Friday, May 1, 2015

Franco Fridays: Madame de Pompadour and Marie Antoinette

Our team enjoyed a day at Versailles on our last day in France.  It was one of those really nice, long, slow and lovely days.  It was a good day to spend like this guy was spending it.  Ella asked me if that was Frodo.

The previous year KJ and I went inside the palace, which we were glad we did, but we were really looking forward to having the entire afternoon in the gardens.  They did not disappoint in the least.

We ate lunch at one of the outdoor restaurants and then walked through an avenue of magnificent trees to the Petit Trianon.  Normally I might not be as interested in a house built for the mistress of a king, but there was that one episode of Doctor Who involving Madame de Pompadour, Versailles, and a broken mirror that made it more interesting to me.  It was a lovely place.  The floors were gorgeous.

We next meandered our way toward the domain of another famous lady of Versailles, Marie Antoinette.  Wishing to escape court life from time to time, she created a space on the estate to pursue simpler pleasures.  Our favorite part of the day was wandering all over it.  The trees were beautiful, as were the rows of vegetable beds in front of the "cottages."
I so enjoyed our time in the gardens that day that when a few weeks later I happened upon a book at our local library, The Gardener of Versailles, I snatched it up off the shelf.  It was a memoir written by the head gardener who first started working there in a much lower position in the 1970s.  Probably the most interesting part to me after our recent visit that explained some of what we saw was reading about a terrible storm that uprooted so many historical trees and all the work that had been done and is still being done to restore the gardens.
I'm not an expert, but depending on the day, if you only have one shot, I would pick the gardens at Versailles over the palace.  They're a true delight.

No comments:

Post a Comment