Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Saturday, April 28, 2012

One girl's dream

So last weekend, C and I got to do something pretty darn amazing.  We got invited to a private event at the Château de Versailles.  Meaning the Palace and its gardens had been bought out for the night and we had it all to ourselves!  (Well, us and about 100 other people, but hey, normally that number is like 20-30,000, so 100 isn't too bad).  And I have to say, it was probably about one of the coolest things I have ever done. I cannot even describe how amazing it was to be able to wander through those beautiful rooms on our own. To be able to sit there in silence and just appreciate the sheer beauty of it all.  To think about everything that had taken place there and who all had stood in the very same places we were standing. It was just incredible - utterly incredible.

The night started out with us being able to drive right up through the gates.
I was kind of nervous and saying to C - "Are you sure we are supposed to drive right on up in there??" But we did and were able to park right out in front of the château:
And then we got out and looked at this - I told C to pinch me. I mean, how often does one get to see the courtyard this empty?
We were welcomed into the Château and after a short speech, we were sent on our merry way, free to wander through the rooms until the RDV time:
Just look at how empty it is!
Before arriving, I wasn't quite sure how much of the Château would be open, but we seemed to have free reign to visit almost all of the rooms.

And then finally we got to the hall of mirrors. I waited until those few people cleared out and then C & I had it all to ourselves for about five minutes.  It was crazy - almost dream-like to be in such a famous place without no one else around. What I wouldn't have given to be able to swish around that hall in a big ol' Marie-Antoinette dress.
This is also one of my favorite rooms in the whole place - the Coronation room. One whole wall is taken up by "The Coronation of Napoleon" painting, which is 10 meters long and six meters tall (30'x18'). Normally there are crowds of people in front taking pictures, so it was incredible to have a full view of it from all directions: 

 More beauty:
Even though we didn't go outside much because of the weather, it was pretty neat to see the gardens empty, minus a few security guards here and there.
And then we got to the final room, where the reception was being held. I didn't take too many pictures out of respect for the people there, but the food was amazing and the champagne free and unlimited. (Y'all know how much I love me some good champagne).

Then out came the fantastic desserts, one after another, served by men in fancy chef hats:
There was also a table full of fabulous chocolates on sticks. This one was my fave because it had our initials and was filled with my favorite candy - gooey salted-butter caramel. It was like it was made especially for us.
I had a 6am train to catch the next day, so when the bells tolled, it was time for me to head home, taking in one last slightly-buzzed glance at all the glory and splendor that is the Château de Versailles:
 And then it was back out through the gates and into the real world for us:
It was one of those nights that I will never forget. My "old life" has been on my mind a lot as of late as it's been almost exactly four years since I left Bretagne for Paris, so I went to bed that night thinking of just exactly how much things have changed.  I've gone from being on a farm in the middle of nowhere surrounded by cows to private soirées at the Château de Versailles. You can't get much more opposite than that! 

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Blogger chickster said...

What an incredible night! I would happily trade a farmhouse for a night in a castle - so glad you're happy with your "new life".

April 28, 2012 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger melinda said...

woa lady.....fantastic evening.....i am so glad u got some pix of a vacant versailles....last 2 times i was there, it was indeed packed like parents attended some fancy dinner for young lawyers there back in the 70's and my dad still talks about it.....

April 28, 2012 at 1:17 PM  
Blogger gz said...

such a marvelous opportunity to be able to really appreciate the building..and have a special night out too

April 28, 2012 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger purejuice said...


April 29, 2012 at 4:37 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

When I went to Versailles back in 2000, I went in the first week of December during the week and chose to go on the French and Spanish tour rather than the English speaking one and there were only 5 of us and other than that the château was empty. The gardens were pretty boring though.

April 29, 2012 at 7:41 AM  
Blogger kristen said...

stunning!!!! i cant imagine be able to wander the halls with so few people. what a great experience!

April 29, 2012 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Amazing. I wonder what it costs to rent Versailles for a night!

April 29, 2012 at 5:59 PM  
Blogger The Paris Chronicles said...

Oh, man. What a wonderful way to experience the chateau de Versailles. What was the event?

April 30, 2012 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Sara Louise said...

Wow! That must have been such an amazing experience. I never would have wanted to leave.

May 2, 2012 at 6:47 AM  
Blogger corine said...

Wow, magnifique. Tu vis la vie que tu merites desormais, et je suis contente pour toi.

May 6, 2012 at 9:58 PM  
Blogger Katia said...

What tremendous fun!!! You lucky gal!

May 9, 2012 at 10:06 AM  

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