Versailles!

We honestly could not have picked a better day to go to Versailles. I think there’s some kind of magical bubble over the entire estate that makes the sky absolutely perfect, because I can’t imagine seeing it any other way.

Versailles is definitely the kind of place you need to experience in person to fully understand. I mean, I’ve generally known of its existence for a long time. I studied it in art history and heard the dimensions and facts regarding its size and grandeur. One of my favorite movies is Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. Despite all that, seeing it in person was crazy. My eyes have never had to absorb so much exorbitance at once. There’s so much gold, so many decorations, paintings, statues, and then the gardens that go on forever. After seeing all that, I understand why there was a Revolution. Also, in the gardens they have surprisingly inexpensive food and I had a really yummy panini.

I took a lot of photos at Versailles. Like, way more than I realized until later when I put them on my computer and had to spend an entire afternoon editing them. So, I think for the most part my photos will speak for themselves. There’s not much else to say, you really have to see it for yourself. And try to go on the most perfect day you can imagine. It will be worth it.

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This installation was right across from where you exit the train station. I was super excited to see it because I’ve always wanted to see one in person! I’m not sure who the artist is though.

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Who knew Descartes was so ugly?!?

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I love the way this restoration work looks. So Klimt!

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Lumiere and Cogsworth?

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Sooo cool to see this painting in person!!

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Marie Antoinette’s bed (!!)

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All the beds have these silly flouffy things on the top.

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The Hall of Mirrors! It was really hard to take photos here without people's heads in them.

The Hall of Mirrors! It was really hard to take photos here without people’s heads in them.Versailles_35 Versailles_37 Versailles_36

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I could not get a good photo of this painting, but those legs are super fabulous in real life.

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This room is right after the Hall of Mirrors and I think they put it there on purpose to cleanse your visual palette. Even if they didn’t it was really beautiful to see something so simple after all that extravagance!

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I would probably look like this if birds pooped in my eye, too.

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Of course Versailles has palm trees.

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This is how perfect it was. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sky like it before.

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Perfection!!

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Coolest gardens ever.

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So there you have it! Versailles is amazing. Just another favorite memory from my time abroad so far!

Day 5: Avignon

The key to our hotel room in Arles!

The key to our hotel room in Arles!

We woke up early to check out of our hotel in Arles and get to Avignon with plenty  time to eat breakfast and explore the Palais de Papes as soon as it opened. We only had until my train left at 1:00 PM, so we picked the Palais as our main focus for the few morning hours we would have in Avignon.

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The Palais was much bigger in person than I thought it would be.

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The building itself is basically a giant, empty stone palace. To make it more of a tourist attraction, they have filled it with screens showing little videos explaining the history of each room and its purpose. All of the rooms with intact frescoes were not allowed to be photographed, so most of the photos I have are of empty stone rooms. Still, it was awesome how much of it was original. Some of the wood beams in the ceilings were still there; that’s wood from the 14th century!

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They also have some artifacts relating to the Palais and events that happened inside of it. I thought this was pretty cool.

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“Skull of a man killed by a crossbow bolt.”

There was also a room that only the popes could access where they kept their money under secret stones in the floor. They are now covered in glass, but there’s an empty space in the side and people have thrown in lots of their own money:

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More of the Palais:

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The kitchen:

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It was really difficult to accurately depict what this is, but in the kitchen they have this giant tower that they would build fires under. It was huge!

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The view out one of the windows:

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There were also some rooms housing sculptures and religious art from the time:

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The next rooms were all being used to house a contemporary art exhibition titles “Les Papesses” featuring work from female artists Camille Claudel, Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, Jana Sterbak, and Berlinde de Bruyckere. The sculptural pieces were beautifully interwoven within the large, stone palace and spread throughout the rest of our tour until the end. There was also a very excellent documentary featuring Louise Bourgeois that we sat and watched for quite a while.

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Berlinde de Bruyckere

Berlinde de Bruyckere

Berlinde de Bruyckere

Berlinde de Bruyckere

Berlinde de Bruyckere

Camile Claudel

Camile Claudel

One of the largest spaces for the exhibition.

One of the largest spaces for the exhibition.

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Berlinde de Bruyckere

Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois

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Kiki Smith

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Unsure…

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After several hours at the Palais, it was time for me to head back to Paris. I had an amazing few days in Provence and I am so glad I had this opportunity! My favorite city by far was Arles. I would love to go back there if I have the chance. I definitely recommend it, though I would like to go back to all the places that I visited!