Archive for January 13th, 2021

January 13, 2021

Versailles, yes there is a castle here!!

I am updating, revising text on some of my older posts; however, some are very nice that I should had done it before. I will bring you back to my beloved Versailles a city I used to lived, enjoyed and love. Again with so many posts and pictures, this will be on my black and white series. Hope you get to like it too ::)

I have live almost 9 years here, and love it. Most come to Paris, many think is an annex to Paris, but this is Versailles, royal, grand, historic, the foundation of a Nation. It is here when the French constitution needs to be discussed ,changed, amended, all the French parliament and President must move here by constitutional law, and Versailles becomes a de facto Capital of France, last happenned in 2009. The Kingdom was here and the Republic started here.

It has many attributes, friendlier, smaller, nice, beautiful architecture, lots of history all around  you, royal and republican, but it ,also, has a castle. What a castle, I considered the most beautiful in the world, and many were tried and done copying it. Nothing of this magnitude has ever been done. Thanks to king of the French Louis Philippe I that seeing history goes to nothing, had the brilliant idea of converting it into a museum! as he said, FOR THE GLORY OF FRANCE, So in 1837, the castle became the museum, and the story began for all of us. I got caught up in this museum magna, the most beautiful of them all. A bit of stories, compiled from my time as living there and Friends of the Castle.

First you see the statue of Louis XIV on a horse,  done in 1836! but the base and mount comes from the Louis XVI statue that his brother and later king, Louis XVIII wanted to have in the center of the pl de la Concorde in Paris ,then also call place Louis XVI  instead the statue was transferred here to honor under Louis XIV the great builder of Versailles, and the first you see upon coming to the castle. The moment you walk up to it you see pave stones roads, six alignements of pave stones, to welcome the king and guest to castle; nothing could come here than by invitation of the king, once past it you see the cour de marbre or marble courtyard, done by 1681, and renovated a bit in 1678 to give it a clock crown on top middle of the square, and the windows expanded to seven. Around this clock you have Hercules and Mars figures, and an eagle representing defeated nations of Spain, and the Holy Roman Empire during the war of Holland. You see a hydra snake representing the Grand Alliance raised to combat France, and a bull symbol of glorious pass over the Rhine in 1672.  You have the statues in the cour de marbre representing Africa and America on the south side of it, facing the Asia and Europe on the other side. Here too you find on the facades of the cour de marbres 84 busts done in 1685, after heroes of antiquities such as Marc Antony,Jules Cesar,Constantine, etc. Here you see the Cour des Cerfs et Degré du Roi, intimate spaces of Louis XV, it has three floors invisible from the cour des marbre or the cour royale, it serves to do libraries, cabinets rooms, and dining rooms for Louis XV could received his intimes friends. There was a dining room in the 3rd floor opening into vast terraces,and on 1754 a stair degré du roi was done to access the apartments of the royal guards from the cour royale.

But , lets go inside, ok. The wonderful Salon de Mars, see the wonderful painting, La Famille de Darius aux pieds d’Alexandre (1660) with the eyes of Louis XIV at Chateau de Fontainebleau done by Charles Le Brun, who had done Vaux-le-Vicomte,and  also did the galerie d’Apollon at Louvre and considered the best French painter of the 17C. See the marble floors between the Salon de Mars and Salon de Diane in the Grand Appartement du roi; known as the Versailles style parquets, done first in 1684 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart.  On the ceiling of the Salon d’Apollon see the Apollon conduisant le char du soleil (1671-1678) just to imitate the father in law known in Spain as the planet king, so Louis XIV (married to Spanish queen Maria Thérese or in Spanish Maria Teresa, and where all Spanish bourbons kings descend today such as Felipe VI) . Move on to the same salon de Diane to see the work on the doors by the stairs de Maréchaux ,see the reliefs on the doors, the stairs was destroyed in 1752, the reliefs stayed on.  It is now a small replica there and copy at the Chateau d’Herrenchiemsee in Germany.

At the north wing, on the rooms of the 17C, you see the great courts of the portraits of woman of the court of Louis XIV; It is the room of beauties done in 1663, such as the duchess of La Valliére, Henriette of England, Princesse  de Soubise or Princess of Monaco, Marie Mancini, or Anne Marie Martinozzi; lovely indeed. At the cour de l’Hymen by the stair of the queen you see a trophy en metal cover with copper and lead, showing the marriage of Louis XIV to his cousin Marie-Thérese d’Austria to reconcile the quarrels between France and Spain done at St Jean de Luz in signing the treaty of the Pyrénées in 1659. You see the fatality of queens at the ceilings of the antichambre de grand couvert, grand appartement de la reine , beautiful. Go on to the first antichambre du roi done in 1686, vast and beautiful.

The magnificent galerie des glaces done in 1681-1684, with 73 meters long and a canopy of almost 1000 square meters, as well as the ceilings of the salon de l’Abondance, grand appartement du roi. Here see the wonderful office cabinet furniture done in 1708. See the Salon de l’oeil de Boeuf, on the second antichambre in the appartement du roi; white ceilings done in 1701 but richly decorated along the walls. See the wonderful bedroom of Louis XIV at the appartement du roi. Here the king died on Sept 1st, 1715 after 60 years of reign.

There is a big oval encrusted painting showing Louis XV offrering peace to Europe in 1729 in the Salon de la Paix(peace) that follows the Salon de la Guerre(war) to the Grand Appartements. You,also, see the calendars for the anniversaires of the chapel of the king, see at the Sacristie des Musiciens near the tribunes of the chapel done by 1770. You can see the bedroom of Louis XV by the interior appartement du roi,the king uses it from age 27,and he died there May 10, 1774, Louis XVI continue its use, one of the places in the castle where few could entered.

See the wonderful dining room or salle à manger des retours de chasse in the interior appartement du roi; done in 1750 and held until 1769 the diners after his returns from hunting.  There is a nice room call the Cabinet de l’appartement de Madame de Pompadour, in the small appartement du roi in the attic, on top of the salon de la guere. Here many rdv was held by the king and woman including putting here Mme de Pompadour,(real name Jeanne Antoinette Poisson), entered in the courts of Versailles in 1745, and lived her first five years in the castle here, she even had a small chapel  once becoming a duchesse in 1752, she takes a jesuist as confessor in 1756, and while she was sick the king allows her to finish here in 1764, the only person of non royal blood to died in the castle, the king later said, ” Here is all the honors that I can give her, a friend of 20 years”.

You can see the library, in the appartement du Dauphin, or heir to the throne,  done in 1750, served for he of Louis XV and Louis XVI. The Grand Dauphin died at 49 in 1711 four years before Louis XIV while his son Philippe V or Felipe V ascend to the throne of Spain. You can see a wonderful pending clock  or the pendule astronomique de passemant (1730-1740) at the Cabinet de la Pendule, interior appartement du roi.  Given to the royal academy of sciences in 1749 it put here by Louis XV in 1754. It is programmable to be used until 9999! At the time it gave the time in the kingdom of France. You can see the library and bathroom of Madame du Barry, petit appartement du roi (second floor french ,3rd floor US), before becoming the favorite of king Louis XV, she was a saleslady in a boutique n the rue Saint Honoré de Paris. Louis XV keeps her at the age of 25 when she came to lived in the castle. In kicking out Madame du Barry by Louis XVI he takes over the room and you now see the Grand Cabinet in the appartement du Comte de Maurepas, the advisor to king Louis XVI not a good one after his bad advice Versailles came from being the birthplace of the monarchy to its tomb.

Another favorite is the Salle à manger des Porcelaines, or porcelain dining room.  It was the last dining room used by Louis XV  after his hunting runs, and later became a formal dining room under Louis XVI;its in the interior appartement du roi.  Another favorite item is the chandelier or imperiale du lit de Marie Antoinette n the bedroom of the queen. The room has been done exactly as the last day the queen use it on October 6, 1789. Furniture is from 1787 and the bed is from 1769 all renovated. Just think here 19 royal children of France including Louis XV ,and Felipe V of Spain were born. Come to see the Cabinet Doré , interior cabinets of the queen, done in 1783, one of the most beautiful piece of the queen, the harp was done in 1774.

There is a passage from the bedroom of the queen(chambre de la reine)  and the Salon de l’oeil de Boeuf; early on October 6, 1789 the queen was awaken by a large noise, the Parisiens arrives, the Salles des Gardes there was havoc, the room ladies help Marie Antoinette opening the small door to the left of her bed,and she takes leaves by the passages that led to the bedroom of the king. They met there in the passages, while the crowds gather at the cour des marbres and invades the castle. From the king’s bedroom (chambre du roi)La Fayette( he who help the US independance as the Marquis de Lafayette) and a few granadiers battle the insurgents protecting the royals ,while they arrive at the salon de l’Oeil de Boeuf. They needed to leave Versailles

You come to another of my favorites, the Galerie des Batailles or the battle gallery, at the central wing or aile du midi, (1 floor or 2nd Fl US) You see 16 paintings in bronce done from 1834-1836 with engraving of 528 names: 36 princes of the royal house, 10 admirals, 6 connatables,25 mariscals, 33 warriors,18 commanders, and 400 officers dead in combat for France. It describes the military history from Clovis to Napoleon, with 92 busts and 33 paintings of famous battles including the famous USA battle for indepedance at Yorktown.  See the magnificent Porte de l’Hospice des Chevaliers de Saint Jean de Jerusalem; at the salles des Croisades, the door is sculpture in cedar wood and bath of bronze from Rhodes Greece dating from 1512! ,from 1837-1839 the room was embellished with 150 paintings representing the period of the crusades.  Right around there, see the stair or Escalier de l’attique Chimay, to go to the attic Chimay, that extend the one of the queen done during the time of Louis XIV, but the king Louis Philippe, does from 1833-1837 true marble of colors and dust with a paste that gives the impression of seeing glass. The lady in room of Marie Antoinette was to have live here  14 years but actually stayed in the attic of the central wing just behind the glasses of the galerie des batailles/ So her name princess of Chimay,Laure-Auguste de Fitz-James who never lived here but the name stayed on. See the sculptures des Grands Hommes de France, galerie de Pierre, north wing 1 fl or aile nord. four galleries of stones, done in 1776 for the grand galerie du louvre but by Louis XVI here.

The project of a museum to the great man of France is the idea of the Assamblée Générale that in 1791 starts the Central Museum of the Arts, and on 1797 Versailles welcome the special museum of the French School of Arts. The most remarkable of the statues sculpture here is that made in marble of Joanne d’Arc done by Marie d’Orléans second daughter of the king of the French Louis Philippe I done in 1837.

The French Republic is ,also,here, the aile du midi or the middle wing served until 1958 to hold the National elections to hold the parlamentarians that came here to name a President of France.  You see the monograms FF as not to confused the R with the republican party of France, see it at the corniche de la Salle du Congrés du Parlement de Versailles, aile d midi or middle wing. Same wing, see the Pavillon de Provence, the Bureau or cabinet du Président du Congrés ou l’Investiture. The old salon of the countess of Provence came to be under the IV République Française the working office of the president of the National Assembly or Assamblée Nationale. From the 1879 to 1953 14 presidents of  France were elected here! Now is the lieu of work when the French constitution needs revision,changes or amenmends.

The official webpage of the Château de Versailles: http://www.chateauversailles.fr/homepage

The official webpage of the Château de Versailles eventshttps://en.chateauversailles-spectacles.fr/

The city of Versailles tourist office on the must sees in the Château de Versailles: https://en.versailles-tourisme.com/les-10-incontournables.html

Versailles is a lot more than a castle, but the castle is sublime , unique, exceptionally superbe and a must see while anywhere in France or the République Française! I hope you enjoy my favorite, the property is huge , for all tastes. One place to know the whole history of France. Hope you enjoy the post , and it needed to be long.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

January 13, 2021

Versailles, and me !!!

I am updating, revising text on some of my older posts; however, some are very nice that I should had done it before. I will bring you back to my beloved Versailles a city I used to lived, enjoyed and love. Again with so many posts and pictures, this will be on my black and white series. Hope you get to like it too ::)

Coming around my life, as a family we decided way back that one day we might end up in France. Being married to a French woman, and all French citizens, the time was just any minute. Life in South Florida has been great, and we were visiting France every year since 1990 together,even sometimes with my parents.

The decision was made to come to live in France permanently. First, I found a job online with a major French CAC 40 corporation as head of their accounting dept which included 9 regions of the world and 5 billion USD in sales, the force of 53% of its sales to the USA. The decision then was to prepare the move and sell our home in Florida.

I came for the job on August 23, 2003 to start with Thomson Broadcast & Media Solutions in Cergy-St Christophe, dept 95 Val d’Oise,and  lived with my in-laws in Chambry near Meaux dept 77 Seine-et-Marne ,which of courses knew the area well, this while I search for an apartment. This was done by October of that year, at Versailles dept 78 Yvelines, with good transport to the city and Paris as well as close to my job via car. My family joined me in December 2003 together with my parents who decided to follow their only son and grandchildren here!!

I had secured a big four bedroom apartment near transport and schools, and large enough to received our belonging from Florida USA. The move was done from Miami Florida by SDV French freight forwarders who gave us an expatriate deal very cheap for a 40 foot container door to door delivery, unbelievable price, nobody could believe it. But my wife worked for them in Miami!

My parents were issued quickly visa long séjour and upon arriving titre de séjour visiteur as they were already US retirees did not needed to work . My wife was helped by a French compatriot in the USA who refered her to a company here doing the same job as in Florida, freight forwarding agent ,and within a couple of month found the job at Roissy CDG in the freight or cargo area of DHL Global Forwarding. My kids went to school for quick entry at the town of Verneuil sur Seine (collége) and then Le Chesnay-Roquencourt (lycée)  ,and quickly began to get good grades in school as their French was already mastered by the mother in house education, using tapes, books, cassettes, plus the daily usage of the language and annual visits to France. Kids can really pick up the languages quickly!!

Quickly settling in to our new surrounding, we purchase our first home by July 2004 in the same area near a forest that links with Versailles behind the Domaine de Versailles which includes the castle everyone comes to see. It is a four bedroom 2 bath one car garage home with fruit trees in the patio and a nice front yard full of roses and flowers. Tool shed house and barbecue pit of bricks. It is our sweet home in France, and we love it. Later on we came to live in town by the Notre Dame Church behind it!!

About this same time , 2004 , I was given the opportunity to be the head of Accounting of the Intercontinental Hotels Group in France, handling all hotels own and manage by the group including the fame Cafe de la Paix in Paris and 3 Intercontinental hotels (two in Paris and one in Cannes) plus the Holiday Inn Republique in Paris and Disneyland Paris (now all with different names and new owners except Le Grand and Café de la Paix) . A job that allows me to maintain close relationship with the deluxe high end and tourist industry in France. As well as getting to know some well known individuals in many fields.

Our next move as we move along in our belle France, which by now it has become our home and legal residence is to move closer to the kids university and schools, as they are working or going to school in Versailles or next to it using the city bus system very well while Dad continues to haul his car around (habit hard to dismiss). My job since 2006 involves doing independant contract work for corporations inside and outside France in the area of  Finance/ERP/Controlling/and international dealings with the largest French corp part of the CAC 40 (sort like a Dow Jones industrials in the USA). See my other posts for the stories to follow on this one city and beyond into Bretagne!

The city of Versailles, on top right page, the globe can translated to several languages: https://www.versailles.fr/

The Dept 78 Yvelines on entertainment and link to tourist office: https://www.yvelines.fr/loisirs/tourisme/le-guide-de-sorties/

The Ïle de France region on tourism: https://www.iledefrance.fr/tourisme

You are welcome to ask any questions if thinking of coming over, it is a lot easier than most will tell you; just follow the French system, read procedures. I will expand with my stories in other parts of the world and the continuation in France, stay tune. It felled very nice to be more personal and let you all know a bit of my history. Hope you enjoy it as I did telling you. Versailles is worth a kingdom!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

January 13, 2021

Versailles ,its worth a kingdom!!

I am updating, revising text on some of my older posts; however, some are very nice that I should had done it before. I will bring you back to my beloved Versailles a city I used to lived, enjoyed and love. Again with so many posts and pictures, this will be on my black and white series. Hope you get to like it too ::)

I will stop this time my historical anecdotes of the city of Versailles to tell you of my first coming home “visit”. I am in transition after almost 9 yrs living in the city to move out, my house is sold, waiting for the closing in June to move permanently to the Morbihan breton dept 56. So every chance I get to be back it feels great indeed. Versailles I will never forget you!!!

I had to pick up my oldest son for a meal at home with the family, so instead of just a round trip, I spent my time walking and driving all over the city, just a nostalgic tour one more time. It is hard, one who is used to living internationally (five countries already lived), each time is a psychological process, this time even more so, the city has given me and my family so much good.

First an hommage to  a great gardener ,and one that one of my son is trying to follow as gardener paysagiste himself. There is a bust statue of André Le Notre (see post) , by Ave des Etats Unis  and Ave de Saint Cloud, honoring the master of his chef d’ouvre Versailles, but ,also of Palais des Tuileries, Palais Royal, Saint Germain en Laye ,Marly-le-Roi, Saint Cloud, Chantilly, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Sceaux, Saint Maur, Saint Martin de Pontoise, Ussé, Chaville, Pontchartain, Conflans, Gaillon, Guermantes, Castries, Les Rochers, Maintenon, Meudon, and, Clagny. First gardener of the kings of France from 1645 to his death in 1700.

I went back to a seldom site as I live on the opposite Notre Dame, but the Saint Louis district is unique too, in that it houses the Cathedral de Saint Louis, (see post)  wonderful ,and today many scouts kids in it, during service. I waited for the end to come back for the pictures. One should not take photos when service is held, please.

For an historical anecdote, the Collegiale de Notre Dame Church is the oldest but when the French revolution for not given in to the old royal grounds, they chose this one as the city’s Cathedral. Nevertheless as I said , it is very imposing and compact, nice.  First blessed as such in 1754. The organ was done in 1761, and survived the revolution instact. You have the baptismal urn of king Clovis ,the first king of the Franks or Francia=France.  Wonderful huge paintings, and statue of Joanne d’Arc, patron saint of France. A must to see.

I went again by the Potager-du-roi, the vegetable patch for the king Louis XIV, still given out goodies to the general public on Wednesdays.  This one is the one open to the public as the Kings harvest place, there is one bigger behind all the way of the castle properties now accessable by Saint Cyr l-école (see post) on the D307 road.

I let you have ,once in my neck of the city, the exit I take from the gare rive droite in Versailles, closest to me, I would go out on blvd de la Reine, and next to it is the nice and historical Hotel de Clagny.

I once again take you to the wonderful , magnificent, highly recommended Marché Notre Dame, (see post) the best, by the place du vieux marché, and parking underground Notre Dame for those daring like me to drive. This is all you need to buy, all is here. I like to take rememberence to the Hôpital Richard, a venerable institution in Versailles who have seen its better days. The Units have been transferred next door to a modern facility ,and the old hospital is been transformed into a luxury condo,apartment complex, which if models show it, will be stunning. The only building left will be the Chapel. It looks nice and the price is as per location. The Chapel  was, in the former Convent of the Augustinians of Versailles or couvent de la Reine, dedicated to the education of young ladies founded by Queen Marie Leszczynka,wife of Louis XV. It was done in 1772.

I then move over to seldom seen areas such as another district or neighborhood of Versailles (see post on districts of Versailles) ,this is Montreuil, a royal neighborhood, and the Church of Saint Symphorien (see post) done 1764-1770, wonderful paintings from the 18C ,but today it was in ceremonial service so no pictures inside.  The colorful ,commercial rue de Montreuil leads to Ave des Etats Unis is full of shops and bistros ,very lively at night too. Last we made a tour into the end of rue Royale, to take a look at the Lycée Notre Dame de Grandchamp that houses a private school and next to it at 16 Rue Monseigneur Gibier , you have the Bishop’s office of the diocese of Versailles. And next to it at no 8 the Chapelle de l’Immaculate Conception.

On the run, we stop at my son’s hangout in near Saint Louis Cathedral, where the kebad is the kids thing, talk, gossips and girls, I guess ::) Planeté Food, 7 rue du Général Leclerc , very good service, and menus includes fries and sodajust crossing street you are at Cathédrale de Saint Louis, and tracing back to rue Royale brings you out to the train station gare rive gauche-Château. Tried the Greek or Grec menu with American sauce combination mayo and ketchup. A young crowd but very well disciplined ,most from private schools in the area.

The city of Versailles tourist office : https://www.versailles-tourisme.com/

The city of Versailles on its history/heritage: https://www.versailles.fr/ma-ville/decouvrir/histoire-de-versailles/

And there you go a nice “visit” to my beloved Versailles and time to see and do some of the routines of old. Always feels good to be at Versailles, it is worth a kingdom indeed. Hope you enjoy it as I do, and do visit when possible.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: