Thursday, 28 June 2018

Travel Beyond the Crypt: The Palace of Versailles

On my third day in Paris, I visited the Palace of Versailles, which is outside of Paris. I've always wanted to visit the palace, since I love Marie Antoinette and the Sofia Coppola film starring Kirsten Dunst. I know the Palace of Versailles is not particularly spooky, but I'm a self-confessed Gothic Princess and I know others will feel the same about themselves so I thought I'd include it anyway. There's something that goes hand in hand with the Gothic lifestyle and the opulence of royalty, wouldn't you agree?

Some points in this article you may like to keep out for is free entry for under 26 year olds and my experience wearing Lolita whilst visiting the Palace of Versailles.

The Palace of Versailles, France in the snow

It snowed the night before and the palace looking amazing in the snow.

An interesting thing to note is that many attractions in France, including the Palace of Versailles actually have free admission to any EU nationals under 26. I was pleasantly surprised to learn the Palace of Versailles also applies so if you're under 26 and live in the EU, don't bother buying a ticket! Just head straight to Entrance A of the palace and present ID showing proof of age. The regular ticket price for the palace is around 18 Euros at the time of writing, and the entire grounds ticket is 20 Euros so it's actually a pretty good saving.

Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles, France

The beautiful Hall of Mirrors, arguably the most famous room in the whole palace. Mirrors were a rare and expensive commodity when the room was constructed in 1678, so the whole room was a show of wealth and power, as if the entire palace wasn't enough haha!

Ceiling artwork in the palace of Versailles, France

The whole palace is absolutely breathtaking, and covered head to toe in beautiful artwork and sculptures by many famous artists. Here is just one of the beautiful pieces of art on one of the ceilings in the palace. I can't remember which, as almost every ceiling is covered in amazing art like this.

I did take a few more photos of the palace rooms, but to be honest, other people and the official photos are better depictions, since some rooms were too large to photograph properly without the shot being full of tourists.

I wore Gothic Lolita whilst I visited the Palace of Versailles, and I know there has been some concern and experiences from other people about wearing Lolita whilst visiting the Palace. Some people have reported being turned away wearing Lolita because the staff think they are in costume, or don't want other tourists to think they are part of the palace/staff members, dressed in period costume or for photo opportunities. I cannot speak for those who wear Sweet or Classic Lolita, as that undoubtedly looks more in-theme with the palace, and could more easily be construed as a period costume, but I didn't experience any discrimination or being turned away whilst in Gothic Lolita. I wore Metamorphose's Secret Laboratory JSK but I did have a coat on over the top because it was cold; however, the silhouette could still easily be seen, and I had to remove my coat whilst going through security and whilst dining. The staff never said anything about my outfit, in fact they complimented it, and although I got some stares, compliments from other tourists and someone ask to take a photo of me, that is nothing out of the ordinary for me any time I am in Lolita so I don't think too much about it. Your experience may be different though, so perhaps take precaution against wearing anything too Rococo or Marie Antoinette inspired.

Snowy trees in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, France

Not too many people were in the grounds, since it was a bit cold, continuously snowing and windy. The grounds looked exceptionally beautiful in the snow. These trees look like the little plastic ones you decorate Christmas cakes with!

Statue at the Palace of Versailles, France

Many of the statues' beauty was enhanced by the snow, such as this one encircling the water feature.

Gardens of the Palace of Versailles, France

The grounds of the palace are insanely, almost incomprehensibly huge and covers much countryside. The Domain of Marie-Antoinette, the little village she had constructed to escape the stifling royal life, is far off to the right and is a 25-30 minute walk. I would've loved to visit it, but it was pretty cold and windy as I mentioned above. I bet the area was pretty much, if not entirely empty though, and would've been a sight to behold.

I would love to visit the palace again when it isn't snowing, and especially make the trip to see the Domain of Marie Antoinette.

It snowed all day whilst I was at Versailles, and it actually messed public transport up a lot trying to get back to Paris. I ended up taking a different route back than intended and unintentionally exploring different parts of Paris than I would've by taking a taxi like I originally desired.

Unknown church in Paris, France

The diversion meant I got to discover this lovely church, however.

Parisian apartments at night whilst snowing, Paris

I also took this interesting photo near the Parisian apartment I stayed in during my stay. I don't know if you know the video game Lara Croft: Angel of Darkness, but a lot of it is set in Paris and has a dark, atmospheric, almost film noir feel to it. It perfectly encapsulated my feeling of Paris whilst I was there, especially at night and even more so when it snowed.


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