Friday, 30 September 2011

Leaving Versailles

Lillian :  We had two wonderful days exploring the grounds of the Chateau de Versailles ... wonderful but rather tiring.
Audrey :  So much walking and seeing so many beautiful things ...
Lillian :  Just outside the beautiful gilded gates there is a large statue of Louis XIV on a horse pointing the way.
Audrey :  He seems to be saying "Go on tourists, time to go home, that's the way, down that road, hurry up now..." 

Lillian :  Our stylist loved all the lavish details ... the plumes, his ringlets, the brocade fabric, those intricate sleeves, the sash, the bucket-top boots...

Audrey : The horsey even has a lovely bow on his tail!!

Lillian : Here are some pictures from the front of the statue - cravat, gauntlet gloves and insignia on his breast ... it looks like the Ordre du Saint-Esprit. 
According to the web-site we've linked to there - the sash that went with this order was blue (hence the expression "cordon bleu" to mean something of first class).

Audrey :  The horse looks friendly but King Louis looks quite grumpy - I think he would like all the tourists to leave so he can have his Palace back!
Lillian : Talking about horses - directly outside the palace gates, on either side of the road Louis XIV is pointing down - there are magnificent stables.  Designed by Mansart to house the king's 600 horses.
Audrey :  600 horses !   No wonder the plants in the palace gardens grow so well!

Lillian :  The lovely horses are very appropriate but we weren't quite sure why, in one of the courtyards, there is a lovely statue of a sad, rather cold lady.

Audrey : Poor girl, she is lovely but she needs more than a pashmina to keep her warm.

Lillian : Our hotel room was nice and warm - we were very glad to be able to put our feet up that evening!

Lillian : The next morning we had time to take a few snaps on our way to the train station.  Versailles is a very pretty town with some lovely buildings outside the Palace grounds - as well as inside.

Lillian : Look at those irises - glazed ceramic tiles I think.

Audrey : We have some photos of from our first evening in Versailles - details from the facades of buildings.  Apartments with Art Deco decoration....
 And what might have been a dairy, or cafe perhaps.   Wonderful Art Nouveau - it is now a creche.  What does the sign say Lillian?

Lillian :  It translates to something like "Drop of Milk".   Here is a close-up of those tiles and the rustic/rough pebble surface of the wall -

The creche is run by the Council - and this is the Town Hall - or Hotel de Ville.  Liberté, égalité, fraternité.
Audrey :  Oh - is "Hotel de Ville" like "Town Hall"?   I thought they were weally weally bad / vile hotels.
Lillian : Oh Audrey, you are funny.   This is the market - quite wonderful - an open-air square with L-shaped halls on each side. 
Audrey : So much wonderful food ... and lots of cheese!

Well, we had to take about 3 trains that day but it all went quite smoothly.  
Lillian : Traveling by train is so easy in France and you get to see the lovely country-side out the window ...
Not sure where exactly this was -  somewhere in Bourgogne.

Audrey :  No wonder the food is great - look at the lushness of this country.  The grass is so green!
 This was quite close to our destination ... Avallon.

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