Marie Antoinette's Garden in Spring - French Californian

Marie Antoinette’s Garden During Spring

Every time spring rolls around, there’s always that first perfectly temperate, blue-skied, wonderful day of the year. Whenever it arrives, without fail, I find myself proclaiming it the BEST DAY EVER. It can’t be the best day ever if it happens every single year! Aside from my excitability when it comes to weather (yes, I can and will discuss weather in casual conversation), last Sunday really was perfect. Apparently, the rest of Versailles thought so too, because droves of people were outdoors.

None of my 3 friends could come with me, so I explored on my own. But it’s all the same to me – I explore alone most of the time. It’s actually therapeutic for me, to wander around and observe beauty (and take pictures of it).

I made my way through town and towards the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s domain, comfortably removed from the main palace and all the strict rules and regulations that came with it. From here, she created a universe filled with romantic gardens and farm animals. When I explore this area of the grounds, I like to think that I can still feel her presence lingering.

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Masquerade Ball of Versailles

The moment I heard about a Masquerade Ball at the Palace of Versailles I knew I had to attend. I’m mostly a homebody and not much of a party animal, but the idea of dressing up like Marie Antoinette at the actual chateau was enough to push me to purchase the 78€ tickets (88€ for people over 26 years). The spending didn’t stop there, oh no. We rented some of the least expensive Rococo costumes available at the nearest Costume Shop, Déguisez-Moi, which ran from 80-110€ apiece.

I’m not complaining about the money spent – in fact, I have no regrets whatsoever! Since this is probably once-in-a-lifetime (or twice, if I still live here next summer), I’m more than willing to cough up the funds to have the experience. Actually, we decided that if we ever do this again, we’ll splurge even more on the costumes. I had some major costume envy when I saw a coordinating couple drenched entirely in bright white, feathers and crystals – the woman’s petticoat extended at least 3 feet to each side! My costume was lovely but not a true robe à la française. I suppose you’ll have to fork over more money if you want something truly authentic.

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Chateau de Versailles + Our First Dinner Soirée

Last Saturday was a busy day! During a supermarket run that morning, the sky looked bright, yet partly cloudy, and a bit windier than normal. Then, an hour later, as soon as I set foot outside to pick up my friend from the train station… Torrential downpour! My shoes and pants got soaked, and my poor H&M umbrella got snapped in half! The insane storm lasted about 5 minutes, just long enough for me to hop on a bus instead. As soon as we were walking back from the station, the sky was once again clear and sunny! … I’m not used to this weather.

We stopped for a few to browse through an antique market, grabbed a bite to eat at a boulangerie, then headed to the palace. Here were the things I noticed this time around:

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Palace de Versailles

One of the activities I accomplished with my mother was the enormous Palace/Chateau of Versailles. Think Marie Antoinette and her husband Louis the sometheenth. (Sorry guys, not so good with historical details!)

The interiors are ridiculously detailed and gaudy, it actually got rather sickening towards the end of the visit. But I’d say it’s still worth a visit.

Aside from the main chateau, you can also explore the gardens, two smaller palaces, and the Queen’s hamlet. We saw everything there was to see, and I have to say the smaller palaces and hamlet were much more enjoyable, simply because they were far less busy.

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Jardin du Luxembourg

My feet may be seriously injured, and I think my Achilles heel is bruised. I’m not sure how I’m going to get to class and work tomorrow! Let’s just hope my feet heel tonight. I have never walked so much in my entire life, and it doesn’t help that the majority of my shoes are new and require “breaking in.” I’m hoping that my feet will transform into one, rock-hard callous that can withstand absolutely anything and that will be immune to any sort of pain. Here’s to hoping!

On a very sunny, warm day, I hopped over to the Luxembourg garden, a very large green space complete with manicured lawns, overflowing lines of flowers, am impressive Baroque-style fountain, and shady areas with lots of benches. It reminded me of many Impressionist paintings of Parisians at leisure. Sunday Afternoon at the Grande Jatte and Luncheon on the Grass came to mind. I didn’t spend as much time here as I’d like, but I have 4 months to return.

I’ll be sad when winter comes and all the beautiful flowers go away!

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