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Versailles: does anywhere in Paris compare?

Versailles: does anywhere in Paris compare?

Feb 13th, 2007, 02:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Kaz, I don't know if this is any help to you but I spent two weeks in France and missed out on Versailles - I was very disappointed! But I did have a most memorable lunch at the Musee D'Orsay in the restaurant upstairs. The ceiling is magnificent - also in Rennes I was given a tour of the interior of the Hotel De Ville - another magnificent ceiling. But if I were you I would go to Versailles just for the experience.

patriciaf is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 04:52 PM
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Tuscanlifeedit- reading about peoples passion either for or against something is inspiring.
It would be a boring old world if we didn't listen to others and try to learn something new once in awhile.

As for when to go, we'll be there the first week in May so the gardens might just be starting to bloom(I hope), and if it is raining and all the other tourists stay away, then all the better for us.

kaz11 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 09:44 AM
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I'm currently reading Anonia Fraser's "Marie Antoniette The Journey" which was the book that inspired the recent, roundly poo pooed movie starring Kirsten Dunst.

Due to the movie the book was prominently displayed at Barnes & Noble so I picked it up. The book is pretty sympathetic to the royals and the situation they caused/found themselves in.

I haven't seen the movie but plan to just for the backdrops of Paris and Versaille.
amwosu is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 03:38 PM
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Karen, for a single book on French history, I recomment "The Seven Ages of Paris" by Alistair HOrne.

jsmith is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 03:54 PM
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Versailles was the day we had all been looking forward to last July - but a huge disappointment to us! Covered in scaffolding due to a mjor restoration program, hall of mirroirs closed, huge crowds etc etc. However, we LOVED Fontainbleau! And we loved the furnished chambers of Napolean III (I think) which we stumbled upon within the Louvre (with even greater crowds). Perhaps great expectations set one up for disappointment.
PRLCH is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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Personally I like the film with Kirsten Dunst. It is not a conventional period film (80s music sneaks in, and if you look carefully you'll find a Converse sneaker in the shoe scene) but it is quirky and creative. The costumes and sets are beautiful. *And* much of the exteriors were filmed at Versailles itself, some of the interiors too. Other interiors were filmed at places like the Hotel de Soubise in Paris.
I saw that film in Paris in May 2006 the day after I went to Versailles. Offered a neat perspective! It just came out on dvd this week.
DejaVu is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 09:29 AM
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Thanks for the review DejaVu. I knew the movie was coming out on Tuesday but with the crummy weather here I haven't rented it yet.
amwosu is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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Rent the DVD of Marie Antoinette; are you into this stage of history?? Yes there is only one Versailles, but if you're not into 18th century France --If not, you can skip, you might prefer seeing Monet's Giverny. Charming, georgeous - perhaps not best in bloom in the spring. The interiors are more impressive that the enormity of the exterior, the gardens are beautiful. On a much smaller scale, take a train down to Palace of Fontainebleu (where all the Louis' hunted) and Barbizon, or the charming village of Sceau with its estate. Versailles will take up most of one day. Near Tuileries/Louvre: BE SURE to go to Angelina Cafe along Rue Rivoli for their utterly decadent hot chocolate (chocolat l'Africain) and 19th century old world ambience at its best-- worth every calorie & euro)
aliced is offline  
Feb 15th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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jsmith- I just picked up "The Seven Ages of Paris". Thanks for the rec.
amwosu is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 09:39 AM
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I hope, amwosu, you enjoy it as much as I did. Once I started, I couldn.t put it down and came away with a better understanding of the French.
jsmith is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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I was so sad that the fountains were not going when we visited. I would have loved to explore the gardens more, they were amazing.

Re: the Vatican. I had a pit in my stomach touring here. All the wealth, excess after excess after excess. All I could think of was how many people the Church could feed if only they sold off a dozen or so of their minor holdings (not the Sistine Chapel or anything, maybe some of those statues in the back of all of those rooms!)

I took a picture of one of the paintings on the ceiling and it was so beautiful. I couldn't even appreciate it "in person" b/c I couldn't see it that well from the ground. The place is literally covered with the most amazing artwork, but I don't think that should be a function of an organization that deals with God and supposedly helping people become better and more kind.

This is my view as a "former" Catholic. When I shared this with friends, some looked at me funny, so I was relieved to see in this thread that my reaction was not so "abnormal" after all!
karens is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 01:09 PM
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I asked a Mexican how he felt about the magnificent cathedral his church owned, and how all that opulence could be used to feed the poor.

He said, "Señor, you have to understand that if you sold the church, the money would only buy the townspeople a few tacos for a few days. But the church is for everyone to share forever."
Robespierre is offline  
Feb 17th, 2007, 03:27 PM
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Most of the posters who've responded to this thread seem to agree that the gardens are the highlight. We'll be in Paris the last weekend of March. Will there be anything blooming then? Are the gardens appealing at that time of year?

Someone else mentioned doing research on when the fountains are on. Would they be on at all that time of year? And, if so, how does one do the research?

Thanks for letting me jump in on your thread, Karen. (Not that I gave you a choice! )
CAPH52 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 03:07 PM
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Go, only if you chose to do so. I was awed by the opulence, etc. I went on my own, at my own pace, and had a wonderful time.
luckie16 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 03:15 PM
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It's one of those places you should at least experience once. Much of it was under construction when we went, still glad we did. I'd go back again after reading more history also.
islandmom is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 03:33 PM
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Do you know that you can rent parts of Versailles? Let's all consider it for special events etc Per BBC, here is someone who apparently recently did


Feb 18th, 2007, 07:55 PM
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I am also going to Versaille and am wondering if it is possible to walk over to the Grand Trianon, or is it too far? Is there transportation within the grounds?
karkura is offline  
Feb 18th, 2007, 10:18 PM
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Well, walking to the Grand Trianon would have been too far for me. My butt was dragging by the time we went out into the gardens, but there were plenty of people walking. It was pretty far out there. You can rent golf carts or there is a shuttle that runs through out the gardens. I can't remember how much it cost, not a lot. We took the shuttle but we were wishing we had rented a cart, just looked like more fun.
crefloors is offline  
Feb 19th, 2007, 05:14 AM
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You can also rent bicycles. I think there's a bicycle rental shop just outside the chateau gate or something like that. I'm not sure how it works, as I took a Fat Bike Tour at Versailles, so the route were different.
lmlweb is offline  
Feb 19th, 2007, 05:48 AM
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As this thread is still going on, and since a few pictures are worth a thousand words, here is a link to a photographer's site with great air views of the chateau of Versailles (including unusual architectural details):


Also available on the same site :

- photos of Versailles' Bosquet des trois fontaines (Three fountains grove), recreated in 2004 with donations from the American Friends of Versailles, as it was around 1700,

- on a very different subject, views of the Millau viaduct in southern France
Trudaine is offline  

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