Arrival and Versailles

Upon landing in Paris, I was immediately whisked away to moonlit Avenue des Champs-Élysées by my Parisian host.  Coming from Tbilisi rather than New York, I was shocked by the grandeur, the wealth, the diversity, and the sheer number of people packing the sidewalks.  It was dazzling.

We chose a random restaurant with outdoor seating and ordered an icy-cold bottle of rosé.  Thus began a week of culinary indulgence.  Sadly, I didn’t take any food photos, because I tend to consider myself too cool for such things (in public, anyway), but the memories of those meals shall live on for many months… in my mind and on my hips.

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I spent my first full day in Versailles, exploring the palace and gardens.  I drank fresh-squeezed orange juice and ate a sandwich lying on the grass by a pond, watching the rowboats lazily pass by (and occasionally bump into one another).  There’s not much I can say about Versailles that hasn’t been said.  It’s bigger than I expected, and extravagantly beautiful.  Extravagant enough for beheading?  Possibly.

One of the unexpected highlights was finding the strange and beautiful artwork of Giuseppe Penone featured in the gardens.  Most of his work is made from trees that he alters in some way, either with gilding or carvings or precariously placed boulders.  I don’t know much about art, but I’ve always liked structures that seem to defy physics, that appear to be unstable.  I am moved by art that makes me slightly uncomfortable.

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24 comments

  1. Jen

    I am in love with your photos, Meghan! Artistically taken! This makes me want to add Versailles to my bucket list =)

  2. More photos of food, less of Versailles! The only thing worse than Rococo is the swarm of tourists trying to take photos of everything! I spent 3 days in Paris and it felt like Disneyland. Try visiting Chartres, just outside the city, and you can see the amazing cathedral there without being crushed by other tourists.

    • Apologies for disappointing you, Nathan! 😉 I was also bombarded by swarms of tourists in Versailles, but not so much elsewhere in Paris. I think I stumbled upon a perfect summer window when many Parisians were on vacation.

      Truth be told, there was also a personal reason for my visit to Paris, so I was less attached to my camera than I normally am. 😉

  3. I’m never too cool for food photos 🙂

    Great images and wonderful to see the modern art in Versaille, is that a new thing or something they only do in summer? The whole place epitomises extravagance, you’ve captured some wonderful detail in your shots and I always love seeing images of the garden during different seasons (we were there early spring 2011). Can’t wait to return to Paris!

    • My too-cool comments were really an admittance of my uncoolness, because I really wish I could take better food photos!

      I’m not sure how often they do these modern art exhibitions, but I was so glad to find this one. I think without a bit of novelty, Versailles would be boring. Not that it isn’t beautiful… but that kind of beauty can be dull because it’s so predictable. These art installations were unexpected and really livened things up.

      Hope you get to visit again soon!

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