château de versailles en automne
The phrase "consolidation of wealth" has never been more fitting than in 18th century France, and the Palace of Versailles is perhaps the best example of French monarchic wealth. There really is no describing it - words are too one-dimensional, and photographs cannot capture the immensity and depth of the palace, even in the darkest halls and smallest corners. It is truly one of the most ornate, vast, and breathtaking estates still standing. The palace is so grand that it, along with its most famous inhabitant Marie Antoinette, literally sparked the French Revolution. Since it is fall, the grounds are devoid of the famous blooms and fountains. Instead the statues stand bare and stark in the cold air, looking over disciplined topiaries and still fountains like they have for the past 200 years. I can't help but imagine how many have looked down the length of the gardens toward the horizon, what secret rendezvous have taken place in the topiary mazes, who has been born here and who has died here. I also can't help but wonder why we as a species are so drawn to wealth and power and possession and beauty: human greed, the most innate and unchanging historical truth. And of course, this innate tendency towards beauty is why I am traversing the grounds of Versailles pretending to be a princess who calls this her home.