Last weekend, I visited the Palace of Versailles. It is both a strange and familiar place.It has become an unavoidable stage to be dealt with in history lessons of all French pupils and it belongs to our collective psyche. Exalted by the radiant representation given to the Sun King, the kids we had become for a short while pictured Versailles as a kind of magic place. This image crossed the seas and every tourist didn't miss the opportunity to see it when visiting Paris. This is also the reason why it turns a little strange. The Palace in now a museum and museums always have something of a sepulcher. A place transformed for visitors, organized to receive visitors has lost a part of its soul. In Versailles, tourists are more visible than the Palace itself. Success always comes at a price.
So I visited the Palace of Versailles. It was not the first time.
Like all visitors, I meandered through the long queue to get the pricey ticket.
Like all visitors, I sprained my ankle on the coarse pavement.
Like all visitors, I hanged an audioguide around my neck.
Like all visitors, I pressed all the buttons in order to make it work.
Like all visitors, I was eventually able to figure out how it worked, listened to the first numbers, then I forgot that it was around my neck.
Like all visitors, I was bewildered by the Mirrors Gallery and took too many pictures of the gilding.
Like all visitors, I ended up having sore feet, nonetheless willing to walk through the whole garden.
Like all visitors, my shoes were eventually coated with royal white dust.
Like all visitors, I wanted to take a close look at all the fountains, with flowing water and classical music.
Like all visitors, I felt I was strong-willed enough to join the Trianon Palace and visit it.
Like all visitors, I found it a little strange, unconventional but bright.
Like all visitors, my feet left a trail of energy behind me to join my car.
Like all visitors, I found Versailles splendid.
Like all visitors, I'll come back.
Among the dozens of images I shot on that day, this is the only one I wanted to show you. Just perhaps it is not... Like all visitors.
This post is an English adaptation of this blog post I published on my blog in French