(17 June- Paris-Versailles) It’s 10.30 p.m. and the sky is still light. Freaky.
Speaking of Freaky, I guess at one time it was good to be the king of France. Today we journeyed by bus to Versailles to see how the other half lived. Splendiferous! Our guide this morning was Christine’s son Frederic. Christine was our guide yesterday. Frederic, minus the singing, was as enthusiastic and gave us insight into the life of the “Sun King” Louis XIV. He took us from when Louis was a youngster, tutored by a Jesuit, to his ascent to the throne and his reign. His “hunting lodge” at Versailles is a wee bit bigger than, let’s say, a hunting lodge in Oregon.
In spite of it being Sunday and a beautiful sunny day, the crowds were not so bad. I guess the Atlantic called louder than Versailles. Fredric was terrific in his story telling. After finding out he is a high school history and English teacher, I can see why he is so popular with his students. He gave us the dirt on the use, or rather, the lack of use by the king and his family of water for personal hygiene. They were afraid of it. Evidently they used a lot of powder. I guess Versailles was a dusty place. The rooms in this summer palace were astounding and I really wanted to sit on the throne. Alas, there was no throne. Some sort of revolution something or other happened and it disappeared. But I was transfixed in the music room where a little boy named Wolfgang played for the king. History! I love it!
The hall of mirrors was impressive, but how many times does one need a mirror to comb their hair, I ask you. Again…history..oh yeah…treaties and stuff.
After Versailles it was off to the Trocadero overlook of the Eiffel Tower and coincidentally the spot Hitler chose to overlook his newest conquest. Pictures galore with the tower in the background. I think everyone took a group shot and everyone had at least one chance to do a “photo bomb” on someone else.
Then to lunch back in the Latin Quarter and wandering around for about 90 or so minutes to discover things or to be taken by gypsies or traveling circuses. I had lunch with Andreas, our trip manager. He ate mussels and I had French onion soup…in France. What are the odds of that I ask? Gathering the group together, not having lost one, we were off once again to the town of Versailles to prepare for the afternoon concert at Eglise Ste. Bernadette. This was a full dress full set concert. Gabe did the recording of what I personally thought was a great performance. One of the best so far. The kids sang to about 45+ people who applauded so much at the end of the sets, that Chad had them do their first encore. Yes, you read it here first, folks…an encore!
One of the neat things we did differently this time around was to have two of our kids Christen and Shannon (taking turns) translating into French what Chad spoke in English to the audience. It was another first and the crowd ate it up.
The traffic back to Paris was horrendous so we drove through neighborhoods, narrow streets and broad boulevards…it still took us forever. We finally landed at our last stop of the day before the hotel and sleep, Les Noces de Jannette near the opera house. A great French dinner organized by Andreas. Oh yes, there was an impromptu performance at dinner, oh yes there was… While we were waiting for our first course, a group on the other side of the dining room began singing a tune. When they were done we decided to sing one right back at them. After all, (say it with me) “We are S.I.” No inhibitions by any of the chamber singers. In the small intimate venue they sounded great. We found out the other group was from a high school in Toledo, Ohio and had just come from singing at Notre Dame. They had more people evidently so numbers talk, I guess. Well we sang in the oldest church in Paris, so there! It was actually great fun and great food.
Now I’m going to bed. Watch for new pictures of today (Sunday) coming soon to Facebook and to Flickr.
and so we sing…