One thing: when you visit Versailles, it's easy to see why some folks thought they needed a revolution.
I had been hanging out with Singing Woman, who speaks a bit of French, but she didn't want to go to Versailles, and I did, so I went on my own.
I'll admit it: I was a little nervous before I went to Paris because I don't speak the language and feel unsophisticated and stuff. But it was fine, and better than fine. I got directions at the hotel for the special train (RER) and bought a ticket at the Metro station. I had to switch trains, but it was straightforward and obvious that they were really used to directing tourists to Versailles.
Imagine, when Versailles was built as a palace, it was well outside of Paris. Now it's a suburb. And, according the the stuff I read while I was there, Louis XIV built it so that he could get all the bureaucrats out of Paris and under his thumb to run things, which works well if you're really good at running things and they aren't too big, and then probably doesn't.
But then the whole place is just overwhelming beyond belief, and poor Hercules becomes one of a million other things you see and finally can't really take in any more.
I really liked it. Somehow, it seemed like an intimate palace, if one can imagine such a thing? I mean, I could imagine real people living there, and I really couldn't imagine anyone real in the main palace at all because it is just too huge for comprehension.
Sometimes, I've seen pottery with crystaline glazes that look sort of like that, except not in such a perfect green. (I really like a good, deep green.)
So, in case France is wondering, the malachite vases are welcome to come visit the BardiacShack any time you get bored of having them at the Grand Trianon!
And that was my visit to Versailles. I had figured I'd probably take half a day and then go visit the Orsay in Paris, but it was a beautiful day and I was really enjoying the whole thing, so I didn't rush it at all. And I'm glad I didn't. I got home safely in the evening, and went to bed, and then got up early and was at the Orsay within a few minutes of its opening, so I at least got to see it for a bit.
I love Van Gogh. I would marry this painting if it were allowed. (Maybe France would let me marry the painting, but I'm sure they wouldn't approve of it coming home with me. Alas. Maybe we can just live together?) The thing about Van Gogh is that I can just look at the brush strokes all day. I look straight on for a bit, and then I move over to the side and look at an angle so that I can see the depth. And then I look from the front again. And so on. The Orsay was a pretty darned good time for me!
In addition to the Van Gogh's and other art (Lautrec! Renoir! Monet! Pisarro!) the building itself is beyond magnificent. What a great way to use an old train station!
A word about Renoir. Sometimes, his pictures of people look vapid to me. But sometimes he catches something about them with what feels to me like great affection (like this one) and then he's as good as the best. (I really like portraits, and like Raphael especially. Look at his Castiglione!)
I had a couple of hours at the Orsay, and then went back to travel back to the UK with the student group, back under the Chunnel. What a nice way to start a travel day!
I know you're all wondering what Onofre was up to while I was visiting Versailles. Well, he was up to his usual tricks, trying to get on the head of a statue (but alas, I couldn't reach)!