Who knew delicate, colorful flowers given to us by nature could be powerful enough to inspire, calm, and invigorate us. They can inspire us to use their colors and textures in artwork as Monet and many others have done. Monet used his gardens as inspiration for his paintings just as many other artists - especially in fashion. The Rococo period is a great example of this process. It is a style which uses feminine flowers as a pattern for clothing and interior design. Today fashionistas all over Paris are inspired the same way as shown by the floral patterns of their clothing. Visiting Giverny was such a great experience for all of us and made us realize that even the small things in the world can be magnificent. Even though the large monuments such as the Eiffel Tower are breath taking there is something extremely special about the simplicity of the gardens. Even though they were little flowers they gave off immense energy comparable to the Eiffel Tower and other man-made structures we have seen including Versailles.
At Versailles, we started at the Petit Trianon. It was hard to believe that this building was in any way petit. It was large and lavish inside with details such as Marie Antoinettes monogram on the walls and railings in the house. We walked through the gardens and ended up in a whole other world filled with animals, and country side houses. This was the Queens Hamlet. It was like a storybook. The atmosphere gave off a feeling that nothing could possibly go wrong and that there were only happy endings. It was her escape from the duties and the pressure that came with the French royal lifestyle. It was created to appear like her home in Austria giving her the sense of safety and comfort. It was hard for us to grasp the fact that this town was created just to make her more at ease.
We continued walking along the path and everything became much different. The pretty landscape previously seen in the countryside style hamlet was now becoming straight edged and sculptures started appearing in the distance. Everything became much more extravagant and beautiful but in a much more formal tone. We were getting close the grand palace of Versailles. We saw many fountains with flowing water. They were spraying water into the air creating a perfect frame for the palace High up on the hill. Everything hère was created for show and it forced people to see the power of the royalty. The more Grand everything was - the more respect they would get. Versailles was a sumptious playground for the people to see the French governments elegance and prestige. It was created to show that they were the leaders of luxury and style but underneath the glamorous lifestyle there were a lot of problems with the politics and the government. This led to many unhappy citizens and the fall of Louis the 16th . Walking the same steps as royalty really made it easy to see how quickly one could get caught up in the excessive lifestyle. This happens even today by peoples need to own the best cars and designer items. Society needs to get out of the bubble of todays media and realize what the importance of life really is.
~ Natalie Sherwood – 6/18/11