Versailles is free for visitors the first Sunday of the month...instead of exploring another wee chateau, we decided to join the masses and see the mother of all French palaces.
Once upon a time, Versailles was a country village when le Roi-Soleil, Louis XIV, moved from the dirty squalor of Paris to a more bucolic setting.
Louis, ever humble, decided that the royal hunting lodge on the grounds was not royal enough to display his godliness, so he had it expanded upon.
The scale of palace is almost as impressive as the gaudy treasures inside. Most of them are reproductions as the palace was stormed during the revolution and a great deal was destroyed.
The manicured gardens were pretty spectacular. While it was late enough in the season for the fountains to be shut off and the many statues to be covered, it was still very impressive. 3 hours of walking only led to the exploration of a tiny corner of the grounds. It's almost 2,000 acres of land.
Everything was incredibly well-manicured. I couldn't imagine the kind of money it would cost to maintain all the formal gardens.
The Maine girl in me wanted to say, "Just let it grow wild, it will hide the junked car and washing machine in your front yard."
A lot of locals take advantage of the free day to use the park grounds as their own.
On the grounds there is also the Petit Trianon on the gournds, which was where Marie Antoinette lived when she wanted to escape life at court.
There were also lots of sheep and horses keeping the lawns tamed.
Inside the Chateau itself were enormous ceiling canvas paintings letting us know how important the king was as he depicted himself as a god every chance he got.
We waited until the very end of the day to zip through the palace as the crowds were overwhelming.
The entire thing made me feel like my Brooklyn apartment wasn't the grand place I thought it was previously. The Sun King wins again.