Vaux-le-Vicomte: The Model for Versailles

You’ve all probably heard of the Palace of Versailles, built by Louis XIV, used by Marie Antoinette and her husband Louis XVI until their arrest (and eventual beheading) and also occupied by Napoleon I. Well anyway, the gorgeous and elaborate palace was inspired by a much smaller one – Vaux-le-Vicomte, which I had the pleasure of visiting this past weekend.

It was a train and bus ride away and quite far away from the actual city but no matter. Whenever a castle is around, Gemma, Aimi and I are sure to be found there.

Upon arrival there is a horse and stable museum that we explored first. It was quite small but full of wax characters and posing horses. I made a joke to the girls that all of the wax people probably come to life at night; it’s probably true. They were so lifelike. 

 But anyway, our walk through the museum led us out onto the palace grounds and behold! There it was: a mini Versailles!

When we got inside I stopped mid-step in a flurry of excitement at the sign on the front desk.. YOU COULD RENT 17th CENTURY PRINCESS COSTUMES! So immediately I blurted out to the desk lady that I needed a costume and she took me to the back closet to pick out a princess dress. First one I saw I knew I needed it – it was a beige color with purple and pink (what I thought were) flowers. I grabbed it and had her button me up. Gemma and Aimi immediately laughed at me and teased me pointing out that they weren’t in fact flowers, they were roosters. Ugh.. Oh well, I was too thrilled at the fact that I WAS ABOUT TO DANCE THROUGH A CASTLE IN A PRINCESS DRESS. 

         So, that’s what I did, I danced through a castle in a princess dress. Gem and Aimes were such good sports, they took photos of me everywhere and even held my train while I walked up the stairs. They completely indulged me in my princess adventure.

Then came the time for me to take it off. I didn’t like that part. But I had to. So, slowly.. reluctantly.. and wearing an upside down smile.. I did.

After that, the girls and I toured the gardens on.. get this.. a golf cart! So fun! We just rented a golf cart and drove it around for an hour looking at the pretty waterfalls and lovely greenery. 

           It was just overall a spectacular time.. BECAUSE I RAN AROUND A CASTLE IN A REAL PRINCESS DRESS. 

 

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Edith Piaf, Long Lost Professors and Living the French Life

It has occurred to me that I should probably update all of you on what I’ve been up to the past few days – and it’s been a lot. First, let’s start off with the most recent French film I went to (alone again, because that’s my new favorite thing) – “La Tête Haute/Standing Tall.” Centering around a troubled young boy just trying to find his way in the world. He’s abusive and temperamental and a disaster to be around but by the end he’s grown into himself. Full of anger, hatred, compassion, love and a happy ending, it was as uplifting as it was upsetting. Oh, how I love these French cinema experiences that I keep all to myself. Next, I spent my Saturday afternoon exploring the Edith Piaf exhibition. I’ve loved her for years; that dark, smoky voice and soothing lyrics – I’m a sucker for French classics. Immediately upon entrance I was handed an audio guide full of about 50 Edith songs to listen to while walking through the exhibit. With movie clips, vintage mementos and even a live karaoke box inside, I became lost within history. The exhibit even had one of her little black dresses (her signature look) hanging from above in one of the sections. I learned so much about her and her tragic life and I have a newfound respect for the glorious French singer. For those of you not familiar, here is one of her most famous songs, La Vie En Rose:

         Then, I spent all day Sunday running around in a real princess dress at another castle – Vaux-le-Vicomte – but that’s going into a separate post because it was so special to me and deserves more attention than a mention. Then, yesterday two things happened. One, I received my new custom made leather journal cover for my personal journal I’ve been keeping throughout my time here in Paris! I was so delighted when I saw the package sitting in my family’s flat that I literally squealed! It’s so beautiful and personal and everything I wanted. Thank you so much, Megan’s Mark for this wonderful work of art!     And then two, I met up with one of my French professors from university! She and her hilarious other half are in Paris for the week for the beginning of her last study abroad that she’s leading. This wonderful lady is one of the three main reasons I was able to go to France the first time two (!!) years ago and then decided to come back long term. She led my study abroad group back then and it’s only fitting that we met back up at a cafe for drinks while I’m living here.    Finally, last night I spent the evening with some of my favorite people in Paris just lounging along the Canal Saint-Martin having a picnic.       Honestly I couldn’t ask for a more perfect life to live, I thank God every day for my abundant blessings. I’m in awe at every moment of every day of this beautiful life I get to live because of Him.