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Visiting Versailles can seem daunting because of its size and hordes of visitors. This ultimate royal palace is all about this man: the ultimate divine monarch, Louis XIV. And finally there's the more sober post-Revolutionary Neoclassical. Chartres is most famous for its stained glass and statues. Rick: And I would imagine a chef would not want to serve you well-cooked meat. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Paris' booming elite class made this area Europe's château heartland. Smart travelers avoid weekends, come late in the day, and use a museum pass to skip the ticket line. I’m kicking off a busy stretch researching and updating my Rick Steves Paris guidebook with my co-author (and my guru for all things France) Steve Smith.. Each day, Steve and I “divide and conquer” — splitting up a list of places to visit and things to check for our guidebook. To skip the ticket-buying line, buy tickets or passes in advance, or book a guided tour. Versailles may be most travelers' first choice for its sheer historic importance, but Vaux-le-Vicomte is just flat-out ravishing, offering visitors a harmony of architecture, interior decor, and garden design that you won't find anywhere else. I see it as the growing pains of democracy. Next come the expansive Gardens behind the palace, a landscaped wonderland dotted with statues and fountains. Portugal While the fountains ran for Louis whenever he liked, they run for tourists only on weekends. Around the year 1700, Versailles was the cultural heartbeat of Europe, and French culture was at its zenith. It seems every king, queen, and emperor since has loved this place, most notably Napoleon Bonaparte. And it's crowded to this day. Whether or not you are a fan of Rick Steves, he now has a series of videos on Youtube for travel to various locations as well as one on packing lights. European Travel Skills Gothic architects create a skeleton of support with columns, pointed arches, and buttresses so that the walls no longer need to support the heavy stone ceiling, but are freed up to hold windows. Down a dreamy tree-lined road, there's another palace which was actually the inspiration of Versailles. Terms of Service | Privacy. A few minutes from Amboise, the 14 rooms in the château aren't big or luxurious, but they come with character and wads of history — and with tubs in most bathrooms. Then, angels gently whisk her upward, so she can sit on the throne with Jesus in paradise, where she's flanked by angels and crowned Queen of Heaven. The emerging horses give the impression of the sun rising out of the mists of dawn. I'm Rick Steves. The Revolution rocked the realities of châteaux both big and small. Scotland Louis invited the nobility to Versailles in order to control or "domesticate" them. This is an excerpt from the full-color coffee-table book Europe’s Top 100 Masterpieces by Rick Steves and Gene Openshaw. You could get lost exploring it — golf carts and rental bikes make that a fun option — or just enjoy a lazy paddle on the Grand Canal. The "domesticated" aristocracy lived a life of almost enforced idleness. Chartres is an easy day trip from Paris. Château de Pray allows you to sleep in a 770-year-old fortified castle with hints of its medieval origins. To turn his Corsican blood blue, he married a Habsburg. Rick Steves YouTube Channel Hits 1,000,000 Subscribers! Napoleon's throne room is the only French throne room that survives with its original furniture. Louis summed it up best himself with his famous rhyme, "L'état, c'est moi! We explore Versailles, Europe's palace of palaces; exquisite Vaux-le-Vicomte; and extravagant Fontainebleau, home to centuries of French rulers. The Apollo Basin shows the Sun God, a.k.a. Louis was a hands-on king. Rick Steves Pocket Paris works best for people taking a short trip, or perhaps a return trip, to Paris. It seems every king, queen, and emperor since has loved this palace. This was the home of Nicolas Fouquet, France's finance minister during that over-the-top reign of Louis XIV in the 17th century. Louis was a true Renaissance man, a century after the Renaissance: an accomplished musician, dancer, horseman, statesman, art-lover, lover. In the late 1600s, Louis XIV — shown here with his capable hand literally on the rudder of state — was creating the first modern, centralized government. Rick: That's right. One of the most fascinating is Fontainebleau. Bedtime, wakeup, meals — it was all public ritual. We have lots of exciting new videos on the way (like TV specials on Egypt and the Alps). Versailles was laid out along an eight-mile axis. The War Room reminds us that Louis had Europe's leading army, and his reign came with lots of expensive wars. It's like a picture book of the entire Christian story, told through its art. Of course, there was no democracy: just one king and his ministers — people like Nicolas Fouquet — who ran the show. France The palace is richly decorated in royal and imperial symbolism, and its walls are hung with exquisite tapestries. Easy-to-Use Size: Each map folds down to a handy 8½" x 4". It's a respect for people's privacy. This is where the queen tended her perfumed sheep and her manicured gardens…until that day the Revolution arrived, and her hungry peasantry stormed the palace, marched her and the king back into Paris, and eventually cut off their heads. Rick Steves, America's leading authority on European travel, returns to transport viewers to the continent's bustling cities, quaint villages and picturesque countryside. Throughout Europe, when you said "the king," you were referring to the French king — Louis XIV. Perhaps it has something to do with their heritage of overcoming abuse of power to earn their freedom. With an unrivaled harmony of architecture, interior decor, and garden design, it gets my vote for the most beautiful château in all of France. Scandinavia Versailles is packed May–Sept 10:00–13:00, so come early or late. While home to many kings though the ages, today, with its iconic and sweeping staircase, it's the domain of tourists. So, she built this rustic fantasy. Rick Steves Pocket Paris works best for people taking a short trip, or perhaps a return trip, to Paris. My friend and co-author of our guidebook to France, Steve Smith, is joining us, as he so often does, just in time for dinner — and we're eating like kings. Most of these luxurious getaways began small — as hunting lodges — and then grew. It was rebuilt so quickly and lavishly that it has a much-appreciated unity of architecture, statuary, and stained glass. Rick: It's just magic. When you understand the themes of the palace's many rooms, a stroll through Versailles is a stroll through French history. Where are we going here? My buddy Rick Steves offers up some of his informative PBS shows on YouTube, and one of them is his 24-minute episode “Paris: Regal and Intimate.” As Rick writes “In Paris, amidst all of its grandeur, the little joys of life are still embraced. In this episode we indulge in the world of the royal, noble, and aristocratic extravagance that characterized so much of French history. These suggested itineraries from my Paris guidebook will help you prioritize the many sights, whether you're spending one day, two days, three days, or up to a week in Paris. A newer annex offers four contemporary rooms (sleeping up to three each), with lofts, terraces, and views of the castle. Rick: A lot of Americans are a little nervous about the meat being rare when you order in a nice restaurant in Paris. In "The Book of Chartres" — as some nickname the church — the text is the sculpture and windows, and its binding is the architecture. This is the ravishing Vaux-le-Vicomte. Finally, at the far end of the Gardens, is the pastoral area called the Trianon Palaces and Domaine de Marie-Antoinette (a.k.a. Here you walk through dozens of lavish, chandeliered rooms once inhabited by Louis XIV and his successors. The nave is vast — over 400 feet long, and the widest in France. While today's crowds are tourists, 300 years ago, this courtyard was a very different scene. The dining room is splendid and a relaxing place to splurge…and feel good about it (reservations required). While Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles are French-designed, Fontainebleau was built a century earlier by an Italian hired by François I, inspired by his travels through Renaissance Italy. It's sort of earthy — it takes you to the farm, kind of. You'll see where the emperor slept, the oversize desk where he worked, and the little table where he abdicated. And, deep in the garden, you find this bizarre sight: Marie-Antoinette's little peasant hamlet. Daily Dose of Europe: Paris’ Sainte-Chapelle Notre-Dame has been on everyone’s mind over the last year. My seafood is from Brittany, I think. Compared to Versailles, it's more intimate, and comes with a fraction of the crowds. At the end of his long reign, Louis, having exhausted France with his many wars, gave this advice to his great-grandson, the next Louis: "Be a peaceful king.". Steve: I understand, but the rarer it is — within reason — the more the flavor comes out. She longed for the simple life of a peasant — not the hard labor of real peasants, who sweated and starved all around her — but a fairytale world of simple country pleasures. It’s a world of travel fun with 1,800 Rick Steves videos in handy playlists. Travel with a Mobile Device That was the hunting lodge where little Louis spent his happiest boyhood years. It's duck for me, and for Steve, the lamb, each served with delicate French sauces. The earlier church burned in 1194. Ninety-nine out of 100 of your dinners, you'll forget; you won't forget this one. And with the setting summer sun the grounds are a delight. The opulent ballroom, which hosted many royal parties, is Baroque. see our FAQ. See the Travel Details above for recommendations highlighted in bold, excerpted from Rick's guidebooks. By the end he was tired of fighting. The royal bedroom faced the rising sun. The palace hosted nobles — thousands of nobles, each with an entourage. Get inspired with Rick Steves’ recommended places to go and things to do, with tips, photos, videos, and travel information on Paris. Here's the info: A couple of weeks ago we tried something for the first time – live streaming a full day of free travel classes to our friends on Facebook. Rick: France's ruling elite became dangerously out of touch and detached from the grinding reality of its people's daily lives. Rick produces a best-selling guidebook series, a public television series, and a public radio show, and organizes small-group tours that take over 30,000 travelers to Europe annually. The individual figures create a cohesive ensemble, and in this case — in a cathedral dedicated to Notre Dame (or "our lady") — it all leads to Mary. Every place we'll visit is within an hour of the Eiffel Tower. Rick Steves Paris 2017 - Ebook written by Rick Steves, Steve Smith, Gene Openshaw. Mirrors were a great luxury at the time, and this long hall was astounding. This was Louis' ceremonial bedroom. Here we see not the extravagance of rich elites, but the extravagance of medieval piety. It's instructive to ponder these symbols of excess, once so out of reach and today the playground of the public. Download for offline reading, highlight, bookmark or take notes while you read Rick Steves Paris 2017. Imagine servants running around delivering secret messages and roast legs of lamb. When it comes to showing the sweep of French history, this château is unrivaled among French palaces. Napoleon aspired to create his own family dynasty. This is the pre-Revolutionary playground of France's rich and powerful. French was the lingua franca. He was symbolized by Apollo, the Greek god of the sun. And today, many of those that survive make ends meet by renting rooms. For over 800 years the church has attracted travelers and inspired those who visit. Since 1973, Rick Steves has spent about four months a year exploring Europe. Admire the elegance and symmetry of the ensemble. Germany & Austria This time, we're sticking closer to Paris. In France, the region around its capital of Paris is called the Ile de France. Steve: He who comes home with the most money doesn't win. Rick: So, now, you've got seafood, but we're in the middle of France. Paris Travel Guide by Rick Steves For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, see our FAQ . Side-tripping from Paris, we'll visit the palace at Versailles, Chartres Cathedral, and the châteaux of Vaux-le-Vicomte and Fontainebleau. Synopsis From the top of the Eiffel Tower to the ancient catacombs below the city, explore Paris at every level with Rick Steves! The hallway is lined with busts and portraits of the sprawling imperial family Napoleon created — relatives he put on various thrones all across his empire. Louis ruled from 1643 to 1715. United, under a strong king with the continent's biggest population, a booming economy, and a powerful military, France under Louis was Europe's superpower. Pleasure ruled at Versailles. RICK STEVES ’ EUROPE: French Alps And Lyon Stream now or tune in Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020 at 4 p.m. & 10:30 p.m. on KPBS TV Thursday, November 5, 2020 It's fresh as it would be if we were in Brittany. Versailles is the palace other palaces were modeled after, the one many tried to outdo — but none succeeded. Like our other Pocket guides, Pocket Paris is smaller than the complete guidebook and in full color (but still offers our best sightseeing advice and a handful of self-guided city … There is no lounge, but the backyard terrace compensates well when the weather agrees. Iceland A tent-like room is dedicated to Napoleon at war, with his small but iconic battle coat and hat, field-cot, and first-class camp gear. Under gilded candelabra and amid busts of Roman emperors, servants would glide by with silver trays of hors d'oeuvres. Italy Read this book using Google Play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices. Just What You Need: Streetwise City Maps zoom in on what matters in the heart of each city: clearly marked streets, sights and public transportation routes.There is a handy street index as well. Spain Traveling New Hampshire Rick Steves style, we’d miss out on seeing the tower of flame that rose to our fifth story apartment window in Rome when a certain organization set a luxury car on fire. As you stroll, you can enjoy the artistic shift in styles. Join Rick Steves as he cruises the Seine River, visits Napoleon’s tomb, and takes in the Louvre. All this royal, noble, and imperial extravagance, and the resulting political upheaval ,is not necessarily a bad thing. Louis, in his chariot as he starts his daily journey across the sky. Watch Latest: Egypt’s Nile, Alexandria, and Luxor ... rivals Paris — we head for Chamonix, in the shadow of Europe’s tallest peak: Mont Blanc. The Venus Room is a reminder that love ruled at Versailles. Fountains — another great way for a king to illustrate his power over nature — were a huge attraction, a marvel of both art and engineering. Fontainebleau has more Napoleon Bonaparte connections than any other palace, with his personal apartments and an adjacent museum. But with its statues glowing in the setting sun — and with hotels and restaurants much less expensive than those in the capital — Chartres also makes a worthwhile overnight stop. They'd flit from games to parties to amorous rendezvous in their sedan-chair taxis. Paris is magnificent, but it's also super-sized, crowded, and fast-paced. Travel with Rick on this video guide to Paris, France and find out what to do on your next trip. By distracting the nobles with billiards, gambling, and dancing, Louis was free to run the country. The decor of this stately library dates from the 19th century. Dozens of Chartres' most historic buildings are colorfully illuminated at night (May–Sept), adding to the town's after-hours appeal. Wow. Rick produces a public television series (Rick Steves' Europe), a public radio show (Travel with Rick Steves), and an app and podcast (Rick Steves Audio Europe); writes a bestselling series of guidebooks and a nationally syndicated newspaper column; organizes guided tours that take thousands of travelers to Europe … Steve: Paris might as well be on the coast. But if you follow my tips, a trip here during even the busiest times is manageable: Ideally, buy your ticket or pass before arriving at Versailles. Your foie gras is probably from the Dordogne. His mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening. There is stately Renaissance, such as this fine hall, which dates from 1528. The gardens stretch far beyond the palace, but their main axis runs straight through its center. And the royal first course arrives. Right? Highlights of Paris: Eiffel and Monet to Crème Brulée, ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | One more way that Louis proved he was a divine-right ruler was by controlling nature…like a god. The light pouring through these windows was mystical, and encouraged meditation and prayer. But just a short walk away is another … Ireland Though getting to Vaux-le-Vicomte requires more effort, it's an absolute joy to tour. Evocative stairways lead to elegant, if small rooms. A sight, which, for centuries, heartened the weary spirits of approaching pilgrims. Video: Watch Paris Side Trips, an episode of the Rick Steves' Europe TV show. Rick: I like that when you're in a French restaurant, everybody is talking and having a convivial time, but there's a sort of a quietness. We'll take a break from decadence at one of Europe's top Gothic cathedrals, and check out a palace fit for Napoleon. 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