Now, over a month later, I am taking advantage of this long weekend to finally sort through my copious collection of photographs from Paris; it is a strange task, as my trip is very near in my past, yet with the other various journeys for work and challenges and surprises between then and now, it seems as though it were eons ago. Due to the volume, I am going to attempt to curate these in some fashion, though, my commentary may be limited. The general thematic message will be this, simply: Paris is a beautiful, incredible city that welcomes and envelopes the traveler into an intricate foray of art, music, food, drink, and life. Go, and embrace.
At the suggestion of my dear friend Morgan, when I made the suburban trek on the local transit system out to Versailles from my cozy studio apartment in the Latin Quarter, I packed a picnic lunch. Red wine, goat cheese, creamy pate, and a selection of salted salamis were suitable sustenance for the chilly and gloomily bright day out in the grand gardens.
After my picnic, I entered the atrium of the main building, amid swarms of tourists from around the globe, anxiously shuffling in awe through the corridors and the rooms, snapping and clicking furiously with their cameras. Immediately, I was inundated with sensory stimulation; opulent, bombastic, deluge of decadence, do not even begin to describe the experience. Whatever can be gilded or carved or lathered with imagery and iconography is done so. Imagining actual normal human beings residing in this place, in another and chronologically and culturally faraway time, was nearly impossible. I am sure many historians and cultural critics alike would argue that those who did wake, dress, dine, and sleep within these walls were not normal human beings at all; they were absurd mythological creatures, sculpted from their own innate circumstance and construct. They were powerful and pompous and delusional; to those who live now, characters. Design, decor, and ambiance here are, in a word, ludicrous.
The infamous and iconic Hall of Mirrors, resplendent with crystal and glass and the subsequent beams of refracting light, which were surprisingly brilliant despite the rather overcast day.
With the heavy draped fabrics and the tessellating patterns of floral detritus in the quintessential gold and shades of red that evoke bloodied organs, I do not think I could ever sleep restfully in either of these beds.
Crowds of turtle-paced tourists aside, with their large backpacks and fanny-packs and chattering cameras, my tour was pleasant; hustling through with large groups actually seemed appropriate, given the effusive undulating barrage to the senses from every wall and corner and nook of every room. My trip to Paris was planned to be one of peace and tranquility; I could not imagine not taking advantage of seeing a monumentous work of art such as Versailles, but, am certainly glad to have heeded the advice of an old friend and relished in the slightly more open solace of the gardens as well.