Saturday, 25 June 2011

Versailles - Palace & some Statues

Lillian : Versailles of course is famous for ... the Palace.
Audrey : Weally enormous and full of tourists - even first thing in the morning!
Lillian : Well, we were tourists too ...

Lillian : It says on this building 'A Toutes Les Gloires de la France' – 'To all the glories of France' 
Audrey : And glorious it is!

Audrey :  There is the Sun - and here is the Sun King!
Lillian : I think that was Louis XIV - though it might have been someone else.
Audrey : He seems to be wearing a skirt and shaving his legs with a big knife - very stwange!  There is no accounting for those Louis!  This is the next one, Louis XV - also wearing a nice little frock.
Lillian :  Not really my dear, it is a coat.
Audrey : Is he the Louis who was Madame Pompadour's ahmm "fwiend"  or was he the one who lost his head?
Lillian :  The former.  Louis No: 15 was king for a very long time, he was only 5yrs old when his great-grandfather died.
Audrey : Our stylist liked all the statues and paintings - for their outfits she said.  Here are some Reines (Queens).
Ermentrude de Orleans

Beatrix de Bourbon, Reine de Boheme
Audrey : A close-up of her surcoat - not sure it would keep you warm but it is a pwetty idea.
Audrey : This man has impwessive curls - and a nice lace collar
Lillian : It ties on - see the tassels ... 

Audrey :  Now this chap is wonderfully dashing - looks like a real buckler of swashes ...

though we might have to do something about his baggy trousers!

Lillian : And his name - he was Anne Hilarion de Costentin, comte de Tourville.  A naval commander who served under King Louis XIV.

Audrey : Oh dear - that's quite Hilarious   tee hee ....

 Lillian : Here is another swashbuckler.

Audrey :  Ooo, his trousers are even baggier ... but I do like his boots with the square toes.  Wonder where I could get a pair of boots like those ...
Lillian : Next post we'll show the people the pictures of some of the palace rooms.
Audrey : Sounds like a good idea, although we didn't spend much time in the big palace because we wanted to explore the grounds and the Trianons.  
Lillian :  Still, we did get to see some of the really grand rooms.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Versailles - and Food

Audrey : Shall we tell the people about the town of Versailles - as well as the Very Big Palace?
Lillian : Yes, why not.  We did explore Versailles a little on that first afternoon, after our people had their lunch.
Audrey : Oh! our Tour Manager kept talking about that veal pie for days!!
Lillian : We went for a lovely walk

Audrey : Those double tulips were very big & bwight - 
Lillian : Les tulipes making a nice contrast with the forget-me-nots or as the French call them, les myosotis des marais.
Audrey : This young man was wearing a pigeon and very tight twousers!
Lillian : Poor chap, he never got to be an old man.  His pedestal read (I've translated for you) :
Born at Versailles, 24 June 1768
Soldier at 16yrs
General and Chief at 25
Died at 29yrs

Audrey : That's sad Lillian, did he die being a bwave soldier?
Lillian : No, it seems that he died of TB but Louis Lazare Hoche was quite amazing & packed a lot into his short life.  Right behind his statue you can see a little of the roof of the Eglise Notre Dame de Versailles - a very pretty church.  All white stone inside - this is looking up inside the dome ...

Audrey : The stained glass was quite lovely in this eglise.
Lillian : The Annunciation was behind the altar and the colours were very pretty - especially the purples.
Audrey : Who are these people?
Lillian : They are saints, you can tell who they are by the things they have - their 'attributes' - also their initials are underneath.
Audrey : Well that's helpful - who is the saint with the fish?
Lillian : And the nice purple robe?  That is Archangel Raphael.  The lady with the crown, collecting roses in her robe is St Elizabeth of Hungary, she was a Princess.
Audrey : That's why she has a crown, and lives in a pwetty palace.
Lillian : Some of the windows had magnificent patterning rather than saints - like this.

 Audrey : That would make lovely fabric - a nice silk to make blouses.  I think Coco Chanel said "a Lady can never have too many silk blouses".

Lillian : Outside there were streets of apartments with those classic French Windows and balconies ...

Audrey : Weally Fwench!  And then we went to the markets because our people wanted more food!
Lillian : We had a lovely little self-catered supper back in our room.  With raspberries

 and cheese ...

Audrey : That wocky-foot cheese was smelly ...
Lillian : I think you mean Roquefort.

Audrey : That's what I said.  And we had very small bananas - just the right size for ...
a Carmen Miranda moment

Lillian : But what was in this parcel ?

Together : Flan Natur

Audrey : You ate so much Lillian, that you went all funny and hot -

 and had to have a lie down !!

You Should Never Eat Anything Larger Than Your Head !

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

From Brussels to Versailles

Lillian : Our Tour Manager arranged some very nice hotels for us and we were sad to leave the lovely big corner room at The Hotel Rembrandt
Audrey : We had a nice balcony

Lillian :  With a view down the street ...

Audrey : There was lots of lovely old furniture and things - remember the treasure box on the mantel-piece?  

Lillian : Yes, but it was empty.
Audrey : Pewfect place for hiding chocolates.

Lillian : Well we said good bye and caught the train at the Gare du Midi ... and here is a train photo taken as we were pulling out of the station.

Audrey : A photo for all the twain enthusiasts.  The twain was weally fast - I liked the colours of the upholstery - nice reds and purple and pink.

Lillian : It was a Thalys train - we liked watching the country-side flying past ...
Audrey : Sometimes, when the trees are close, they go by so fast it makes you feel all giddy.  But was that still Belgium or were we in Fwance already?
Lillian : Belgium still I think.  We changed trains in Paris and arrived in Versailles in time for our people to have a late lunch.

Audrey : We stayed at a converted old inn ... you could see it had a courtyard with rooms over the stables all around.  And the Wisteria was in bloom - in Fwance it is called La Glycine.

Lillian : We were staying at Hotel du Cheval Rouge...
Audrey : But there wasn't a red horse!
Lillian : No, but it was in a great location just behind the markets ... Marche Notre Dame ... fabulous fresh food

Audrey : Our stylist had to go shopping for new boots - and she found some PINK ONES :-)

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Brussels - Buildings, Lace & Things

Lillian : There are lots of lovely Art Nouveau style buildings in Brussels with beautiful lead-light windows, fancy iron-work and wonderful 'sgraffito'.
Audrey : We saw lots and lots including the gorgeous Cauchie House but most of the photos disappeared from the digital camera - and our people were very upset!
Lillian : Yes, we only have a few photos to show everyone and these are not the most famous buildings ...
Audrey : But it does pwove that there are lots of lovely buildings and it is very worth while to go exploring awound Bwussels.
Lillian : Yes, hop on a tram ... and remember to look up!

Audrey : Is that the scratchy graffiti stuff ALL over that building?
Lillian : They call it 'sgaffito' the design is 'scratched' or incised into wet mortar I think and then painted, often with lots of gold ...
Audrey : Sometimes it isn't painted ...

Audrey : Though I think I'd like to colour in those pwetty flowers.
Lillian : Those are 'MacIntosh' roses Audrey, another very popular Art Nouveau motif in Brussels is the Ginkgo leaf - sometimes in ironwork balconies like this -
Audrey : What about owls - are they a popular Art Nouveau motif too?
Lillian :  I'm not sure, owls aren't very sinuous or elegant but Les Hiboux (The Owls) building is very sweet.   Here are some of Les Hiboux

Audrey : It is nice when the buildings are cared for - remember the shop with the awful yellow paint?
Lillian : It was rather nasty ...
Audrey : But our stylist loved this lady - she was up the top of a building and the photo is not very clear but the lady has a stick with thwead on it.

Lillian : A distaff - used when spinning fibre.  She could be the goddess Frigg / Frigga (we've named Friday after her) or perhaps she is Clotho.  One of the 'three fates', Clotho spins the threads of human's lives  ....   I love the oak tree, perhaps it is a hint as to that lady's identity.

Audrey : Talking about twees - remember the extremely espaliered trees in the big park?

Lillian : Yes - Parc Royale - I guess the trees look better in summer when all their leaves are on.
Audrey : There is a very big fountain and lots of fun statues in that park / parc.
Audrey : He looked like a nice, eligible young man - very capable of bringing home the bacon!
Lillian : Looks like he is doing just that Audrey.  This chap has a big fish which is trying to eat a glove!

Audrey : And these plump babies have been telling each other silly jokes!

Lillian : Well - we can't leave Brussels and Belgium without talking about lace.
Audrey : Belgium is famous for lace - as well as for chocolate.
Lillian : The Costume & Lace Museum in Brussels and the Kantcentrum in Brugge are just wonderful.
Audrey : At the Kantcentrum you can see people making lace - with hundweds & hundweds of bobbins ...
Lillian : Yes - they have 'demonstrations' and one lady in particular was really fast.
Audrey : Oh she was amazing!  The thread was like spider's web and her bobbins were just flying!
Lillian : She was working with silk thread and I think she was making Binche lace - it was very beautiful.  Not much of the lace for sale in the shops is actually hand-made though some shops have lovely antique pieces in their windows, like these ...

Lillian : Isn't that just gorgeous!  And here is a close up - it is Rosaline lace, very distinctive with those little raised circles.

Audrey : Lovely and delicate - but what a lot of work to make it!  Amazing!