Posts Tagged ‘chateau de versailles’

Happy Birthday Julie’s Paris

October 10, 2011

The ETs prefer a comfortable outdoor venue when doing research for the Readership (even when they should be looking for someone to cut their hair)

The Experienced Travelers are popping corks to celebrate one-year of Julie’s Paris. Who knew!  Nurse and I toast the Readership!

Associate ETs Joanne and Clare explore the menu at Le Petit Troquet in the 7th

We also salute Associate ETs Joanne, Clare and Melinda, who contributed travel companionship, content and photos.  They willingly walked, ate, drank, shopped, photographed, drank and persevered.

Julie’s Paris  started as a trip blog.  It would have been too tiresome to spend time and bandwidth e-mailing everyone 10-megapixel photos of duck confit.  So we decided to blog.  The format was ideal and our friends were hardly shy about sharing comments about our Paris adventures. Thus it began, and so it continues.

Stiring things up at the Bisto St-Germain

We’ve welcomed new members to the Readership from all round the world.  It’s a delight to meet you and exchange stories through comments and e-mail.  We also rely on the Fodors Travel Europe forum for information and advice to bring the Readership the very best in Paris info.

Our first post was inspired by the orgiastic 2 1/2-hour lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in Versailles.  But the continuation of that post with more photos and description is a better read! We know that the Readership wants French food — the ETs will dine out and deliver.

Other popular posts over the past year include our trip to the Chateau de Versailles, some odds and ends around town, the Marais and Monet, and the most-searched term leading readers to the blog, les macarons.  Next time you’re on a conference call, check out the Julie’s Paris archive!

The ETs are ready to eat whenever necessary in service to JuliesParis

Thank goodness we have hundreds of digital photos from Paris trips over the years, so we have a robust archive of pictures and stories to keep Julie’s Paris fresh.

But for heaven’s sake, think of the Paris topics and restaurants I have yet to cover.  It’s my job to gather content, so I am going to Kayak.com right away to check on airfares.  I must insure that the Readership is entertained.  I take my responsibility very seriously.  (And if my accountant should ask, be sure you tell her how important new content is to you)

There's so much more to discover in Paris - the Trocadero neighborhood looks promising.

We all love Paris – so let’s share our guilty pleasure with like-minded friends! Go ahead — use the “Share” link at the end of each post and tell us what you think.  If you’re the shy, retiring type, you can send us a note at julies_paris@yahoo.com

We thank the Readership for your unwavering loyalty to Julie’s Paris! Celebrate! It’s the perfect excuse for a smelly cheese and a glass of wine.

Encore!

PS – Let me draw your attention to “Lost In Paris” an entertaining article in yesterday’s New York Times  where author Matt Gross describes spending $200 on an umbrella.  There’s some Found Money!

The Sun King at home – Chateau de Versailles

October 17, 2010

Versailles - Louis XIII's hunting lodge became Louis XIV's embodiment of La Gloire

The Experienced Travellers donned their beauty marks and birdcage headdresses for a visit to the Chateau de Versailles.  Since we were staying next door at the Trianon Palace, we avoided the notorious crowds – and bypassed the queues thanks to Nurse’s hotwheels walker! 

Yes, they did use the stairways as pissoirs. No self-cleaning loos here.

It began as Louis XIII’s  man-cave near the sleepy village 0f Versailles.  His son, Louis XIV,  had a penchant for fresh air and remodeling.  So by 1682 it was the seat of government and the envy of every European ruler.  It survived the Revolution (just!) and intrigued Emperors, Kings and 20th century diplomats.   Versailles is La Gloire.

A little someplace to lay Her Royal Highness' head, and space for 10 ladies-in-waiting. Poor Marie Antoinette laid her head in less comfortable fashion later in life...

They mixed patterned rugs with painted ceilings, threw in a few cherubs and pulled it all together with yards of  brocade, glass and chandeliers.   But it works.  No Ikea interiors for the Sun King. 

In you were in the presence of the King, you would exit by walking backward through these doors. No one turns their back on His Majesty.

Thousands of  ambitious courtiers lived at  the Chateau in cramped quarters.  Louis kept them occupied by imposing strict rules that governed every aspect of life at Court.  (We think this was the seed of the dreaded French bureaucracy)

Louis XIV - the first micromanager

One result of these rules was the fashion of growing the pinky-finger nail very long — because according to protocol,  the correct way to announce yourself at someone’s door was to scratch upon it with your pinky. 

The ETs have inspected these doors.   No one inside could possibly hear the pinky scratch.  Surely, waiting for the door to be answered drove desparate courtiers to potty behind the gilded screens.  This is called educated historical interpretation, and we became adept at Versailles.

(If you want to know more about Louis XIV and Versailles, I highly recommend (my hero) Nancy Mitford’s The Sun King.  Or get an on-the-spot account of Versailles life through the diaries of the simpering Duc de St. Simon .  Both books are full of tales and people you won’t believe…)

The Hall of Mirrors, the centerpiece of Louis' palace. Courtiers gambled away estates at the card tables, and Germany conceded WWI in this gallery.

The Chateau gardens are spectacular too.  Filled with scented alleys, grottos and hidden corners, it’s clear why extracurricular amour and politcal intrigue were popular pasttimes. 

And there were the “spectacles” of Louis’ youth.  When he threw a picnic, it meant feasting, fireworks, fountains, canal barges and dancing horses.  Rent the movie Vatel with Gerard Depardieu and see for yourself!

Secret notes suggesting a rendez-vous in the garden passed from footman to ladies' maid to Duchess on an hourly basis

The ETs left the Chateau in a courtly mood, with the music of Lully in their heads.  Had we lived then, would we be Princess of the Blood, or scullery maid?  One hopes for the former, but it’s worth remembering that Louis was known to don his hat to the lowliest maid in the name of chivalry. 

Someone has to do the dusting….

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