Paris Saturday and Sunday Pt. 3


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Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris
July 10th 2012
Published: July 13th 2012
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Our tour guide at Versailles acted (and sounded) like he was half historian and half curator of the museum.

The pure grandure of Versailles and the fact fact it was open for public spectacle is probably what what contributed most to the French revolution. To say this place is over-the-top is not exageration. It is sparsely furnished now because after the revolution most of it's furnishings were sold. Was is here now either authentic 18th century furniture similar to what would have been found here or actual peices from Versailles that they have been able to buy back when they become available at auction (such as Christies).

One interesting story is of the furniture in Louis' office (I have pictures of his personal desk that was comissioned and made just for that room - it took like 5 years to make). Anyway, all of the furniture in the entire room had been acquired by the Louvre many years before and had been on display there. But in the 70's (I think) the Queen of England was planning a state visit to France and she was going to stay at Versailles. Since they didn't have a desk for her to
ClockClockClock

Made specifically for this room, this clock still keeps tme. Also still tells the date and day of week! Originally the upper globe also depicted the positions of the sun, oon, and planets but that portion no longer works.
use, Versailles asked the Louvre if they could borrow the furniture for that room while the Queen was there. The Louvre said yes, the Queen used the desk, and Versailles has kept it ever since - proving that possesion is nine tenth's of the law! But it's made such "loans" difficult to negotiate with the Louvre ever since. Now they have to trade items to display if they want to show a particular peice.

Sorry this post is out of order but I just realized this blog didn't get posted.


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Versailles MeridianVersailles Meridian
Versailles Meridian

Back in the day when France and England were great competing empires, France and it's territories considered the meridian running through Versailles to be the Prime Meridian, that is, 0 degrees longitude. Which is why to this day maps in Louisiana are usually wrong. The brass line running throughthe palace marks it.
note the 3" thick wallsnote the 3" thick walls
note the 3" thick walls

These were used as corridors for the sevants to always be at their master's beck and call while remaining discretefully out of sight the rest of the time. They also stoked the stoves (heaters) from behind instead of from the front inside the rooms. My guess is that this also led to the old saying that the "walls have ears."
King Louis' XIV deskKing Louis' XIV desk
King Louis' XIV desk

So that the king did not have to put away whatever he happened to be working on whenever he stepped away, this desk had a couple of special features built into it. It had a clever (new at the time) cover that rolled down to secure everything on his desk. This was either the first rolltop desk or one of the first ones ever made. And because of this, the ink wells were in a special removeable compartment that was accessed through a hidden door on the side of the desk that open at the push of a button.
Louis XIV's watchesLouis XIV's watches
Louis XIV's watches

This is NOT a display case but the actuall case he kept them, choosing which one he would use each morning.
Hmmm, what's this?Hmmm, what's this?
Hmmm, what's this?

This is one of 14 barometers and thermometers that Louis kept around the palace. He was an avid hunter, and I guess these help him keep track of when was the best time for the hunt.
Table in Informal Dinning RoomTable in Informal Dinning Room
Table in Informal Dinning Room

This is one solid peice of wood
door latchdoor latch
door latch

I've been fascinated with doors, hinges and latches this trip. Tis is probably the third or fourth picture I've gotten from diffeent places.
corner of Dinning Roomcorner of Dinning Room
corner of Dinning Room

note the short thing that looks like a dressing screen. These were in almost every room, painted or uphosltered to match the room, and they were moved around as people moved around as sort of mini enclosures to blocks drafts and help makr the space that needed to be heated smaller. Also note how the picture frames are built right into the wall.


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