The Gilded Chateau de Versailles

Of all the castles and palaces in France, none is as gilded and as opulent as the Château de Versailles. Once a humble hunting lodge of Louis XIII, Louis XIV subsequently beautified the place and moved the French court and government there in 1682. It continued to be the seat of power of the Dauphin of France until 1789 when the French Revolution commenced with the storming of the Bastille. As for its most famous residents? None other than Louis XVI and his lavish Austrian wife Marie-Antoinette. From her famous words “Let them eat cake” you can see that Versailles sort of looks like a Ladurée cake.

The opulent Hall of Mirrors

I absolutely love the marble flooring of the entrance patio.

Just look at this gilded fabric in the King’s bedchamber.

Versailles embodies classical French art with its magnificent architecture, interior decor and immense gardens. The estate has also been heavily restored in recent years with the addition of special exhibitions (especially of contemporary art), festivities and even masquerade balls. I remember first visiting Versailles more than 15 years ago and though I was impressed, especially with the smaller and much cuter Petit Trianon, it needed a face lift. Now with the restoration, refurnishing and finished gilding, it’s simply amazing. Much work has yet still to be done but Versailles has regained its splendor.

The bedchamber of Marie-Antoinette

Contemporary artist Lee Ufan incorporated this metal arch in the gardens of Versailles during his special exhibition in autumn 2014.

The lavish interior of the Grand Apartment

I think I’ll have my macaron on this table.

From Paris, you can easily reach Versailles by public transportation. Try to arrive early because there are long, I mean LONG, lines. Half a day is enough to visit the main palace but if you’d like to explore the gardens and the Petit Trianon, give it a day. You can also use the extra time to stroll around town.

The apartment of the Mesdames

There are always huge crowds in the palace grounds so arrive early and give yourself enough time to visit it.

Château de Versailles
Place d’Armes
78000 Versailles
Website: http://www.chateauversailles.fr/

Read: The opulent hunting lodge of Château de Chambord, France
Read: The ladies’ castle: Château de Chenonceau, France
Read: A living castle: Château de Cheverny
Read: Château de Fontainebleau, home of the French kings for 800 years

Paris with Kids: Three Theatrical Classic Tales to See

We love classic stories and fairy tales. From Charles Perrault, the Brother’s Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson to Astrid Lindgren, Lewis Carroll and Charles Dickens, our daughter enjoys listening to their stories and watching them come to life in live performances. As she has a low media upbringing, we often bring her to theatrical shows and always make sure she knows the original versions of the stories from the Disney ones. We think she benefits a lot from the experience of going to the theater, seeing the actors perform and feeling the audience interaction. And she’s addicted!

If ever you’re in Paris and understand French, here are three must-see classic tales to watch in the theater with your children. Actually, even if you don’t have kids but just simply love the classics! They are incredibly well produced with professional actors, superb scenery and wonderful costumes.

Hansel et Gretel 
Until March 29, 2015
Palais des Glaces
37 rue du Faubourg du Temple, 75010 Paris
* We absolutely loved this musical interpretation of Hansel and Gretel of the Brothers Grimm. Wonderful songs, magical scenery and excellent acting. It was a fantastic show and we even bought the soundtrack, which means a lot. You can truly compare this to a Disney-made film.

Alice au Pays des Merveilles
Until January 2, 2015
Théâtre Saint-Georges
51 rue Saint-Georges, 75009 Paris
* This avant-garde production of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is as crazy as the story is. The plain setting worked brilliantly with the colorful costumes. The script was a bit heavy, which I thought would have lost my daughter’s train of thought already, but it was just fine and she stayed concentrated throughout the performance. After the show, you could even get your posters signed by the actors.

Peter Pan
Until January 3, 2015
Théâtre Bobino
14-20 rue de la Gaîté, 75014 Paris
* This theatrical adapation of Peter Pan by Sir James Matthew Barrie brought us to our childhood dreams of Neverland, including special effects of Peter, Wendy, Michael and John flying. Yes, flying. Our daughter was amazed and kept on pretending to be Tiger Lily afterwards.

Until my next post … take care!

Postcard #78: Vilnius

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