Travel Diary: Paris

As a historian, I have never been interested in French history.  Part of reason is that the French seem to have been rather inept at managing their affairs in the 18th, 19th, and into the 20th century.  As I read Miss Mary’s diary, I have to remind myself that while she was 100 years from the French Revolution (and as with many people to this day, enamored of the “romance” of Marie Antoinette), she was a mere 18 years from the 1871 Paris Commune.  When she visited the ruins of the Château de Saint-Cloud, she was looking at recent history, events that occurred around the time she was born.  

Wednesday June 19

Staid at in the house in the morning and went to the market with Madameselle.  It was very funny to see how the French motion when they talk.  In aft. went to St. Cloud and saw the ruined castle.

Chateau de Saint-Cloud, after 1870. Photographer Charles Soulier, from the Conway Collection, Cortauld Institute of Art.

The grounds are perfectly beautiful and it is the loveliest place I have seen in France.  The fountains must be beautiful when they playing.  The grounds are all woods with pretty paths out through.  This is where Napolian likes to stay.  In the evening we went to the opera and saw Romeo and Juliet.  It was splendid and I never saw a lovelier woman than Juliet.  Romeo was handsome too.  I don’t like the play very well because it is too sad at the end.

June 20 Thursday

Went to Versailles this morning.  Drove to the palace and went through it.  Saw the rooms of Marie Antoinette and rooms of Louis the Thirteenth and the room the dolphin was sleeping in when the mob came and the staircase down which Marie escaped from the mob, also where she came out on the balcony with the dolphin.  We saw the largest oiling painting in the world and a painting 71 feet long and 16 feet high and so many other things that I can’t remember them.

Capture of the Smala of Abd-El-Kader, painted in 1844 by Horace Vernet (1789-1863).

Then we drove to Great Trignion and went through it and saw Marie Antoinette’s bed with a bed spread embroidered by the Ladies of Lyons and given to her for a wedding present.  Then we went to a place where they keep old state carriages and saw the longest carriage which Napolian had to take his boy to be christened in, Marie Antoinette’s sleigh and Madame De Barry sleigh that she rode in when she had the sugar and salt put down the snow, and many others.  Then we drove to Little Trignion and to Marie Antoinette’s dairy and saw where she made butter.  The grounds are very pretty.

Hameau de la Reine: Chateau de Versailles, 2011. Photographer: Jean-Christophe Benoist. Wikimedia Commons

June 21 Friday

I stayed at home today and rested.  I was very tired when I got home from Versailles yesterday.  Wrote a letter to Agnes and took a walk.

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