’t forget to check out my InstagramTwitter and Facebook page here.

Edel

Renaissance Art meets 2013 Design

I’ve always loved art and I’ve been noticing some amazing art prints reproduced on clothing which I think are worth sharing.

I have a diverse taste in art but most of the pieces I’m showing here display Renaissance art. The Renaissance or Rebirth was a time of immense creativity and rich cultural developments in the Middle Ages in Europe.

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli

My favourite painting has to be Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and I bought this printed sweatshirt from Romwe.com.

Sandro Botticelli was assigned to paint this by the famous Medici family who were a wealthy family who were great patrons of Renaissance artists. Romwe are currently offering a 5% discount on many of their sweatshirts including this one which is about €31 with discount available here.

Romwe Sweatshirt. Pic: Romwe.com

 

I also really like this iconic painting American Gothic by Grant Wood. It’s slightly sinister looking and contrary to popular knowledge it is meant to depict a father and his spinster daughter, not a married couple.

In fact Grant hired his sister and a man to pose as the figures. It is one of the most widely parodied pieces of American art and was controversial for its depiction of rural Americans.

Romwe have taken this painting and transformed it into a sweatshirt which looks great styled with a beanie hat. It’s also included in their offer, check it out here.  The print is on the reverse as well as the front and makes for great casual wear.

The Couple Print Sweatshirt
Romwe Sweatshirt. Pic: Romwe.com
The original painting

I bought this gorgeous blue circle skirt from Romwe again.  I wore it on my holidays in Barcelona with a black tank top  and black studded flats and it was perfect for light holiday clothing.

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Scenic Painting Print Umbrella Skirt
Scenic Painting Umbrella Skirt

This skirt can be hard to match because its super colourful  and loud but pastels go really well with it and black also.

I bought it back in May when it was on offer and they also offer 15% off your first offer so it’s a real bargain! You can buy it for approximately €30 here.

Mona Lisa skirt found online

Fresh in Temple Bar were doing a similar Mona Lisa skirt before but I cant find anything like this now.

Hopefully they bring out some styles like this again soon, until then check out their Facebook to see their stock, its one of my favourite little shops and everything is one of a kind. Great for vintage denim, original pieces and they have a selection of studs for all the customising junkies out there!

Zazzle.com have a range of artwork ties, bags and other accessories. Some of them are expensive and I don’t know what the quality is like but here are some of my favourites.I love Van Gogh’s work especially the beautiful “Starry Night over the Rhone ” which is featured on this rucksack.

Zazzle have loads of cool products worth checking out and a great range of Christmas gifts.  They have lots of smaller items like ties, badges, wristlet bags and cosmetic bags printed with these designs if your budget can’t stretch to one of these.

The Van Gogh Original

van gogh bag

A different style of bag with Michelangelo’s iconic painting. This design is available on several types of bags with varied prices.

I love the story behind this painting, Michelangelo was commissioned to paint frescos ( a type of painting on damp plaster) on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome and had to endure very uncomfortable conditions whilst creating this. Contrary to popular belief, he actually was standing, not lying on his back yet it must have been very uncomfortable having to work looking upwards all the time.  This painting is instantly recognisable and has produced many imitations and parodies.

Finally  another bag from Zazzle.com.

The painting is called “The Kiss” by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt. It’s an amazing piece of artwork and still enjoys much popularity today.

The Kiss

If you look in the mirror in my photo below, you can see a Klimt print in the background of my livingroom!

I hope you all liked this post. It’s been great to blog again as I hadn’t had a laptop for a month and I’ve been very busy at work but I’ve missed blogging.

 Thanks as always for dropping by.

Edel