I cannot believe it’s already time for Spring Break! I’m truly trying to savor all the moments, good and bad, this year, but I tell you it’s already flying by! I’ve been trying to decide where we can go for a little family vacation this Spring Break. With my baby boys 5 and 3 this year, I still like to keep it low-key and easy; and focus more on where we all can spend time together instead of ‘the destination’.
That was not the case many years back on what ended up being a life-changing trip for me. My husband and I had just gotten married and he had to visit England to attend his cousin’s wedding. As a treat, he booked us a few days excursion to Paris, which was my first glimpse of this truly magical city.
As we traveled around the city, I was so enchanted by all of the exquisite architecture. I cannot explain it, but there is something in my soul that just loves and connects with architecture, buildings and fabric patterns with history. Just as there are many people who live for newness, innovation, sleeker smoother lines and more functional designs, I come alive in historical cities like Paris. I had been to Europe before this trip, to many parts of Italy and England, but something about Paris just spoke to me.
On this trip we only had a few, maybe two or three days, and I desperately wanted to visit the Palace of Versailles, home of the Bourbon kings, Louis XIV, XV and XVI and the famous (or infamous depending on how you see her) Queen Marie Antoinette. The journey there was a little day trip of about 45 minutes from Paris, and when we arrived I was instantly transported to another place and time.
If you don’t know the history, King Louis XIV and the royalty before him resided at the Louvre. If you’ve been there, you’ll agree with me that it is hard to imagine that it could be someone’s ‘home’. During this time in history, King Louis XIV, known as the Sun King, decided that he wanted to make his mark on the world and create a building that represented the breadth and strength of his kingdom.
I could really go on and on like a history book about this magnificent chateau but rather I will share a few of my favorite highlights from the very charming and most elegant Petite Trianon, a separate estate on the grounds of Versailles.
One of my favorite parts of the palaces was the Petite Trianon, I was astounded at the beauty of the place and hope to go back to experience this again. This part of Versailles was a gift for Marie Antoinette to be used as her private residence to avoid or escape life at court. The grandeur of the main palace is astounding, but the Petite Trianon has a more subtle elegance and you could really envision people living in this smaller, more intimate residence.
The chateau really shows how fashions were changing at that time, moving away from the Rococo style that had been so dominant to a more sober and refined Neoclassical style. It was designed to be the perfect retreat for a royal beauty, reflecting both her love for elegance and her need for privacy. The entire estate was “de par la Reine” meaning that no one was allowed to enter without the Queen’s permission – not even the King!
Words cannot express how many parts of this room I love, love, love. From the gorgeous Versailles patterned wood floors, to the awe-inspiring boiserie, or wood paneling, to the gorgeous collection of French fauteuils and bergères, this room is just exquisite. I can’t believe this room was designed in the eighteenth century, it is so timeless.
Many of the bedrooms were equally as beautiful. There was and is certainly a softer, more feminine feeling to this estate; it retains a sense of grandeur but on a much more human scale.
Again, the woodwork in French estates are always quite marvelous. I always like to see the contrast of light moldings against darker, richer wood floors. It’s just a combination I love. And these fabrics, they look like something we might still design with today. Talk about classic.
Another amazing private room was the Queen’s Chambers. This has to be one of my favorite color palettes. I just love how all the colors flowed so beautifully from one room to the next.
If I get a chance to go back, I will certainly post more photos. I’d love to re-live walking the grounds of this magical estate! As for the main palace, I’ll definitely share some of the highlights of my visit in another post. You may remember I said this was a life-changing trip for me? it was just after this trip that I decided to stop practicing law and pursue my passions in the field of interior design, antiques, furniture, products and paint.
As I get older in life, I hope to embark on another journey that will help me spread my passion for reading with children who do not have the opportunities that I had, and a spiritual path of finding balance between work, family and health.
Be sure to share if you’ve ever traveled to a place that just spoke to your soul!
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