Camera: Leica Monochrom
Focal Length: 35mm
We spent a very rainy, and wonderful day at Versailles, and ended it with one of the coolest things I’ve ever witnessed. If you get a chance, the Equestrian Academy at Versailles is an amazing experience. There are no photos here of that event, even though I’d love to photograph it. They have a policy that was respected by all attending as having people photograph it would have detracted from the spectacle. More on that later… If you want a taste for what the Equestrian Academy does, check out this video.
There were hoards of people at Versailles. This was a challenge to navigate the main palace and appreciate the place for its scale and spectacle. Though I do imagine this is what it looked like after the French Revolution when the citizens of France were able to see what the Kings of France lived like, minus the ubiquitous cell phones of course.
Every surface at Versailles is covered in detail, paint, or gold. Even the ceilings are covered with amazing art and illustrations. It is gaudy and completely over the top to someone with a more spartan aesthetic. That said, it is a spectacle and worth seeing.
At one point after navigating the most incredibly dense sea of humanity I’ve seen since China, we looked out the windows at the grounds, and… saw hardly anyone. It was probably the incredibly rainy day that was keeping everyone inside, but we made a beeline for the nearest exit, donned our rain-gear and headed out into the gardens where we spent the whole day walking amongst beautifully manicured and detailed fountains, pathways, flowers and trees.
Just like any other place, like my friend Ann says, if you walk 10-15 minutes perpendicular to the crowds the number of people you will see drops logarithmically it seems. There were periods where we saw nobody for long stretches of time, leaving you to fantasize about being swept back in time.
Proper rain gear makes a huge difference in travel and today was no exception. Good shoes, rain jackets, hand knit scarves from my mother, and waterproof/resistant cameras. And wow, did it rain hard, especially after lunch and into the late evening.
Protip: If you are looking for dinner near Versailles, a Moroccan restaurant called Chez Tiouiche is the place to go.