As you might remember, my parents and I spent a couple of days in Paris in February (Paris: Day 1 and Paris: Day 2). A little more than a month later, I'm getting around to posting about my third and final day in Paris.
My parents and I woke up early to beat the crowds at le château de Versailles. This was my first time visiting the famed château in years. I had to have been at least 8 the last time I went. Sabine and I prefer le château de Fontainebleau, which is less-crowded and has more furnishings. I really don't enjoy big, pushy crowds, and is what makes Versailles uncomfortable for me. Regardless, it's still a beautiful example of France's history and symbolic of the Ancien Régime.
This château, built in the classical style beginning in 1632 under the reign of Louis XIII, was constructed in the Parisian suburb of Versailles, which was formerly a countryside village. Louis XIII thought the location would make the château the perfect spot for all of the royal hunts. However, when Louis XIV, the roi-soleil, became king, he expanded the château into a palace. Although the most famous inhabitants are Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, Louis XIV's influence remains.
His most famous contribution would have to be the Galerie des Glaces- or the Hall of Mirrors.
Here's the King's bedchamber:
The Queen's bedchamber:
After Versailles, I was fortunate enough to visit my favorite place in all of Paris...maybe even in all of France! Any guesses as to what that is?
That would be the Palais Garnier (or Opéra Garnier), home of the Opéra National de Paris, the ballet, the orchestra, and formerly the ballet school (which relocated to its own building in Nanterre in 1983).
The Opéra was one of Napoléon III's contributions to France. Architect Charles Garnier designed it, and it was completed in 1875.
Dancing for the ballet de l'Opéra National de Paris is my dream and has been since I was a little girl. It's a dream that, with hard work, I hope that I can someday fulfill. Auditioning for the company if you didn't attend their ballet school isn't easy, and being chosen is a 1 in a million thing. I hope I can be that one in a million. Ophélie Ducatel, an acquaintance of Sandrine's in a weird way that I don't quite understand, attended the Paris Opera Ballet School. She began dancing for the company last year when, thanks to the concours annuel (the school's internal competition to dance for the company), she was chosen to become apart of the quadrilles. It is the Paris Opera Ballet's lowest ranking and corps du ballet. However, with the talent that Ophélie has, she will surely be promoted and climb the ranks in no time. She's 17 years old and already dances professionally. It's something I dream of. If Ludmila Pagliero can become one of the company's étoiles without having attended the Paris Opera Ballet School, so can I. I believe in myself and all of my hard work.
Here are some of the gorgeous displays in the gift shop window:
I decided to pose under one of the beautiful arches.
Of course, I got an obligatory photo by the grand staircase!
The grand foyer is equally as beautiful:
Just look at the paintings on the ceiling of one of the wings:
Here's the library:
We were allowed to enter one of these doors, and guess what?
Although the balcony was covered with a velvet tent, I was able to take a peek of the stage thanks to a plastic window. The dancers were rehearsing, and I stayed and watched for a good half hour...before my parents dragged me out, that is. I have seen plenty of ballets here, but I just can't get enough...even if it is just a rehearsal. I snuck a quick cell phone pic of the theater for you guys. Sabine is definitely rubbing off on me because this is nothing I'd normally do. I'm not really a rule-breaker.
After that, we decided to walk across the street and do some much-needed shopping. My parents took some quick photos of me in Galeries Lafayette, one of Paris's famed grand department stores. Isn't the dome lovely?
On our way to the Musée d'Orsay, I had my parents take a photo of me by the Louvre's pyramids. Sadly, I don't have any photos from the d'Orsay because our phones died and the memory card in the camera was full. However, it is great museum worth checking out. It is an old train station that now houses impressionist paintings.
Alors, that concludes my trip to Paris. I hope you enjoyed the photos, and thanks for letting me share them with you. Have you ever been to Paris? If not, do you plan on going? What is your favorite Parisian landmark?