France Odyssey: Seine River, Reims, & Paris Day 9

This morning we said goodbye to the staff on the Amadeus Diamond and boarded a bus to head for a tour of the Palace of Versailles. We had a delayed start because our local guide that would be with us for the next three days was late.

Our guide had us wait just inside the gate while he got our entrance tickets. Our tickets had a timed entrance but the Palace was running way behind so we were late. It was very crowded the day we visited. It was a very popular tourist stop and we could tell by the crowds.

The Palace of Versailles spanned over 1,977 acres. It was also an UNESCO World Heritage site. It was the main residence of the French Kings from Louis XIV to Louis XVI. It originally was the former hunting lodge of Louis XIII and it was transformed and extended by his son Louis XIV in 1682. Each king who lived here added his own enhancements until the French Revolution.

The Royal Gate was destroyed during the French Revolution which began in 1789. The French Revolutionary government ordered it dismantled. It was covered completely with gold! The gate below was rebuilt in 2008 but decorated with 100,000 gold leaves.

Royal Gate

It was another cloudless day with blue skies. The palace was so big that our phones and camera could not get the entire palace in one picture. We had some pictures of the front of the palace.

We visited the rooms that were open to the public. Every room was grand and full of opulance. Below were a couple pictures from the Queen’s Apartments.

The Queen’s Guard room
Queen’s Bedchamber

The King’s State Apartments’ layout was identical to the Queen’s State Apartments. One of his rooms was the Salon of Diana was named after Diana the goddess of the hunt.

The beautiful ceiling in the Salon of Diana

Also in the Salon of Diana was a marble bust of Louis XIV.

Bust of Louis XIV

There also was a full-sized model of King Louis XIV that was sculpted in the 17th century.

King Louis XIV

The Mars Room was used as a guard room.

The Mercury Room was the Royal bedchamber.

Royal Bedchamber

Also in this room was a clock from 1706 that you can see its mechanism and it was decorated with a miniature figure of Louis XIV crowned by victory.

Clock given to Louis XIV by its maker, Antoine Morand

The pictures below show the organ of the Royal Chapel that sat above the altar and also the 2-story entrance doors!

One of our favorite rooms was the Hall of Mirrors. The mirror makers were from Venice, Italy. Construction began in 1678 and the hall had 357 mirrors!

Walking into the Hall of Mirrors

The Treaty of Versailles was signed in the Hall of Mirrors. This peace treaty brought an end to WWI.

As we were walking in the palace we took this picture looking out at the gardens!

We spent time walking around the gardens and fountains. Unfortunately the water for the fountains was already turned off for the season.

The back of the Palace.

It gardens were beautiful even if it was late in the season. Click through the slide show to view the various gardens, fountains (with no water), and statues.

When we finished with the grounds of the palace we walked over to the town of Versailles to find a restaurant for lunch.

The Crêperie La Place was close by and offered gluten free crepes. We sat outdoors and enjoyed the sunny day and had a delicious lunch!

Our next stop was the city of Reims. Before going to our hotel we stopped and visited the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims or also called the Reims Cathedral.

The cathedral was a wonderful example of Gothic art and in 1991 was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The West facade had two twin towers and a rose window. The stain glass windows were beautiful.

There were 2300 statues inside and out. It was the only cathedral to display angels with open wings. One famous statue was the “smiling angel” near the entrance.

Reims Cathedral was where kings of France were crowned. It hosted over 30 sovereign coronations. Reims became known as the “City of Kings”!

A statue of Joan of Arc was at the Cathedral’s forecourt. During the 100 year war Joan was beside the crowning of King Charles VII at Reims.

Joan of Arc Statue

The interior stained-glass windows were throughout the church.

After our visit to the cathedral we checked into our hotel.

This evening we walked into town for dinner. It was a nice evening for a walk and a chance to see the city after dark.

Our favorite picture was the Reims Cathedral at night!

Reims Cathedral

We found a small restaurant and we had excellent service and our meals were delicious! It was another day of exploring another area of France.

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