Scotland Bonjour, I'm Rick Steves, back with more of the Best of Europe. The nave is vast — over 400 feet long, and the widest in France. All this royal, noble, and imperial extravagance, and the resulting political upheaval ,is not necessarily a bad thing. The palace is richly decorated in royal and imperial symbolism, and its walls are hung with exquisite tapestries. And Louis XIV, he had a thousand. 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. 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. His second wife, Empress Marie-Louise, provided what he called "a royal womb.". 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. But we'll cover the châteaux of the Loire in another episode. Thanks for joining us! Versailles offers three blockbuster sights. By distracting the nobles with billiards, gambling, and dancing, Louis was free to run the country. Visiting Versailles can seem daunting because of its size and hordes of visitors. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, While the faithful back then may have been illiterate, understanding the rich symbolism in each of these windows inspired them to live their dark and dreary medieval lives with hope. Download for offline reading, highlight, bookmark or take notes while you read Rick Steves Paris 2017. Mirrors were a great luxury at the time, and this long hall was astounding. Spain A big pool and the restaurant's vegetable garden lie below the château. His mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening. Ireland In this travel class, Rick Steves guidebook co-author Steve Smith suggests strategies for touring Paris — the Louvre, Orsay, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées, Rodin Museum, and Montmartre — plus tips on sleeping, eating, and getting around affordably. It's like a picture book of the entire Christian story, told through its art. 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.". Most of these luxurious getaways began small — as hunting lodges — and then grew. Big City Tough: These accordion-folded, vinyl-laminated maps hold their shape and are nearly indestructible. Steve: Yeah, isn't that great? Iceland When Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles were built, France was slowly heading toward a revolution. Under gilded candelabra and amid busts of Roman emperors, servants would glide by with silver trays of hors d'oeuvres. Thanks for joining us. Château de Pray allows you to sleep in a 770-year-old fortified castle with hints of its medieval origins. It provided an ideal refuge — away from the sniping politics, strict etiquette, and 24/7 scrutiny of official court life. Stained glass was used to help teach Bible stories to the illiterate medieval masses. European Travel Skills We'll marvel at the ultimate divine monarch's palace, with fountains fit for a king. Avoid Sundays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays (in that order), when the place is jammed with a slow shuffle of tourists from open to close. 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. Here we see not the extravagance of rich elites, but the extravagance of medieval piety. Like our other Pocket guides, Pocket Paris is smaller than the complete guidebook (and in full color), but still offers our best sightseeing advice, a handful of self-guided city … Rick Steves is America's most respected authority on European travel. Fontainebleau has more Napoleon Bonaparte connections than any other palace, with his personal apartments and an adjacent museum. His daily life was a series of symbolic rituals. Versailles is the palace other palaces were modeled after, the one many tried to outdo — but none succeeded. Look at that. Admire the elegance and symmetry of the ensemble. The opulent ballroom, which hosted many royal parties, is Baroque. To this day, visitors come to Chartres to see its cathedral, and they find that the city itself is a delight. Versailles celebrated Man, rather than God, by elevating Louis XIV to almost godlike status. And we're starting with Europe's grandest palace. Waiter: For you, sir? With an unrivaled harmony of architecture, interior decor, and garden design, it gets my vote for the most beautiful château in all of France. The delicate Grand Trianon was the king's private residence far from the main palace. A sight, which, for centuries, heartened the weary spirits of approaching pilgrims. Synopsis From the top of the Eiffel Tower to the ancient catacombs below the city, explore Paris at every level with Rick Steves! Photo: Me taking a research break along the Seine, by thetravelphile.com. Arguably Europe's best example of pure Gothic, Chartres Cathedral is one of the most impressive structures in all of Europe. We have lots of exciting new videos on the way (like TV specials on Egypt and the Alps). As you stroll, you can enjoy the artistic shift in styles. Louis was a true Renaissance man, a century after the Renaissance: an accomplished musician, dancer, horseman, statesman, art-lover, lover. This is the pre-Revolutionary playground of France's rich and powerful. 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. Down a dreamy tree-lined road, there's another palace which was actually the inspiration of Versailles. Ultimately, the imbalance reached the point where society burst into revolution. Louis, in his chariot as he starts his daily journey across the sky. The Hall of Mirrors was the highlight of the palace. Compared to Versailles, it's more intimate, and comes with a fraction of the crowds. Daily Dose of Europe: Paris’ Sainte-Chapelle Notre-Dame has been on everyone’s mind over the last year. 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. The main suppers, balls, and receptions were held in this room. Rick Steves, America's leading authority on European travel, returns to transport viewers to the continent's bustling cities, quaint villages and picturesque countryside. It all came together when he hired France's top architect, landscaper, and decorator, a trio known as the "brotherhood of genius." As if to encourage the fun, Venus sends down a canopy of garlands to ensnare mortals in delicious amour. And from the palace, guests would gaze awe-struck at Louis' amazing gardens. In the royal apartments, these ceilings come with the giddy extravagance of Rococo. Louis bestows an olive branch on Europe as his queen cradles their baby twin daughters. After all, until its revolution, its society was the epitome of that Old Regime notion that some are born to rule and the rest of us…well, just deal with it. Here you walk through dozens of lavish, chandeliered rooms once inhabited by Louis XIV and his successors. The decor of this stately library dates from the 19th century. The palace's back yard is huge — and if you turn around, it seems to stretch forever. And finally there's the more sober post-Revolutionary Neoclassical. At Château de Pray we're happy to help out. And it's crowded to this day. While the fountains ran for Louis whenever he liked, they run for tourists only on weekends. Versailles is packed May–Sept 10:00–13:00, so come early or late. French was the lingua franca. Chartres contains the world's largest surviving collection of medieval stained glass, with over 150 early 13th-century windows. 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. Every place we'll visit is within an hour of the Eiffel Tower. This was the home of Nicolas Fouquet, France's finance minister during that over-the-top reign of Louis XIV in the 17th century. It was the center of the palace…and the center of France. The earlier church burned in 1194. Dozens of Chartres' most historic buildings are colorfully illuminated at night (May–Sept), adding to the town's after-hours appeal. Pleasure ruled at Versailles. So, she built this rustic fantasy. Video: Watch Paris Side Trips, an episode of the Rick Steves' Europe TV show. One more way that Louis proved he was a divine-right ruler was by controlling nature…like a god. We'll see what 17th-century financiers did with their mega-riches and then live pretty well ourselves, settling into our own château. Terms of Service | Privacy, Versailles, France: Palace Gardens and Little Hamlet, Versailles, France: Ultimate Royal Palace. We'll also marvel at the glass and statuary of Chartres Cathedral…and dine like kings. Chartres is an easy day trip from Paris. Watch Latest: Egypt’s Nile, Alexandria, and Luxor ... rivals Paris — we head for Chamonix, in the shadow of Europe’s tallest peak: Mont Blanc. France was in vogue. The Little Hamlet was an actual working farm with a dairy, a water mill, and domestic animals. And the royal first course arrives. This ultimate royal palace is all about this man: the ultimate divine monarch, Louis XIV. Rick Steves has spent 100 days every year since 1973 exploring Europe. This is the ravishing Vaux-le-Vicomte. It seems every king, queen, and emperor since has loved this palace. 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. No! Louis was a hands-on king. By the end he was tired of fighting. It was rebuilt so quickly and lavishly that it has a much-appreciated unity of architecture, statuary, and stained glass. The good life was addictive and, under Louis, the bluebloods were hooked. It's instructive to ponder these symbols of excess, once so out of reach and today the playground of the public. Posted on May 21, 2020 by Rick Steves Daily Dose of Europe: Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral The crisis of this year has overshadowed one from last year: the shocking fire at France’s top church, Notre-Dame Cathedral. Switzerland 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. With ever more power and wealth, France's ruling elite became dangerously out of touch and detached from the grinding reality of its people's daily lives. Here, couples would cavort, blessed from above by the goddess of love. Terms of Service | Privacy. These lavish grounds — elaborately planned, pruned, and ornamented — showed everyone that their king was in total command. Rick: A lot of Americans are a little nervous about the meat being rare when you order in a nice restaurant in Paris. Don't expect Versailles-like unity here; Fontainebleau is a gangly and confusing series of wings that has grown with centuries of kings. The War Room reminds us that Louis had Europe's leading army, and his reign came with lots of expensive wars. And there's no real cuisine unique to this area, so they draw from all regions in France. The light pouring through these windows was mystical, and encouraged meditation and prayer. Evocative stairways lead to elegant, if small rooms. Rick: This is expensive, but you could say it's a good value because it's more than just a meal — it's a lifelong experience. 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 … The Apollo Basin shows the Sun God, a.k.a. Posted on October 20, 2020 October 20, 2020 by Rick Steves Daily Dose of Europe: Monet’s “Water Lilies” Monet’s “Water Lilies” float serenely in two pond-shaped rooms in a Paris museum. My seafood is from Brittany, I think. And with the setting summer sun the grounds are a delight. One of the most fascinating is Fontainebleau. While today's crowds are tourists, 300 years ago, this courtyard was a very different scene. Steve: This is why you're traveling. Side-tripping from Paris, we'll visit the palace at Versailles, Chartres Cathedral, and the châteaux of Vaux-le-Vicomte and Fontainebleau. And, deep in the garden, you find this bizarre sight: Marie-Antoinette's little peasant hamlet. In this, the cutting edge of sculpted French formal gardens, the landscaper integrated ponds, shrubbery, and trees in a style that would be copied in palaces all over Europe. Versailles was designed to be the personal temple of this god on earth, decorated with statues and symbols of Apollo, of the sun, and of Louis himself. The king's engineers literally rerouted a river to power these. Read this book using Google Play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices. 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. Rick: So, now, you've got seafood, but we're in the middle of France. Rick Steves YouTube Channel Hits 1,000,000 Subscribers! Rick Steves Pocket Paris works best for people taking a short trip, or perhaps a return trip, to Paris. In this travel class, Rick Steves guidebook co-author Steve Smith suggests strategies for touring Paris — the Louvre, Orsay, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées, Rodin Museum, and Montmartre — plus tips on sleeping, eating, and getting around affordably. see our FAQ. Until next time, keep on travelin'. Consider seeing the Gardens during mid-morning and the Château in the afternoon, when crowds die down. An intriguing part of your visit is a chance to climb through the attic for a peek at the timbers and the structure of the roof. Compared to Versailles, it's also more intimate, better furnished, and comes with a fraction of the crowds. 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. Finally, at the far end of the Gardens, is the pastoral area called the Trianon Palaces and Domaine de Marie-Antoinette (a.k.a. "Side Trips from Paris: Kings and Nobles Gone Wild." This time, we're sticking closer to Paris. To turn his Corsican blood blue, he married a Habsburg. Paris glitters with Old Regime elegance — royal parks, gilded bridges, noble mansions, and, of course, the biggest palace in all of Europe: the Louvre. Fountains — another great way for a king to illustrate his power over nature — were a huge attraction, a marvel of both art and engineering. Your foie gras is probably from the Dordogne. Steve: Paris might as well be on the coast. Though getting to Vaux-le-Vicomte requires more effort, it's an absolute joy to tour. So Louis, needing an escape from his escape, built this smaller palace buried deep in his vast back yard. He spent about half of France's entire annual GNP to turn his dad's hunting lodge into a palace suitable for Europe's king of kings. Rick Steves Paris 2017 - Ebook written by Rick Steves, Steve Smith, Gene Openshaw. Rooms are decorated in the Empire style of the Napoleonic age. Rick: France's ruling elite became dangerously out of touch and detached from the grinding reality of its people's daily lives. Once mighty, now domesticated, dukes and barons actually competed to see who would hold the candle while Louis slipped into his royal jammies. 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. 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. 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. He ruled for about 70 year and he was the perfect embodiment of the absolute monarch. Steve: He who comes home with the most money doesn't win. It's how the French live. Whatever the case, when you travel here today, it's clear: the powerful of France's past have left today's visitors with some amazing and thought-provoking sights. And wherever you are in Chartres, its massive cathedral seems to loom overhead. Games were part of Louis' political strategy. Wow. This is an excerpt from the full-color coffee-table book Europe’s Top 100 Masterpieces by Rick Steves and Gene Openshaw. The Palace of Versailles was the residence of the king and the seat of France's government for a hundred years. Rick Steves European Christmas From manger scenes and mistletoe to wintry wonderlands, RICK STEVES' EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS celebrates the Christmas season throughout the European continent. The style is pure Baroque, which lends itself to propaganda art — a riot of exuberant figures. The dining room is splendid and a relaxing place to splurge…and feel good about it (reservations required). For over 800 years the church has attracted travelers and inspired those who visit. Grand paintings portray the emperor and his first wife, Josephine, after their coronation. To skip the ticket-buying line, buy tickets or passes in advance, or book a guided tour. Join Rick Steves as he cruises the Seine River, visits Napoleon’s tomb, and takes in the Louvre. The palace hosted nobles — thousands of nobles, each with an entourage. For example, while he'd actually sleep elsewhere, right here, the Sun King would "rise" and "set" with the sun each day. We'll take a break from decadence at one of Europe's top Gothic cathedrals, and check out a palace fit for Napoleon. Once king, the massive expansion began. 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 … While home to many kings though the ages, today, with its iconic and sweeping staircase, it's the domain of tourists. Why are today's French so hell-bent on defending their civil liberties? 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. 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. We explore Versailles, Europe's palace of palaces; exquisite Vaux-le-Vicomte; and extravagant Fontainebleau, home to centuries of French rulers. And, in order to personally control as much as possible, he gathered everything here. They'd flit from games to parties to amorous rendezvous in their sedan-chair taxis. Versailles was laid out along an eight-mile axis. And we're having some classics for our main course. Unless you take a guided tour, everyone — including holders of advance tickets and passes — must go through the often slow security checkpoint at the Château's Royal Gate entrance (longest lines 10:00–12:00). Side-tripping from Paris into the Ile de France, we indulge in the world of royal and aristocratic extravagance in the pre-Revolutionary playground of France's elite. It's fascinating to consider the mix of ideals, charisma, and megalomania that shaped the emperor. In France, the region around its capital of Paris is called the Ile de France. When it comes to showing the sweep of French history, this château is unrivaled among French palaces. A newer annex offers four contemporary rooms (sleeping up to three each), with lofts, terraces, and views of the castle. Imagine servants running around delivering secret messages and roast legs of lamb. Right? It captures the spirit of the 13th century — the so called "Age of Faith" — like no other church. 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. Louis summed it up best himself with his famous rhyme, "L'état, c'est moi! It's duck for me, and for Steve, the lamb, each served with delicate French sauces. Rick: It's just magic. In "The Book of Chartres" — as some nickname the church — the text is the sculpture and windows, and its binding is the architecture. Steve: I like that: the terroir. Of its population, about 200,000 were clergy (those who pray), 150,000 were nobles (those who own land), and the rest (over 17 million) were the peasantry (those who work). Overseen by King François I, it inspired other royal galleries, including the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Turkey, ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Travel with a Mobile Device The emerging horses give the impression of the sun rising out of the mists of dawn. 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. Another great side trip from Paris — marked by another glorious building — this one dedicated to God rather than some king or noble — is the city of Chartres. Rick: You know, Steve, foie gras, to me, when you're in France, you gotta have some foie gras. Around the year 1700, Versailles was the cultural heartbeat of Europe, and French culture was at its zenith. You'll see where the emperor slept, the oversize desk where he worked, and the little table where he abdicated. Louis invited the nobility to Versailles in order to control or "domesticate" them. In this episode we indulge in the world of the royal, noble, and aristocratic extravagance that characterized so much of French history. Where are we going here? European Cruising 101 Europe for Foodies Bedtime, wakeup, meals — it was all public ritual. Perhaps it has something to do with their heritage of overcoming abuse of power to earn their freedom. Next come the expansive Gardens behind the palace, a landscaped wonderland dotted with statues and fountains. Ninety-nine out of 100 of your dinners, you'll forget; you won't forget this one. Louis ruled from 1643 to 1715. Rick Steves Pocket Paris works best for people taking a short trip, or perhaps a return trip, to Paris. And, when those kings and nobles wanted to get out of town for some hunting or perhaps an intimate rendezvous, they built equally lavish palaces in the countryside. Highlights of Paris: Eiffel and Monet to Crème Brulée, ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | No one had ever seen anything like it. The Venus Room is a reminder that love 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 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. Please support local businesses in your community by picking up a copy from your favorite bookstore, or you can find it at my online Travel Store . The ceiling is like a sunroof opening up to heaven, filled with action parallel to the action right here in Louis' court. This was Louis' ceremonial bedroom. I'm having the terrine of duck foie gras, and Steve's having the blue lobster. There is no lounge, but the backyard terrace compensates well when the weather agrees. Their favored playground: The Loire Valley, which dazzles visitors with châteaux like the grandiose Chambord, the dreamy Azay-le-Rideau, and the graceful Chenonceau. 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