Today we traveled to Versailles, and I really have no words that will do this place justice. The most beautiful place I’ve ever seen is the bio-bay at Vieques, Puerto Rico, where there are creatures in the water that phosphoresce at night, but the gardens and grounds of Versailles run a close second.
First off, this place is massive. The courtyard is as big as a football field, and we had to queue there to get in – about 6 very long snaking lines filling the courtyard. We got there at 10:30 a.m. and even with that, there had to be nearly a thousand people in line. It only took us about an hour to get in.
Neither Callie nor I are big fans of peeking at portraits of dead folks or checking out their china, so we just walked through the palace to see the “grand apartments” as they’re called. But the Hall of Mirrors was a real treat – majestic and beautiful. Inside the palace it’s a nightmare to get around. So many people and so crowded, and the palace is decorated in what looks like the baroque style to me, so it’s pretty gaudy. Took us about 45 minutes to go through it. Then we had a yummy lunch of brie on baguettes and I indulged in a caramel éclair. Couldn’t help it - it just looked too pretty!
And then a wonderful thing happened. As soon as I left the palace and began wandering the gardens, it almost felt like I had the place to myself. The grounds are just so vast that even with hundreds of people walking them, I could be alone in a patch of garden for a bit. Really lovely. And the gardens are what to go to Versailles for. Andre Le Nôtre designed them for Louis XIV in 1662. The immense size of the palace is impressive, but the gardens are gorgeous as well as vast. Huge avenues lined with trees, striking fountains and statues, and surprisingly peaceful considering all the people. You can also pay to take a tram car to Marie Antoinette’s manor rather than walk there (guess that big old palace wasn’t enough for her), but you should absolutely walk or you’ll miss a lot. It felt like about ¾ mile to me, down a long, gorgeous avenue of trees. Goats and sheep in the meadow. Marie’s place felt more like a mausoleum than a home – lots of cold marble – but her gardens are also gorgeous.
Then Callie and I walked to Queen’s Hamlet – a little village Marie had built near her manor. Straight out of medieval England, so quaint and pretty I could have sworn they shot THE HOBBIT here.
Today was glorious and I saw so many wonders that just reinforced my faith in God. How can mere man – so flawed and fallible – create such beauty if not for the existence of a Maker ever more beautiful?
Hope you enjoy the photos!
Love to all…
GUEST WRITER'S BIO
Vicki Speegle is an award-winning screenwriter whose feature script LOVED ONES was in development at Amazon Studios and was a finalist for best screenplay. Her screenplay DEAREST was a finalist for the 2011 Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and her television pilot THE WAKES OF WILBUR POE recently placed in the finals of Slamdance.
Vicki grew up the daughter of a gay single mom turned pastor in Akron, Ohio, where she helped take care of her two younger brothers, an experience that provided fodder for a number of short stories and scripts. Her infatuation with storytelling began at the age of five when she sent a love letter to Donny Osmond, and since then she has worked an eclectic mix of jobs to support her writing habit, including 4 years in the U.S. Navy tracking nuclear submarines on a tiny island called Adak, Alaska, assistant to a very eccentric New York City artist, and a brief bout as the world’s worst waitress. Vicki studied music performance and education at Akron University before making the move to New York University, where she earned her BFA in Film & Television Production. During her studies at NYU she interned as assistant to the editor for Ken Burns’ production of THE WEST. She wrote, directed, and produced several shorts, including her thesis film OLDER, which went on to screen at the Tribeca Underground Film Festival and won 2nd place in the Pioneer Theatre Short Film Slam in New York City.
After graduating from NYU, Vicki joined Rigas Entertainment as assistant to the Director of Development, helping in the development of feature films with directors Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) and Maggie Greenwald (SongCatcher). In 2005 Vicki began shooting a documentary about her mother’s struggle to reconcile her faith as a pastor with her advancing Alzheimer’s. The project is currently in post-production and has garnered the support of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). In 2007 Vicki’s screenplay LOVED ONES placed in the top 5 of the Bluecat Screenplay Competition and won Screenplay Live at the Rochester Film Festival. Her works have placed in several other competitions, including Women in Film, Chesterfield, and American Zoetrope. Vicki’s credits include a teen comedy for Applause Films and radio scripts for Wynton Marsalis, Director of Jazz At Lincoln Center.
Vicki lives and works as a writer, filmmaker, and web producer in New Jersey. She is still waiting for Donny’s response.