Versailles Palace, located in the western suburbs of Paris, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in France. Normally, I’m not a fan of such iconic tourism sites, as they’re often overrated and offer little opportunity to truly experience local culture. But in the case of Versailles I made an exception because this lavish palace has figured so prominently in historic events ranging from the popularization of chocolate by Louis XIV; to the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, in which France pledged to help the United States in the Revolutionary War; to the reign of Louis XVI and his bride, Marie Antoinette, which ended badly when Louis was sent to the guillotine during the French Revolution. I particularly wanted to see the Hall of Mirrors, site of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, and the magnificent gardens designed by Louis XIV.
In an effort to avoid the mob that descends upon Versailles Palace every weekend, I opted to visit on a Tuesday. Even so, the crowds were suffocating. Shoulder-to-shoulder, I shuffled from one opulent room to another, stopping whenever the throngs parted enough to capture a decent photo. After what seemed like hours I finally reached the Hall of Mirrors. Though somewhat smaller than I expected, it did not disappoint. Seventeen mirror-clad arches reflected floor-to-ceiling windows on the opposite wall Continue reading