Saturday, 10 September 2011

Versailles - somewhat random photos

Lillian : Here are more photos from our 2nd day at the Palace of Versailles - rather a random selection this time. 

Audrey :  Well that wasn't even in the Palace grounds!
Lillian :  No but surely only in Versailles would the little, roadside electricity substations (known as Kiosks in Australia) be painted so beautifully!  Wonderful Trompe-l'œil  with portraits of famous people such as Molière.

Audrey :  A very grand angel statue at the gates of the Palace -

and this is the Chapel, just as grand on the outside as it is on the inside!

Lillian :  On the 2nd day we didn't go through the main palace buildings but went straight through to the grounds.  If you watch the Sofia Coppola movie about Marie Antoinette you will see this massive stairway in a couple of scenes ...

 Audrey : It is huge!  Almost a "Stairway to Heaven" ....

we met a very friendly doggie there on the stairs

Lillian :   He was very friendly.  I liked these big baskets / urns of flowers at the end of the stairs.

Audrey :  It was spring so there were lots of real flowers too ...

Lillian :  The gardens are quite glorious ...

This lovely peaceful place is called The Queen's Grove.

Audrey : Lots of statues there - I think that this young hunter needs to hunt down some clothes. 
Lillian :  Many statues and paintings depict the human nude ... like this statue of an athlete, near that grove  ...

Audrey : Hmmm he does have nice muscles.

So does this gent teaching a lion how to do a dance...
Lillian : As you walk further from the main palace buildings, on the left-hand side, you come to The Mirror Lake - lovely, peaceful and so pretty with the trees in blossom.

Audrey :  Amazing amounts of pink cherry blossom!

The gardens must take a lot of looking after and it seems even the statues have to help with the gardening ... this gent has been planting tulips -

Lillian :  And all the topiary has to be maintained - these rather bizarre shapes are down the side of The Royal Walk which runs down the middle of the grounds.

Lillian :  There are also lots of statues - this is part of a set representing the Seasons and Winter is an old man who feels the cold even though he has a brazier. 

Audrey : That's a bit funny because our people have been to Versailles in the winter and the statues were all wrapped up in canvas to keep them warm.

Lillian : Well, this is all quite random - but let's return to the palace - which is quite encrusted with sculpture.  Lots of empty armour along the top and allegorical people just about everywhere!
There is a catalogue (in French) of all the statues here ... the entries for the musical lady on the left, La Poésie (figure originale) and the lady playing a lyre.


Audrey :  So many statues - this looks quite modern, I can't believe it was created in 1688! 

Le Rémouleur - The Grinder

Lillian :  Just behind the Palace are The Water Parterres - 2 really large pools which reflect the sunlight into the main palace building - including into the Hall of Mirrors.   At the corners there are large allegories of the major rivers in France -

La Seine
La Marne

La Garonne

La Dordogne - with fruit grown in the region

La Loire - with artichokes & asparagus
Audrey :  The gentleman from Loire also has a lobster and a dear little frog.
Lillian :  We can't work out which river this lady with her baby and toothy fish represent.  She is a little different to the other ladies -
Audrey : You mean that she goes to the gym and does lots of sit-ups?

Lillian :  Ahem - there are also groups of babies round the Water Parterres -
Beach-combing Babies
Babies with a Bird

Audrey : We saw lots of birds - with all the water about there are lots of ducks and some lovely swans.  This
sweet birdie is a White Wagtail - Latin name Motacilla alba

Lillian : Not related to the Australian Willy Wagtail - and rather larger.  In our next post we'll show our photos from the Grand Trianon.

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