[a179] Versailles — View of the Lagoon

Versailles — View of the Lagoon

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Versailles — This is what happens when somebody has too much money.

Now, don't get me wrong — all that money went right out into the community where it bought bread, cheese, lamb, wine, shoes, and shingles, and sent artisans on vacation to Rome and Vienna.  By "too much money" I mean that eventually you run out of conventional things to do with it so you do weird stuff, like having your ceilings painted with frescoes — of which there is plenty at Versailles.

On the other hand, there's no denying that France has plenty of money and they can't even figure out that they should get a cleaning crew in every month or so to do things like dust, clean the windows, repaint, pave the parking lot, or sweep the courtyard.  Versailles' state of maintenance is (not to put too fine a point on it) atrocious.

Norene and I took a tour of the Queen's chambers.  The tour guide would unlock each room with a big, ornate key to let us in.  As we left each room through another door, an older lady acting as rear-guard would lock the entry-doors behind us.  The French like to keep things closed even if it causes a little chaos.  At the Arc de Triomphe where I took that picture of the Eiffel Tower [a139] there are two staircases, one for 'up', one for 'down', yet when we were ready to leave we discovered that the 'down' staircase was closed.  At some point they stop letting people up and then they only need one staircase, right?  Sounds too reasonable until you realize that it would be far simpler just to close the 'up' staircase.  If you leave at exactly the right time, you must go down the 'up' staircase while people are still trying to use it to go up. 

Norene is standing in front of the Gardens at Versailles.  To give you an idea of the scale, the canal you can see stretching away into the distance is 1/2 mile from end-to-end and it's about a 1/2 mile away.  About halfway down the canal you can see arms branching off to right and left; those are the start of another canal also 1/2 mile from end-to-end; it's a large "+" where you can row to your heart's content as the people on those little dots are doing.  The Gardens are about the size of New York's Central Park. 

Directly above Norene's head running alongside the canal you will see what looks like a neatly manicured tree-height hedge.  [a182] is a close up of a path like that.  Ah!  Now I get it...  they spend all their money on gardeners!