Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Gardens of Versailles

Notice our happy faces at having survived the Chateau tour.
There are several new items in the gardens of Versailles.  One, which we really had fun with, is a mirror where you can take pictures of yourself, along with some of your new friends.  On one side, you are right side up, but the other, you are upside down.  The clarity is not as good as the one at the casino in Monaco, but France isn't as rich as Monaco, either.
A rather odd piece set in the center of the gardens.  It reminded us of a partially buried, rusted soprano saxophone.  I'm sure if we had read the artist's comments it was something "artistic".  

The fountains are on!
The fountains came in two time periods.  One side of the garden ran for 45 minutes, then the other side did the same.  Not all of the fountains were turned on, as there has been a drought in France, so they are conserving water.  The fountains that were working were fabulous!  Several of the larger ones even had music which coordinated with the rhythm of the water.
The Grotto, all man made, with statues.

The fountains are only turned on once a week, on Sunday.  There were several which were not running, and a few which were being renovated.  The water used comes out of the river, which was diverted by Louis XIV when he built Versailles.
A very nice man and his young daughter took our picture.  Thank you!
Despite the fiasco of the Chateau tour, the gardens at Versailles were worth the effort. And, on the train home, we met two young Canadians who had just come from a Marching Bands Competition in Scotland!  They had sent their instruments and kilts home with their family, and were on a backpacking tour of Europe, to end in Turkey.  I hope they had a wonderful trip!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Versailles with 10,000 of Our Closest Friends

We decided to visit Versailles on Sunday, when they turn on the fountains in the gardens.  We took the train and arrived early, only to be greeted by thousands of others waiting to enter.  The hold up is going through security.
Lines of people waiting to enter the Palace.

People with the exterior of the Chapel behind.

Everyone waited, most patiently, in the courtyard, going up and down and around and around.

The Hall of Mirrors.
Once we made it inside, the crowds were so thick, it felt like herding cattle.  MOO!  It was impossible to really look at anything.  Bill was especially bothered by all the people.  So, we rushed as much as we could, looking for a way to exit.  It
Bill was looking for a way to escape; maybe open a window and jump?

The Palace is quite beautiful.  The ceilings were easily viewed, but trying to look at walls, floors and such, was nearly impossible.
The ceiling of the Chapel.  Bill took this picture through a 8 foot wide doorway.

We finally worked our way through the crowds to find the exit.  What a relief!  Fresh air, no elbows, and the noise level had dropped to where we could carry on a conversation!.        
Louis XIV
Next time, if there is a next time, when we arrive to such a hoard, we will skip the chateau and head directly to the gardens.  When we came back from seeing the gardens, there was no line to go into the chateau.  Now we know.
The original entry gates; they keep the crowds away from these.

Doune Castle

Doune Castle was rebuilt by Robert Stewart, the Duke of Albany, a man who was the power behind the throne as Regent for James I of Scotland,...