Sunday, May 31, 2009


Today we shared Versailles with about a million other people. Versailles was upgraded from a mere royal hunting lodge in 1661 by Louis XIV. Louis LeVau (architect) was responsible for the chateau and Andre LeNotre (landscape architect) was responsible for the gardens. LeBrun, Chief painter to the King was responsible for the interior design. Versailles was created initially in the French Baroque style which was actually a bit more restrained than Italian Baroque. In 1677 Louis XIV transferred both government and court to Versailles. Smart king knew to keep friends close and enemies closer! Court etiquette was rigidly followed and there were parties, events and fireworks to keep everyone entertained. Cuts down on plotting, scheming and overthrowing government!

After Louis XIV died Louis XV continued working on the chateau adding furnishings and buildings making the chateau more sumptuous and more comfortable. Louis XVI came to the throne with his delightful young bride Marie Antoinette and they went about making their own changes and additions to the Chateau. The parties continued and the royals distanced themselves from the court. As the money began to run out, the people became very disatisfied with their King and soon sought to overthrow them and thus the French Revolution began. Let them eat cake, indeed! Silver and gold furnishings were melted down and furniture was auctioned off.

Fortunately for us (and a million or so other people) it was decided that Versailles should be preserved and maintained at the expense of the Republic of France. It wasn't until the reign of Louis-Philippe, however, that Versailles was dedicated as a museum to display to the world the glory of France!

Later in the evening Mick accompanied our scholars back to the Pompidou Center to see the temporary shows dedicated to Alexander Calder (inventor of the Mobile) and Wassily Kandinsky (painter and Bauhaus educator). These were excellent shows with more than 100 works of art for each artist encompassing in each case a lifetime of excellent works. The works for these shows were gathered from museums and private collections from all over Europe and the US. What a treat these shows were!
Top picture - Gardens
2nd pic - Hall of Mirrors
3rd pic - Garden and fountain (from inside)
4th pic - Katie Parker and Kailey Mills, interior design majors soaking it all in!


  1. WOW what a trip
    Really would have liked to see Calder and Kandinsky

  2. I thank you for this site and sharing some of the views of your travels. Random pictures of the students is also assuring for us at home. It is obvious by text and pictures that it is an awesome trip. Have a good trip home and we will see you soon!