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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Night Visit to Versailles

We took the 45-minute train ride from Paris to Versailles when friends Chi and Ryan came to town.   We arrived around 7 PM and took a brief tour with traditional music and costume dancing.  The tour started with a guy in a powdered wig and an embroidered silk costume speaking only in French.  He brought the very large group into a huge insanely ornate room, and started demonstrating the male and female bows appropriate when encountering French royalty.  He only spoke in French, but you could get the gist of it by watching him.  Before I caught on, I made a fool of myself doing the ladies bow, only to realize that the men's bow was next.  So, I did that one too.  Anyway, the thing is, I totally recognized these bows, probably from movies, and also realized they're completely different from the bows for British royalty.  I guess I always lumped all bowing together.

The traditional dancers used the Hall of Mirrors, which is about 200 feet long, with 60 chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling mullioned windows looking out over the miles of manicured lawns, paths, sculptures and fountains we would walk through later that night.

A couple of shots of the dancers.

By the time we got outside, it was dusk.   

There were statues everywhere. 

After dark, we walked for miles on gravel paths from one fountain to the next.  There were thousands of people 

This fountain terminates the central "boulevard" of the gardens, with the Hall of Mirrors more than half  on the other end, a half mile up the hill.  The scale of these gardens is hard to digest.   

This was the most otherworldly feature of the parks that night.  A circular courtyard surrounded by columns, filled with steam from dry ice, and illuminated with high-speed sweeps of green lasers.  It was fun to watch.  

They capped the night off with a few fireworks.  Here's one of my handheld experimental shots.

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