Versailles - The King's City
The journey to Versailles, about a 30 minute drive outside of Paris, brought to
a wonderful end our trip to France. Instead of a tour bus, we chose to take
one of the new minivan tours with only 6 of us on board. It made for a most impressionable excursion.
The grounds and gardens of the estate were not only spectacular, but of enormous proportions. Louis XIV created a haven of excess for his court. The Grand Trianon in pink Languedoc marble, a palace in its own right was our first stop. It was here that the King would escape when tiring of the court at Versailles to visit his mistress Madame de Maintenon. Later it would be a haven for Louis XV and his mistress Madame de Pompadour. However, Madame de Pompadour was not satisfied with Grand Trianon and convinced Louis XV to build Petit Trianon for her.
Next was Marie Antoinette's Hamlet, a fairy tale village and diary. It's theory was to produce a "state of nature" which was the rage in that period. Built on the banks of the Grand Trianon lake, Marie Antionette could play the peasant girl routine which really enchanted this queen.
Finally we arrived at the chateau, Versailles. The massive palais was incredible. The Royal Chapel encrusted in gold would set the tone of splendor and excess in this grand palais.
The frescos and paintings throughout the palais were breathtaking, but none would compare with the unbelievable Hall of Mirrors. Overlooking the Water Parterre, the view of gardens and fountains as far as one could see was breathtaking. The ceiling paintings in the Hall of Mirrors recount the important events in the reign of Louis XIV from 1661-1678. The furnishing now decorating this marvelous "Hall" are replicas of those from the reign of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette during 1770. The 17 huge arched windows bring in a tremendous amount of light from the gardens, which are reflected in the 17 bevelled mirrors in simulated arcades directly across from each window. The Hall of Mirrors, was of course encrusted in gold.
We fell in love with the Queen's Bedchamber which was absolutely marvelous continuing the tradition of the palais - "anything worth doing is worth overdoing." It's amazing when decor has no monetary constraints.
The spectacular paintings in the Grand Couvert Dining Room, in particular those of Marie-Antoinette, were mind boggling. The realism in these works would make you believe that at any moment Marie Antoinette could walk right up to you and carry on a little queenly chit chat.
The Hall of Battles was also quite impressive filling the entire length of the South Wing of Versailles. It contains huge paintings portraying France's great military history, from the Battle of Tolbiac in 496 by Clovis to Napoleon in 1809.
It was back to Paris, and time to pack for our trip home.
Shopping in Paris
Earlier in the day before our afternoon visit to Versailles, it was to be the favorite part of our trip - shopping. First stop was the Fouchon next to La Madelaine, the Greek temple which serves as a church. Here we bought several gift boxes of sweets for those on our gift list back home.
Next we stopped at this quaint little shop displaying what we thought were artistic works in brass. One vase, in particular, fascinated us. It's base had 3 sphinxes holding a crown, which would actually hold a floral arrangement, all about 14 inches high. The price you ask? - 153,720F, $28,000 American money! This shop only handled pieces in 18k gold. Needless to say, we left empty handed.
We did much better at the shop featuring Lalique right down the street. A small Lalique clock with sculpted owls only set us back 1,487F or $271. This was a steal since we had seen the same clock in New York for $1,200.
A few doors down brought us to another little shop featuring designer sunglasses and evening bags to match. The sunglasses were golden in color set with brilliant Austrian crystals. We thought this would certainly make a fabu drag addition to any ensemble. However, this little beauty was 13,725F or some $2,500. The purse to match was only 27,450F or $5,000. We were just not having any luck finding any bargains this day.
After this stop, we decided to shop in another neighborhood, going back to the gift shops near the Louvre. Here we would find two Limoges boxes, one with a golden Eiffel Tour sculpted on top while the other would feature a sculpted owl, both for only 1,070F or $190. On Royal St. in New Orleans, Limoges boxes not as large as these would set you back between $165-$225 apiece.
Our final stop would be to purchase a baseball cap and t-shirt. One of each of these at 137F or $25 was enough. Shopping in Paris was really on the pricey side.
Of all our European trips, we would have to rate Athens as the bargain capital.
A special thanks to Community Travel who each year provides coach airfare for two to the top individual NO/AIDS Pledge Walker. Fortunately for us, our friends and business associates have pledged top dollars for Rip the past 4 years, in lieu of gifts for our annual anniversary bash, the Magnolia Cotillion. The Cotillion has raised over $41,000 for the past 6 years.
This year's Paris adventure was pretty economical for us. Our hotel for 7 nights only cost us $993. We went with $1,100 in cash and returned with $600. We had allocated $4,000 on credit card spending and only used $1,600 of that amount. This trip cost us only $2,433 plus an additional $660 in shopping. With no airfare to pay, this European trip was a steal!
Asya Alexander stunned the
show crowd for the Miss Footloose Pageant taking home the crown. The talent presentation saw Asya and her backup dancers in perfect sync throughout the rendition. Of course 1st runner-up TT and 2nd runner-up Stephanie Williams were not to be ignored.
All of the talent presentations in this pageant were excellent. Bravo Footloose!
Sorry about the photo id mix-up last issue. Marcy Marcell was emcee, not the new Miss Footloose.
Congrats to Angles! This popu-
lar Metairie bar raised $1,798
for its 1st Battle of the Bands fund-raiser benefiting Buzzy's Boys and Girls.
Income from door covers included 4/11-$555, 4/12-$1,015, 4/13-$585, 4/14-$345 and Angles donation-$550 for a total of $3,045.
Expenses included 4/11-Robyn E. Band $200, 4/11-Shereece Band[light show] $250, 4/12-Shereece Band [light show] $250, 4/13-Soft Touch Band $250, 4/19 Dangerous Curves Band $100 and 4/19 Jefferson Trophies $196.51 for a total of $1,246.51 from $3,045, leaving $1,798.49 for Buzzy's Kids.
The club would like to say a special "thank you" to AMBUSH Mag 2000 for the donation of advertising and also to Rainbow Framing for the donation of participation prizes for the bands. Special thanks also to the various bands who performed for considerable rate reductions.
The community should give a special thanks to Angles Manager J.R. Stansberry and his staff who worked very hard to ensure the success of the "Battle of the Bands."
The folks over at Mother Bob's
hosted a marvelous show benefiting Connie Marcelle raising some $600+ for Connie following her recent hospital knee surgery.
Even bar baron Mother Bob donned on some drag finery for the occasion bringing down the house along with the talents of Miss TT and a cast of special guests. Connie herself took to the stage thanking all who had been so kind in her time of need.
Tongues have been left
awaggin' with the launch of
Some Like It Hot, 216 Bourbon. The new club brought to you by those Rubyfruit entrepreneurs has surfaced with a rebirth of class to the female impersonation clubs in the straight district of Bourbon.
The plush, Vegas style club complete with neon and high tech artsy decor, has an incredible sound system. This system benefits the star talents of Cajun LaCage featuring Lisa Beaumann, Teryl-Lynn Foxx and Stephanie Williams. The glamorous floor hostesses adorned in fashionable updo's and evening gowns complement the tuxedo clad table and bar personnel.
Average drink prices were between $4-$5, but in large gay glass sizes. Unlike other tourists spots on the straight strip you'd pay $6 for about a 5-6 ounce glass.