Sunday, September 16, 2012

Versailles' hidden treasures

Once a year Versailles organizes, along with the rest of France and some other cities in Europe, the European Heritage Days, the only time a year when public or private institutions, usually not accessible to the general public, open their doors to visitors. Crowds of French proud citizens, regardless of age, rank, or situation in life, sprint all day long to see the mayor's office, the National union of historic military vehicles collectors, or places where historical events took place.
And historical events there were in Versailles: wars, peace treaties, revolutions, treasons, utopias, ideals, kings and queens, simple people and rulers, megalomania and humility, all mixed together in a vibrant story, better than any fiction adventure book you'll ever read. The guides that animated the visits were so passionate and knowledgeable (in French only, sorry!) that it crossed my mind several times to ask if they would adopt me so I can have their storytelling every night before bed...
I obviously thought of you all, while I strolled on the streets of Versailles these two days, grateful of the privilege of being able to live on the very place where so much of French history took place, and brought you some pictures of hidden parts of my all-time Versailles favorite building, the Versailles Prefecture.
Pictures after the jump...
The main building of the Prefecture is located on the Avenue de Paris, just in front of the City Hall and it has as its special guest the monsieur le préfet, mainly in charge with implementing locally the government politics, distributing the public money, guaranteeing the security and the respect of democratic freedoms, taking care of the economic development and environmental impact.  With the castle on its right and the City Hall across the street, the Prefecture forms a symbolic power triangle of Versailles, the past and the present connecting together.
Here's how the Prefecture looks like from the street, the visible side:
And the other side of the moon:

The garden, à l'anglaise (English style), how chic!
The office of monsieur the prefect (to see how busy the man is!):
Time travel:


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