We'll take a break from decadence at one of Europe's top Gothic cathedrals, and check out a palace fit for Napoleon. As if to encourage the fun, Venus sends down a canopy of garlands to ensnare mortals in delicious amour. So, she built this rustic fantasy. His daily life was a series of symbolic rituals. Easy-to-Use Size: Each map folds down to a handy 8½" x 4". It provided an ideal refuge — away from the sniping politics, strict etiquette, and 24/7 scrutiny of official court life. They'd flit from games to parties to amorous rendezvous in their sedan-chair taxis. 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 bestows an olive branch on Europe as his queen cradles their baby twin daughters. Rick Steves Pocket Paris works best for people taking a short trip, or perhaps a return trip, to Paris. 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). Steve: No. It captures the spirit of the 13th century — the so called "Age of Faith" — like no other church. The light pouring through these windows was mystical, and encouraged meditation and prayer. That was the hunting lodge where little Louis spent his happiest boyhood years. Switzerland We have lots of exciting new videos on the way (like TV specials on Egypt and the Alps). Compared to Versailles, it's more intimate, and comes with a fraction of the crowds. Highlights of Paris: Eiffel and Monet to Crème Brulée, ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Located in a huge forest, with magnificent gardens and no urban sprawl in sight, Vaux-le-Vicomte gives me more than a twinge of palace envy. Until next time, keep on travelin'. His mission: to empower Americans to have European trips that are fun, affordable, and culturally broadening. Later, French royals retreated still farther from the main château and the realities of French political life, ignoring rising revolutionary sentiments that were turning their society into a tinderbox. The main attraction is the palace itself, called the Château. 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. Big City Tough: These accordion-folded, vinyl-laminated maps hold their shape and are nearly indestructible. Once king, the massive expansion began. Rooms are decorated in the Empire style of the Napoleonic age. 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. And, in order to personally control as much as possible, he gathered everything here. This ultimate royal palace is all about this man: the ultimate divine monarch, Louis XIV. This was Louis' ceremonial bedroom. Paris Travel Guide by Rick Steves For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, see our FAQ . 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. 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. Rick: That's right. It's fascinating to consider the mix of ideals, charisma, and megalomania that shaped the emperor. Versailles was laid out along an eight-mile axis. Under gilded candelabra and amid busts of Roman emperors, servants would glide by with silver trays of hors d'oeuvres. Around the year 1700, Versailles was the cultural heartbeat of Europe, and French culture was at its zenith. Wow. For over 800 years the church has attracted travelers and inspired those who visit. This is a lifelong memory. These lavish grounds — elaborately planned, pruned, and ornamented — showed everyone that their king was in total command. 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 Terms of Service | Privacy. Bedtime, wakeup, meals — it was all public ritual. It's rushed so quickly here. Paris glitters with Old Regime elegance — royal parks, gilded bridges, noble mansions, and, of course, the biggest palace in all of Europe: the Louvre. Dozens of Chartres' most historic buildings are colorfully illuminated at night (May–Sept), adding to the town's after-hours appeal. Admire the elegance and symmetry of the ensemble. Perhaps it has something to do with their heritage of overcoming abuse of power to earn their freedom. 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. Side-tripping from Paris, we'll visit the palace at Versailles, Chartres Cathedral, and the châteaux of Vaux-le-Vicomte and Fontainebleau. I'm having the terrine of duck foie gras, and Steve's having the blue lobster. This is the pre-Revolutionary playground of France's rich and powerful. Why are today's French so hell-bent on defending their civil liberties? 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 … The palace's back yard is huge — and if you turn around, it seems to stretch forever. It's duck for me, and for Steve, the lamb, each served with delicate French sauces. 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, in the Peace Room, peace is granted to Germany, Holland, and Spain as cupids play with discarded weapons and swords are pounded into violins. Here, couples would cavort, blessed from above by the goddess of love. Rick: You know, Steve, foie gras, to me, when you're in France, you gotta have some foie gras. 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. 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. And the Gothic structure allowed for plenty of windows. Download for offline reading, highlight, bookmark or take notes while you read Rick Steves Paris 2017. One more way that Louis proved he was a divine-right ruler was by controlling nature…like a god. The château started small — just the middle stretch of this grand facade. Rick Steves is America's most respected authority on European travel. Look at that. The king's engineers literally rerouted a river to power these. Louis was a true Renaissance man, a century after the Renaissance: an accomplished musician, dancer, horseman, statesman, art-lover, lover. To turn his Corsican blood blue, he married a Habsburg. 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. 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.". Here she is on her deathbed. In the royal apartments, these ceilings come with the giddy extravagance of Rococo. And today, many of those that survive make ends meet by renting rooms. Don't expect Versailles-like unity here; Fontainebleau is a gangly and confusing series of wings that has grown with centuries of kings. It's a respect for people's privacy. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, Shifting from medieval piety back to royal excess, it's time for one last palace. And there's no real cuisine unique to this area, so they draw from all regions in France. The emerging horses give the impression of the sun rising out of the mists of dawn. While the fountains ran for Louis whenever he liked, they run for tourists only on weekends. 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. Travel with a Mobile Device By the end he was tired of fighting. Fontainebleau has more Napoleon Bonaparte connections than any other palace, with his personal apartments and an adjacent museum. Arguably Europe's best example of pure Gothic, Chartres Cathedral is one of the most impressive structures in all of Europe. Louis invited the nobility to Versailles in order to control or "domesticate" them. Travel as a Political Act, England & Wales A big pool and the restaurant's vegetable garden lie below the château. 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). And we're starting with Europe's grandest palace. We explore Versailles, Europe's palace of palaces; exquisite Vaux-le-Vicomte; and extravagant Fontainebleau, home to centuries of French rulers. You'll see where the emperor slept, the oversize desk where he worked, and the little table where he abdicated. Here Louis is shown with his entire royal family — all depicted as gods on earth — ordained to rule without question. Italy 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. My seafood is from Brittany, I think. Turkey, ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | We'll see what 17th-century financiers did with their mega-riches and then live pretty well ourselves, settling into our own château. France was in vogue. It's instructive to ponder these symbols of excess, once so out of reach and today the playground of the public. Most of these luxurious getaways began small — as hunting lodges — and then grew. 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. 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. Here you walk through dozens of lavish, chandeliered rooms once inhabited by Louis XIV and his successors. Rick Steves has spent 100 days every year since 1973 exploring Europe. 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 … Chartres contains the world's largest surviving collection of medieval stained glass, with over 150 early 13th-century windows. Pleasure ruled at Versailles. The Little Hamlet was an actual working farm with a dairy, a water mill, and domestic animals. Video: Watch Paris Side Trips, an episode of the Rick Steves' Europe TV show. The classical themes throughout the palace underlined the divine right of France's kings and queens to rule without limit. Of course, there was no democracy: just one king and his ministers — people like Nicolas Fouquet — who ran the show. When Vaux-le-Vicomte and Versailles were built, France was slowly heading toward a revolution. And we're having some classics for our main course. Once mighty, now domesticated, dukes and barons actually competed to see who would hold the candle while Louis slipped into his royal jammies. Napoleon aspired to create his own family dynasty. 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. A newer annex offers four contemporary rooms (sleeping up to three each), with lofts, terraces, and views of the castle. By Rick Steves, Steve Smith, and Gene Openshaw. 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. Every place we'll visit is within an hour of the Eiffel Tower. It's sort of earthy — it takes you to the farm, kind of. To skip the ticket-buying line, buy tickets or passes in advance, or book a guided tour. This time we're living royal in France…script please. It's fresh as it would be if we were in Brittany. European Cruising 101 Here we see not the extravagance of rich elites, but the extravagance of medieval piety. For example, while he'd actually sleep elsewhere, right here, the Sun King would "rise" and "set" with the sun each day. Their favored playground: The Loire Valley, which dazzles visitors with châteaux like the grandiose Chambord, the dreamy Azay-le-Rideau, and the graceful Chenonceau. This is the ravishing Vaux-le-Vicomte. Down a dreamy tree-lined road, there's another palace which was actually the inspiration of Versailles. Throughout Europe, when you said "the king," you were referring to the French king — Louis XIV. It's a long series of lavish rooms, each with its own theme, and with every inch sumptuously decorated. Scandinavia Rick Steves European Christmas From manger scenes and mistletoe to wintry wonderlands, RICK STEVES' EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS celebrates the Christmas season throughout the European continent. Rick Steves Pocket Paris works best for people taking a short trip, or perhaps a return trip, to Paris. 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. To this day, visitors come to Chartres to see its cathedral, and they find that the city itself is a delight. Consider seeing the Gardens during mid-morning and the Château in the afternoon, when crowds die down. Rick: So, now, you've got seafood, but we're in the middle of France. You name it — clothes, hairstyles, music, theater, table manners…French taste spread across the Continent. Terms of Service | Privacy, Versailles, France: Palace Gardens and Little Hamlet, Versailles, France: Ultimate Royal Palace. Ultimately, the imbalance reached the point where society burst into revolution. The dining room is splendid and a relaxing place to splurge…and feel good about it (reservations required). Though getting to Vaux-le-Vicomte requires more effort, it's an absolute joy to tour. We have a m... illion travel buddies enjoying us on YouTube. The architecture is Gothic — which was all the rage in the 1200s. And with the setting summer sun the grounds are a delight. Next come the expansive Gardens behind the palace, a landscaped wonderland dotted with statues and fountains. Portugal Steve: I understand, but the rarer it is — within reason — the more the flavor comes out. Watch Latest: Egypt’s Nile, Alexandria, and Luxor ... rivals Paris — we head for Chamonix, in the shadow of Europe’s tallest peak: Mont Blanc. All this royal, noble, and imperial extravagance, and the resulting political upheaval ,is not necessarily a bad thing. Greece Daily Dose of Europe: Paris’ Sainte-Chapelle Notre-Dame has been on everyone’s mind over the last year. Ninety-nine out of 100 of your dinners, you'll forget; you won't forget this one. 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. 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. And the royal first course arrives. The Revolution rocked the realities of châteaux both big and small. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, This time, we're sticking closer to Paris. Steve: Yeah, isn't that great? Travel with Rick on this video guide to Paris, France and find out what to do on your next trip. In this episode we indulge in the world of the royal, noble, and aristocratic extravagance that characterized so much of French history. While home to many kings though the ages, today, with its iconic and sweeping staircase, it's the domain of tourists. His second wife, Empress Marie-Louise, provided what he called "a royal womb.". Take a stroll over the ornamental moat. No one had ever seen anything like it. He ruled for about 70 year and he was the perfect embodiment of the absolute monarch. At Château de Pray we're happy to help out. 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. No! In the 16th and 17th centuries, Paris' booming elite class made this area Europe's château heartland. 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. Smart travelers avoid weekends, come late in the day, and use a museum pass to skip the ticket line. Louis ruled from 1643 to 1715. Thanks for joining us! Right? 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. Chartres is most famous for its stained glass and statues. The ceiling is like a sunroof opening up to heaven, filled with action parallel to the action right here in Louis' court. It's how the French live. But we'll cover the châteaux of the Loire in another episode. See the Travel Details above for recommendations highlighted in bold, excerpted from Rick's guidebooks. Napoleon's throne room is the only French throne room that survives with its original furniture. Compared to Versailles, it's also more intimate, better furnished, and comes with a fraction of the crowds. Rick: And I would imagine a chef would not want to serve you well-cooked meat. 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. The War Room reminds us that Louis had Europe's leading army, and his reign came with lots of expensive wars. Steve: He who comes home with the most money doesn't win. Fountains — another great way for a king to illustrate his power over nature — were a huge attraction, a marvel of both art and engineering. And it's crowded to this day. Rick: It's just magic. And Louis XIV, he had a thousand. Chartres is an easy day trip from Paris. 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. He who comes home with the most experiences, like this, wins. Rick: A lot of Americans are a little nervous about the meat being rare when you order in a nice restaurant in Paris. 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. And wherever you are in Chartres, its massive cathedral seems to loom overhead. It seems every king, queen, and emperor since has loved this place, most notably Napoleon Bonaparte. Since 1973, Rick Steves has spent about four months a year exploring Europe. 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. When you understand the themes of the palace's many rooms, a stroll through Versailles is a stroll through French history. Rick Steves Paris 2017 - Ebook written by Rick Steves, Steve Smith, Gene Openshaw. 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. Evocative stairways lead to elegant, if small rooms. This was the home of Nicolas Fouquet, France's finance minister during that over-the-top reign of Louis XIV in the 17th century. France Where are we going here? Thanks for joining us. The Palace of Versailles was the residence of the king and the seat of France's government for a hundred years. Mirrors were a great luxury at the time, and this long hall was astounding. Spain Scotland The opulent ballroom, which hosted many royal parties, is Baroque. It seems every king, queen, and emperor since has loved this palace. I see it as the growing pains of democracy. The gardens stretch far beyond the palace, but their main axis runs straight through its center. Grand paintings portray the emperor and his first wife, Josephine, after their coronation. The remarkable cohesiveness of the carvings and stained glass, and the unity of the architecture, are due to the fact that nearly the entire church was rebuilt in just 30 years —a blink of an eye for cathedral building. 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. It was rebuilt so quickly and lavishly that it has a much-appreciated unity of architecture, statuary, and stained glass. Versailles offers three blockbuster sights. 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. When it comes to showing the sweep of French history, this château is unrivaled among French palaces. We'll marvel at the ultimate divine monarch's palace, with fountains fit for a king. 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. 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. He was symbolized by Apollo, the Greek god of the sun. Your foie gras is probably from the Dordogne. In "The Book of Chartres" — as some nickname the church — the text is the sculpture and windows, and its binding is the architecture. 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. Paris is magnificent, but it's also super-sized, crowded, and fast-paced. This is an excerpt from the full-color coffee-table book Europe’s Top 100 Masterpieces by Rick Steves and Gene Openshaw. Somewhat like bankers and financiers of today, these people controlled the workings of the economy, and amassed unfathomable wealth. Château de Pray allows you to sleep in a 770-year-old fortified castle with hints of its medieval origins. Louis summed it up best himself with his famous rhyme, "L'état, c'est moi! Iceland Louis XIII was born here, Louis XV was married here, and after the anti-monarchy chaos of the French Revolution, Napoleon reigned as emperor right here. So Louis, needing an escape from his escape, built this smaller palace buried deep in his vast back yard. The main suppers, balls, and receptions were held in this room. Explore the culture, romance, and history of Paris with this bestselling comprehensive guide Rick Steves Paris by Rick Steves - Books - Hachette Australia Your cart The good life was addictive and, under Louis, the bluebloods were hooked. Louis, in his chariot as he starts his daily journey across the sky. As you stroll, you can enjoy the artistic shift in styles. 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 … We'll also marvel at the glass and statuary of Chartres Cathedral…and dine like kings. Versailles celebrated Man, rather than God, by elevating Louis XIV to almost godlike status. And finally there's the more sober post-Revolutionary Neoclassical. The Venus Room is a reminder that love ruled at Versailles. Imagine this place lit by the flames of thousands of candles, filled with elegant guests in fine silks, wigs, and fake moles, as they danced to the orchestra. Bonjour, I'm Rick Steves, back with more of the Best of Europe. It’s a world of travel fun with 1,800 Rick Steves videos in handy playlists. 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. The palace hosted nobles — thousands of nobles, each with an entourage. But just a short walk away is another … The royal bedroom faced the rising sun. Steve: Paris might as well be on the coast. Get inspired with Rick Steves’ recommended places to go and things to do, with tips, photos, videos, and travel information on Paris. In France, the region around its capital of Paris is called the Ile de France. Ah! The style is pure Baroque, which lends itself to propaganda art — a riot of exuberant figures. It was the center of the palace…and the center of France. This revolutionary hero came out of a movement that killed off the Old Regime — only to create a new Old Regime. The "domesticated" aristocracy lived a life of almost enforced idleness. The palace is richly decorated in royal and imperial symbolism, and its walls are hung with exquisite tapestries. Steve: This is why you're traveling. Only the Sun King could grow orange trees here in chilly northern France. 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. And, deep in the garden, you find this bizarre sight: Marie-Antoinette's little peasant hamlet. 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. 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 . Bavarian Alps, Germany: The Zugspitze - Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide - … Germany & Austria Versailles is packed May–Sept 10:00–13:00, so come early or late. The earlier church burned in 1194. Rick: France's ruling elite became dangerously out of touch and detached from the grinding reality of its people's daily lives. 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. The Apollo Basin shows the Sun God, a.k.a. By distracting the nobles with billiards, gambling, and dancing, Louis was free to run the country. The delicate Grand Trianon was the king's private residence far from the main palace. France — for centuries, the richest country in Europe — is strewn with lavish palaces, châteaux, and mansions. see our FAQ. I'm Rick Steves. Join Rick Steves as he cruises the Seine River, visits Napoleon’s tomb, and takes in the Louvre. 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. Photo: Me taking a research break along the Seine, by thetravelphile.com. Avoid Sundays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays (in that order), when the place is jammed with a slow shuffle of tourists from open to close. That 's me! `` Vaux-le-Vicomte ; and extravagant Fontainebleau, home to many kings though ages! 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