We spent last two days in city of Paris. Today we will go outside of Paris and walk around suburbs.
First stop, we will visit Palace of Versailles, one of five largest palaces in the world.
The Palace of Versailles is a French-style palace, and there is an aura of wealth everywhere. The palace is magnificent and luxurious everywhere. When we went inside, we saw exquisite carvings, huge oil paintings and magnificent tapestries everywhere. Each piece of furniture is a beautiful work of art.
There are many precious works of art in palace. We mentioned yesterday that Louvre has over 400,000 treasures, some of which was moved from Palace of Versailles.
At first it was just a forest and a wasteland. The second king of France, Louis XIII, built a two-story building here, which became a palace for royal family when they went hunting. However, this place is still very ordinary, far from grandeur it is now.
How did Palace of Versailles become a representative of luxurious French palaces?
It all starts with Emperor Louis XIV, son of Louis XIII.
This Louis XIV is quite interesting.
Despite fact that he is an emperor, he loves to dance, has personally participated in more than 20 ballets, and is also main character. A master who obviously can be proud of world by relying on his lineage, yet still relies on his talent to compete with others for food.
Louis XIV was not tall,so he added a heel to back of his shoes to show his superiority. However, because of this, fashion for wearing high-heeled shoes exploded in world, saying that modern women who love beauty should also thank creator of high-heeled shoes, Louis XIV.
Louis XIV ascended throne at age of 5, younger than Kangxi in our country when he ascended throne. And he lived a long life, lived to be 77 years old and became emperor for 72 years. Louis XIV not only reigned for a long time, but also achieved many achievements, expanding his territory everywhere. At that time, France began to become center of Europe, and hero Louis XIV became ancestor of a glorious dynasty.
Louis XIV was a king who was very fond of luxury, so magnificent construction of Palace of Versailles cost a lot of money and lasted a long time, it took thirty years to complete. Moreover, this is all because Louis XIV hopes to live in this majestic palace during his lifetime, otherwise it will take longer. In such a hurry, Louis XIV was already 72 years old when Versailles was completed.
The completed Versailles took on important task of demonstrating glory of French dynasty. It has 26 palaces, 2300 rooms, 67 staircases and 5210 pieces of furniture. The whole palace is magnificent, and rooms are littered with kingdom's most precious treasures. It seems that only such a palace, which glows all time, is worthy of Sun King Louis XIV.
Unfortunately, during French Revolution, it was looted, many treasures were robbed, and in end it turned into a prison. It took 40 years before Versailles was restored and turned into museum it is today.
Standing here today, we still feel luxury of Palace of Versailles and former grandeur of France.
After experiencing splendor of Palace of Versailles, next place we head to is Mont Saint-Michel, where we can experience supernatural craftsmanship of nature and solemnity and holiness of religious shrines.
When we arrived at Mont Saint-Michel, we saw a medieval castle with a Catholic church built on highest point and a gothic spire reaching into sky. Surrounded by endless beaches. A golden spire emerges from sea. This is our first impression of Mont Saint Michel.
For most students, Mont Saint-Michel may be an unfamiliar name and much less popular than Notre Dame Cathedral and Eiffel Tower. However, this small island is known as "Wonder of Western World" and is listed as a UN Cultural Heritage Site. There is a saying among Western travelers: you haven't been to France if you haven't been to Mont Saint-Michel.
Even great writer Victor Hugo once said that Mont Saint-Michel is as important to France as Great Pyramid is to Egypt. French President Mitterrand once compared Mont Saint-Michel to "French Mount Tay".
Although Mont Saint-Michel does not have splendor of Palace of Versailles, magnificence of Eiffel Tower, colorfulness of Louvre and bustle of Champs Elysees, up to 350 people come here every year. visit and watch Ten Thousand Tide.
What is special about this mountain?
First of all, this is connected with religion. This is third holy site of Catholicism after Jerusalem and Vatican. We may not hear much about Catholicism, but Christianity is not alien to you. This Catholicism is a branch of Christianity. In West, Christianity is very popular and influential.
Once a place is associated with "Holy Land", regardless of scenery, many believers will rush there. In addition, landscapes of Mont Saint-Michel are unique and beautiful.
Why was church built on Mont Saint-Michel? There is another legend here, and I will tell you about it.
It is said to be related to dream of a cardinal of that time. Cardinals are highest-ranking godfathers in church and are called "cardinals" because of their bright red attire.
The Cardinal had a dream in which an angel beckoned him to build a church. The cardinal didn't care, it was just a dream after all. However, a few days later he had same dream again, with angel still flicking his forehead.
When he woke up and looked in mirror, he had a hole in his forehead, which shocked cardinal. Therefore, he built such a church on Mont Saint-Michel. Because of this allusion, it has become a place of pilgrimage.
Of course, it was inevitably destroyed during France's many wars. After outbreak of French Revolution, it became a prison and was known as Naval Bastille. However, today it is one of most recognizable landmarks in France.
Luxury and grandeur, a palace and a church, two seemingly unrelated nouns and two buildings, but together they paint glory of France in past. Since then, when we evaluate France, we have more adjectives than romantic ones.