Sunday, February 24, 2013

Price-less: The Lambinet Museum on a wintry Sunday afternoon

It's really hard to believe that there are other museums in Versailles - that is, other than the Château(and, in a broader sense, that there is any life out there other than the Château...) - but there ARE!!! I mean, there is, because there's only one: the Musée Lambinet, the city museum. Quite neglected by tourists (just like almost all the rest of the city - thing that started to become a bit of a problem for officials lately, btw, and for easy-to-understand reasons...) this 18th century building turned into museum is a small jewel well worth the detour off Versailles' one and only beaten path.

The museum proudly presents artifacts tracing the history of Versailles after it became the city of kings and, even if it's a relatively young city (the first citation of its name in an official document was in 1038, something about a guy named "Hugo de Versaliis"), Versailles was nonetheless the theatre of big historical decisions and dramatic situation reversals deserving a museum in its own right. You already know from my previous posts how the people of Versailles are perfect, so, logically, they made a city history museum and this is the Musée Lambinet!

I'm kind of a museum buff, meaning that my perfect job would be to visit museums all around the world, read every single explanation card near every single object exposed and get paid for it. Does anybody know if this job exists? ...Please give me a call... So I'm always in awe when the perspective of visiting a museum arises, and today even more because every last Sunday of the month the access to the Lambinet Museum is free, which means that it qualifies for my "Price-less" award, yay! I told you there were things to do for free in Versailles!

IMO the best part of the museum, complementary to the one with the history of the French Revolution and the must-read text of the Declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen, is the wing where a travel in time operates, back to the 17 hundred and something, in the refurbished apartments of an aristocratic family.

The setting is perfect and this is a clever move, I think, because the realistic frame and the original objects give the public the opportunity to project itself into the lives of those mysterious people from the past. Only inside an apartment set like this you can see the splendor and the wealth of those rich noblemen and take a glimpse at pieces of their lives: where did they eat, where did they sleep, how they amused themselves, etc. And how small they were, height-wise, judging by those little chairs and sofas (keep in mind that the ladies wore those big dresses!).

All in all it's a great museum, perfect to spend some leisurely, I 3-4 hours, you probably 1 or 2, wondering at how many great things happened right here, on the same ground you're standing, sometimes fuller of suspense than your favorite thriller. And afterwards you can even sip a cup of the favorite tea of Marie-Antoinette in the museum café!

Happy (price-less) visit!

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