Adam Soshnick — I’m not going to lie: before my trip to Paris, the Japanese metal band of the same name was the first thing that popped into my head when I thought of Versailles.
Yet after my visit to the magnificent and awe-inspiring grounds, you can rest assured the palace and its surrounding areas will be the only things on my mind.
All throughout this semester, this was the planned visit I was looking forward because of the mystical aura that blew my mind even before setting foot in its gold encrusted and ornately decorated rooms. And though it’s a place full of history, tales, and stories, I can’t help but think why the French keep it around. To me, it isn’t exactly a perfect representation of what it means to be Parisian. The revolts and uprisings that occurred there are surely something the French want shove into the dark gates of oblivion in France’s history.
What it does do well, however, is embody what France once was, a powerful and iron fist-ruling nation that took no prisoners. Aside from various statues, memorials, and even the Louvre, Versailles seems to be the biggest reminder of France clinging to its past.
I hate to say it, but the ship has set sail, and the people need to move on. It’s okay to keep the building around as a tourist attraction and as a distant memory of what the nation once was, but this is modern day, not the 1600s.
My actual visit to the estate brought me to some interesting conclusions. The grounds are far more impressive than the palace itself. Versailles is filled with priceless paintings and artifacts, but the actual land is a creation from a time long ago, one that more than likely won’t and can’t be replicated today. The perfectly trimmed hedges, bronze fountains, and acres of land are something only fit for a king.
It really is a shock the first time you stroll through the gardens and hedge mazes because it makes anything you know at home look tiny in comparison. On top of that, the amount of care needed to maintain the grounds (and palace) is something unfathomable to me.
Versailles certainly delivered, even if I find myself pondering why the French pride themselves on it as much as they do. And like icing on the cake, I managed to listen to Versailles while I was standing inside of Versailles. I don’t think anything else on the trip will top that.