One of the brightest, happiest, most relaxed and surreal-ly enjoyable days we spent in France was at the Versailles Palace.
The weather was absolutely perfect, the palace was beautiful, and I thought, it was almost (almost being the key word) worth the hordes of awful tourists and the hour-long queue to get in.
Okay, so it was ^^
Let the bunnies bring you around our picnic-day !
We came well-prepared for tumultuous weather, and at first, it looked that way, with a slight drizzle and the sun hiding behind the clouds, a bitter wind tugging at our faces. But soon, those clouds (made more dramatic with my camera) became fluffy and blue for the perfect picnic weather.
Our first stop was to the fountains in the middle of the Palace gardens, which seemed to stretch on forever in a beautiful green and blue expanse of manicured lawn and pretty flowers.
We packed a veritable bunny feast –
Fresh, sweet and slightly fuzzy baby apricots, tart but juicy cherries, fauchon snacks (goat cheese crepes and almonds), a crusty baguette with ham and cheese, and the yummiest seafood and crab pasta salad.
Of course, not to forget, a little pot of lobster beurre (butter) to slather on the baguette and a tiny bottle of pink champagne to share. (We actually didn’t get around to opening it because we succumbed to the freshest orange juice later)
All around us were people holding stale looking, overpriced paninis and fizzy, lukewarm sodas as the bunnies gleefully enjoyed their sunny supper.
Then it was time for some exploring !
Bunny L admires, while Bunny A wastes no time in checking the goods.
I’m not sure why – it could have been the combination of gorgeous weather and fully, happy bellies but we started to find every single statue and installation completely hilarious.
Case in point –
Bunny A displaying some true blue Roman Greek God ambition.
I think the expression may be just right – what do you think?
And so we walked, and we walked, taking in the smells of freshly cut, dewy grass and turning our sun starved faces to the pretty, filtered rays coming through the trees.
I absolutely love European styled gardens – makes you feel like taking the elbow of a rather stately and Byronically handsome Englishman with his own seat in the country and walking down the rows and rows of manicured hedges, chatting about the weather but meaning something completely different. I’d be chirpy and idealistic, he’d be dry and witty but very indulgent to my frivolity.
And I’m so channeling Jane Eyre but I’d bet you guys knew already.
We rest our weary feet and take a little break (also giving our trusty Repettos and Tod’s loafers a rest, they must be very tired indeed, carrying two over enthusiastic and skipping bunnies around)…
and make daisy chains !
I was already wearing some pale purple roses on my own head so the daisy chain was for Bunny A, who was relentlessly ordered around to procure the prettiest and most delicate stemmed daisies – Bunny L never stinges on quality for time okay !
Another thing I missed about Europe – how soft and fluffy and pillowy their grass is – not to mention insect free. I could just lie down on a thin picnic blanket and stare into that pale blue expanse forever like Ophelia (without the drowning)
We did some more fooling around at a little copse away from the bustling crowd –
And it was time to pay Queen Marie a little visit at her palace quarters.
I love her fashion, her passion for pretty pink roses, her hairstyles, so I tend to try to focus on that when I’m admiring Marie Antoinette – and not the gruesome part where she gets beheaded at the Bastille on the guillotine to an ugly crowd angry with her for declaring “Let Them Eat Cake”
A little bunny history lesson…
Marie Antoinette was an Austrian princess who never believed she would one day be the Queen of all France. She was the youngest daughter of the ruling family in Austria when she found out that she had been betrothed to King Louis, or Le Dauphin.
It was an unhappy marriage between two youths barely out of their childhood and she had two children. Lonely and unable to adapt to living in Paris, she ordered (a bit extravagantly), for her own quarters to be built out in Versailles where she could raise her son and daughter in oblivion to the French Revolution and unhappy peasants.
Although there is no hard evidence to prove it, apparently, when told that the French people were starving and had no bread, Marie-Antoinette, allegedly so cushioned by luxury and utterly unaware of the real world, asked that they be given brioche as a temporary food, which, made with eggs and butter, was actually a cut above ordinary bread, instead.
The famous phrase being
“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”
So yes, I maintain that she was probably a bit frivolous, uninterested in politics, and more into her pretty roses and dresses instead. I can’t say I blame her to be honest.^^
Inside her quarters, which were surprisingly humble compared to most of the other European palaces I’ve seen. It appears that we share the same penchant for floral embroidery and prints, gold touches, and fresh, luscious pink blooms.
Her gardens were what really amazed me.
Roses, roses, some so full and pretty they looked more like peonies. I was completely captivated – and I don’t think anyone who had such a love for nature and beauty could have been a cruel person. Towards the end, she lost her husband, and her two children were taken away from her but her last words were still to tell her son never to avenge her death.
One of her most memorable quotes, from shortly before her execution –
I have seen all, I have heard all, I have forgotten all.
We later took a very rushed tour of the Versailles Palace proper, which was truly opulent with its oversized, drooping chandeliers, rich, luxurious damask and velvet upholstery – just breath taking.
Awed and truly educated, the bunnies headed home on the train that night, falling asleep on each others’ shoulders and exhausted from such a beautiful day, dreaming of princesses and royalty and sweet treats and sunshine.