I have a secret: I really, really like going to the Chateau of Versailles. I know it isn’t cool or Parisian to enjoy a place that seems as touristy as Disneyland, but being cool is overrated.
As a self-proclaimed history nerd, Versailles is everything I could ask for. The interior design is exquisite, and each room feels like a time machine, taking me back another century every few paces.
I think of the creation of my own country, the United States, as I pass a painting that depicts the Comte de Rochambeau, Marquis de Lafayette and George Washington as they prepare for the Battle of Yorktown (and I may or may not sing to myself the Hamilton song that corresponds to that event). I imagine Marie Antoinette entertaining her court in her State Apartment rooms. I stare in awe at the luxuries afforded to monarchs during the Ancien Regime and cringe at the social constructs that allowed for such lavishness.
Today, Versailles is nothing like what France’s kings envisioned for it. What was once a place of exclusivity and strict etiquette is now a haven for tourists who bump each other with their selfie sticks. In a sense, its openness makes it more grand and alive. As the cheesy introduction video states, “[Versailles] is a living place.”
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