While there have been terrorist attacks in Europe over the past week it is interesting how people are just getting on with things. In Paris Police sirens are constantly sounding but people don’t react; there is an armed military presence with soldiers walking around carrying automatic weapons in popular tourist areas such as the Louvre – again the soldiers just wander in the crowds with the people and no-one seems concerned. I suppose you have 2 choices stay indoors and don’t venture out or just get on with life and whatever happens, happens.
So today we decided to have a walk around the outside of the Louvre and the gardens and absorb the grandeur of the area. The weather has started to improve and this morning, in particular was lovely. After exploring the site we wandered down to Notre Dame to take in the vastness of this building.
After doing these things and just some general sight-seeing it was off to see the Palace at Versailles. This was an organised tour that took about 5 hours. The trip to Versailles took around 40 minutes. The tour had 3 Guides with each being responsible for those speaking French, Spanish or English. Our guide was an historian and studied languages. He had a very thick French accent, which meant I did not catch everything he said but I managed to get the overall picture.
I must say while I knew this palace was large nothing really prepared either Norm or I for just how extensive this place is. I couldn’t take enough photos to capture it. With 2,200 rooms and the most magnificently manicured gardens (which are maintained by 50 gardeners – this didn’t seem enough – and 13 engineers to maintain the fountains. A total of around 900 staff are employed to manage the site. The palace was built by Louis XIV using taxpayers money (and note none of the nobility paid any taxes) so the general population were the ones that paid. The need for so many rooms was to accommodate the nobility who formed part of the King’s entourage.
It was an amazing place to see.
Here are some photos from today.
There are a few photos here – at the Louvre, Notre Dame and Versailles. Hope the give a sense of the grandeur (you can pause the slideshow or speed it up – depending on what you want to see or skip over).