The buildup to Versailles is extreme. The grandest palace, built specifically to overawe the world (and nobles!) with the magnificence of monarchy. The descriptions in Stephenson's The Baroque Cycle --- a work which forms much of my knowledge of world history, 1660 to 1750 --- made it seem the pinnacle of palace architecture.
The approaching walk does not disappoint. On the weekend, everyone in the area is walking to the palace, which contributes to the general feeling of grand power.
|Approaching Versailles from the front|
|The front parking lot is large. N.B.: most of the castle is not even visible from here.|
|Just a little family chapel.|
|Serious ceiling fresco.|
In addition, most of the frescoes are painted with perspective. The point-of-view of we plebian viewers on the ground is taken into account: the soles of feet, bottoms of carriages, etc. are visible as if to continuously remind us how far below the Sun King we stand.
|The chandeliers and other fixtures aren't unintimidating, either. More gold! More!|
|Our shadows in the evening, rising to meet us.|
This post's theme word is stentorian, "loud and powerful." Versailles makes a stentorian statement about the monarchy; the absence of modern monarchy from France makes a quiet but persistent retort.