Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Honeymoon: The Palace - Hall of Mirrors

3rd week into the new year! Besides the usual engagement with families, I have been busy clearing the house. I'm a hoarder by nature, hence our house is mostly filled with my things, lol! Leecher always lament at the stuff I keep, but I'll always brush him off with you-never-know-when-you-will-need-it hand wave. So over the years, he gave up on asking me to throw things away. This year, I decided to look through my stash and try to clear some space for new things, ha! While I'm dusting around in the house, I also had to dust off the cobwebs from my honeymoon folder, so here's another entry!
Framed with an arc ceiling where elaborated crystal chandeliers hung amidst ceiling paintings , the Hall of Mirrors has to be my favourite room in the entire Palace. When I first set foot into this room, the only word that popped out was "WOW"!
Get ready to explore further! 
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Picture first, talk later! 
Lined with 17 mirror-clad arches that reflect the arcaded windows which overlook the gardens, this is the central gallery of the Palace where the King displayed the royal powers to impress visitors. If I'm not wrong, the signing of the Peace Treaty for WWI was conducted in this gallery.
I definitely fell in love with the many chandeliers hanging off the ceiling. If only I can have my own chandelier at home, but then I reckon chandeliers will only look nice off a high ceiling. It would look slightly out-of-place in a normal HDB apartment.
Initially it was difficult to take pictures in this room, due to a combination of reflection from sunlight + mirrors + chandeliers. You can see spot the greenish specks from the picture. It took us a long time to figure out how to avoid having those specks.
School field trip for the students to learn about history. I attempted to stand behind the group and tried to evasdrop on their lesson, but silly me totally forgotten that the lesson would be conducted in french, lol! 
It was really difficult to capture a decent picture in this room with no one in the background, for every inch of this place is crowded with tourists. I think a lot of people enjoyed taking pictures in this room due to the natural sunlight coming in from the huge windows.
Have to sign off now and head to bed, while watching up on K-drama :) Till the next time!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Honeymoon: The Palace - The King's Grand Apartment

Been almost a month since the last post; I really need to find back the blogging motivation to document more memories of this lil space. Over the weekend, I made asked Leecher to vacuum my work table at home. Then, I swapped the ironing slot to blogging slot, so I could sit in front of the computer and begin typing this entry. From the Royal Chapel, we adjourned to the King's State Apartments. This is a prestigious collection of 7 rooms, each dedicated to a Roman deity. As the rooms were meant to serve as a venue for sovereign's official acts, no efforts were spared to decorate each room lavishly. 
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The Hercules Room connects the chapel and the North Wing of the Palace with the Grand Apartment of the King. The room began construction in 1710, for King Louis XIV wanted the Hercules Room to be a showcase for a large painting. The work was finally completed 26 years later, with a painted ceiling called Apotheosis of Hercules. It is not surprising that the painting gave the room its name (Hercules Room). 
The painting which led to the construction of the room, known as Meal at the House of Simon the Pharisee. Simon was a gift from the Doge to King XVI, for he wanted the french king to support him in a war with the Turks. This painting was once displayed at the Louvre, but Simon was returned back to its rightful place in 1961.  


pic courtesy of google 

During evening soirees, the Abundance room was the place of refreshments, which consisted of coffee, wine and liqueurs. The King's vessels, a precious object in the form of a dismastered ship was placed on the sovereign's table on grand occasions. This was a symbol of power, for it contained the sovereign's serviette and everyone had to salute as they passed. Strangely, I couldn't find a picture of this room in both cameras, so I had to grab one of the internet.

The Venus Room takes its name from the Venus, the theme linked to the solar myth which inspired all the decor of Versailles. Venus is depicted on the ceiling with the features of the Goddess of Love. During apartment evenings, the Venus room was used for serving light meals in buffet style. We also get to see a full length status of King Louis XVI glorified as a Roman Emperor, which is the centerpiece of this room.


On evening soirees, Diana room served as a billiard room for the King. King Louis XIV was known to be skilled at billiard. The ladies would watch from benches set up on platforms, giving them a good view of the game. The ladies often applauded the brilliant strokes of the King, hence this room has a nickname called "The Chamber of Applause".
In ancient Rome, Mars was known as the God of War. The strong inspiration of this using Mars, the God of War, for this room for it was originally meant to serve as a guard room for the parade apartment. During King Louis XIV's reign, it served as a ballroom during his evening receptions. 
In the centre of the ceiling, a painting of Mars on a chariot drawn by wolves can be seen. The work is then framed by two compositions; on the east - Victory supported by Hercules followed by Abundance & Felicity and on the west - Terror, Fury and Fright taking over the powers of Earth. 
pic credit to Rhonda Krause

The Mercury room, named after the Roman god of Trade, Commerce & Liberal Arts was the parade chamber of the Grand Apartment, hence it's name of "bed chamber", even though this bed was quickly removed in winter in order to free up the space and install the gaming tables. Since then, it served as a gaming (card) room during evening receptions. The palace's famous silver furniture was kept here. Next to the bed is a painting of David playing the harp, one of the King's favorites paintings. Once again, I had to grab a pic of the internet for Leecher wasn't taking pictures despite him holding onto the camera, tsk tsk!
Dedicated to the Sun God, the Apollo Room was the most luxurious of all. Apollo was also the God whom Louis XIV identified himself with. While the paintings and sculptures remained in this room, the rest of the furniture has disappeared. The silver furniture, in particular a 2.6m high throne, was metled down in 1689 due to a war. The King ordered all the silver furniture to be sent to the mint to be melted down, so as to help defray the cost of war. Instead, a gilded wooden armchair replaced the throne. 

As we walked through all the rooms, I was largely impressed by the detailed drawings found on the ceiling. It must have been difficult doing large scale paintings on the ceiling without suffering from neck aches. The effort taken to complete each painting, regardless of sizes, was definitely commendable.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Honeymoon: The Palace - The Royal Chapel

Once we reached the front gates of Versailles, we headed to the ticketing office to get the admission tickets. There are 3 types of tickets available; namely The Passport, The Palace and Trianon Palaces & Marie-Antoinette's Estate. The Passport (€18) allows you to discover the Versailles estate in all its glory, enabling you access to all places.
Since we came all the way here, I argued that it would be more worthwhile to get the Passport. This way, we'll get to visit the whole Palace and the surrounding compound. However, the entire compound span over 2014 acres of land. Thus, we had to time our visit to each destination, taking into consideration traveling time between the places of interest. 
An audio-guide in 11 languages (included in the ticket price) is available as well. With the map in hand, we began our journey through the Palace :)
The Royal Chapel greeted the visitors as soon as you enter the Palace. This two-storey palatine chapel is designed based on the model of the Holy Chapel in Paris. The construction of the Chapel first started in 1687 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Unfortunately, Jules did not live long enough to see the end of the construction for he died in 1708. His brother-in-law, Robert de Cotte took over the job and ended the work in 1710.
The Cliquot organ is placed above the alter. Played by the greatest maestros like Francois Couperin, the Music of the Chapel - renowned across Europe - would sing motets each day throughout the entire Church service. Throughout history, all the kings (regardless of Chinese/English/Indian kings) are known to be the Chosen One by God. In French monarchy, the King was chosen by God and through his coronation, the king became God's "lieutenant" on Earth. As such, the paintings and sculptures in the Chapel evoke that idea in a series which start at the nave and ends at the gallery where the king would seat.
Since Leecher took charge of the camera, I decided to utilise my then-newly-bought iPhone 4S and took tons of pictures, lol! Well, I admit that I did attracted a lot of attention with the Hello-Kitty cover, haha! The angmohs seemed to be surprised that such handphone cases existed!
I loved all the lights that are found in this Palace! These gold-rimmed lamps lit up the arched passage way, which I think will be an astonishing sight during night time. Then again, we never got to stay till night to witness this :( Perhaps, they would switch of the lights to conserve electricity, lol!
As we forgot to bring the extra memory card out for this day trip, Leecher had to make sure the camera had sufficient memory to contain the pictures that we'll be taking for the day. Thus, he carefully scanned through the pics to decide what to keep or delete.
OK, no matther what, pictures of the dear wifey will NOT be deleted. 
We came across actual documents that lasted through history! I tried to read a few lines but soon gave up. I do admire the cursive handwriting :)  We continued to explore other aspects of the Palace, which I will share more in future posts. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Honeymoon: Journey to Palace of Versailles

It has been a long while since my last honeymoon post. Well, I sort of cheated by putting in a travel guide to Paris in between, so it doesn't seem that I have neglected our honeymoon trip. Truth is, I think I'm slowly morphing into a true-blue procrastinator :) Before I sink further into procrastinating mode, I decided to sweep off the cobwebs of the honeymoon folder, sort out the pics and blog about our day trip. We embarked on a day trip outskirts to visit the Palace of Versailles, which has been on UNESCO's World Heritage list for 30 years.
In order to save time, we packed breakfast from Pomme De Pain, a French fast-food chain serving traditional French sandwiches and pastries. We grabbed a couple of bread, sandwiches and drinks to consume along the journey.
 The RER C train will take you directly to the Palace of Versailles. Since the palace is located at Zone 4, ticket "t" or carnet can't be used for the journey. Instead, we had to purchase a "Paris-Versailles Rive Gauche" ticket at €4.10 each (one-way) to get there.
 I'm the official navigator since Leecher is useless with directions. I have to admit that at one point, I was rather confused with all the train lines, esp when it crossed over to RER trains. Being in the city, we just need to pay attention to metro lines most of the time. There is always a first experience in everything, so we went along on our journey. Worst come to worse, we'll just end up in a different place heh.
As RER C line forks at a certain point, I had to make sure that we board the right train heading to the right direction. On board the train, we overheard that this group is also making their way to Palace of Versailles! We decided to follow them since they seemed to know their way around much better than us. 
During the train journey, I was too distracted to eat any food for I wanted to make sure that we are moving in the right direction. Now that we met the group of travelers, I heaved a sign of relief. While we were waiting for the last train that head directly to the destination, I felt hungry!
  Cute packaging!
 While we munched on the bread, we slowly arrived at our destination. We caught a glimpse of the countryside as we traveled outskirts, as the RER is the line which serves Paris and its suburbs.     
Once you arrive at ‘Versailles Rive Gauche’, it will take around 5 min to walk to the main gates of the Palace. There are plenty of signs to guide you around, so fret not about geting lost. P5093983 
Ending the post with a "scary" pic of Leecher, who set the camera to dramatic mode to capture this. 
Palace of Versailles
Place d'Armes - 78000 Versailles 
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