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Marie Christmas


There are many dangers associated with travelling the world.  One can become a victim to illness, injury, crime or a myriad of other unforeseen tragedies. 

We've all heard about the infamous pickpockets of Italy who prey on unwitting foreigners as they gaze in awe at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the frequent shark attacks along the Great Barrier Reef, the kidnapping of tourists in Mexico, and the frightening bird flu epidemic in China.

And the media has terrified us with their relentless stories of plane crashes, tour bus crashes, airport shuttle crashes, helicopter crashes, lost luggage, stolen luggage, misdirected luggage, cancelled flights, overbooked flights, hotel fires, car bombs, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, blizzards, capsized ferries, and insufferably rude Parisians.

There is one danger, however, that is rarely reported.

One of the least-known but most-insidious risks of frequent travel is the potential for the sojourner to become disenchanted

Without even knowing it, a traveler will trade her rose-colored glasses for a pair with an unbecoming jade-tinged hue. In other words, she becomes blasé.  Her senses saturated with the spectacular sites she beheld, she becomes bored and difficult to impress.

Let's face it, when you have stood in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower or scaled the Great Wall of China, Disney's Epcot can seem rather banal. 

Believe me, it causes me no small amount of shame to admit that I have become disenchanted with the most Magical Place in the World. If I am going to spend $6.50 for a beverage, I would prefer it to be a hot chocolate at a cafe in Bruges and not a Coke at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on Mainstreet USA. 

Before a horde of Mouseketeers write and accuse me of being a rodent hater, let me just say: I love Mickey and Minnie.  Indeed, some of my favorite vacation memories with my family are centered in the Magic Kingdom.

That being said, I would take Tahiti over Typhoon Lagoon and Europe over Epcot any day of the week.

So what's the anecdote?  How can you stop yourself from becoming a world-weary, jaded traveler.

The trick is to nurture your sense of wonder, remind yourself to be grateful for any experience, and remember with each trip to add at least one fantastic memory to your suitcase for the return trip home.  All seasoned travelers have a case crammed with marvelous memories.  I call mine my Portmanteau of Pleasure or my Bag of Bewilderment.  It's my collection of my most special souvenirs

I have gathered a prodigiously sized portmanteau full of precious, wondrous travel memories and I call upon them to remind myself of my many blessings and of the awesomeness of this world.

I searched around in my trunk and found a dazzling one to share with you, my beloved reader.

Several years ago, on a warm night in September, I sat in the gardens of Versailles and watched in awe as fireworks whizzed through the sky over the palace.  The fireworks were the grand finale for the Fêtes de Nuit, a unique show that combines fireworks, classical music, light and water effects, and a legion of period-correct costumed actors to tell the story of a day in the life of the Sun King

I watched as the curtains on the king's sumptuous state bed were parted to reveal a yawning and stretching Louis.  I watched a hive of courtiers swarm around Louis as they conducted his lever (morning/rising ritual to include removal of the royal chamberpot, presentation of holy water, and delivery of the missal).  I watched, slack-jawed and wide-eyed, as the king mounted his horse and rode off to hunt with a dozen of his closest companions, trumpets blaring and hounds yapping. (Yes, they were real horses and real hounds)

I watched alabaster statues suddenly come to life and begin dancing as Lully's Baroque tunes echoed through the garden. 

And, finally, I watched the coucher du roy (the nightly rituals associated with putting the king to bed).  

By the time the fireworks exploded and the light from the strategically hidden lasers skipped across the waters of the Neptune Fountain, I was in a dream-like state.  I felt as if I had traveled through time and was a special guest at one of the Sun King's soirees. 

It was with great reluctance, and the acrid scent of gunpowder still staining my nose, I joined the exiting crowd and reentered the world of modern day Versailles.  

What does this have to do with Marie Antoinette?  Well, for four days this month, Versailles is hosting an amazing illumination show on the grounds of le Hameau.  Those fortunate enough to visit the palace and grounds during this special event will see many wondorous things.  Like what, you ask?  Click on the video below to see for yourself.

And have a Marie Christmas!




For More Information:
On the daily life of Louis XIV read:  Memoirs of the Duc de Saint Simon 

On Fetes du Nuit, visit:  The Chateau de Versailles

4 comments:

  1. Dear Madame Leah Marie,

    Good evening! Please, allow me to introduce myself.
    My name is Gabriela. I am fourteen years old,
    And I simply must tell you that I absolutely adore your blog.
    I have always been interested in History, especially in the figures of Lucrezia Borgia, Anne Boleyn, and that of course,
    Madame Marie Antoinette. I was reading about her story once again,
    when I happened to stumble upon this delightful little blog of yours,
    and I must say, It has been a daily visit ever since. I simply adore all
    of your 'titillating tidbits' of her life, and more. I am very excited as to run to Chapters and find your novel, it sounds very interesting, and I am certain that I will enjoy it and find it just as titillating as this blog!
    I feel that as I have read with you along with many, many others, that I have grown attached and listen to you as a friend. I should think that you are indeed a past Lady of Madame Marie Antoinette's( Or, perhaps, even more than that...)!
    Merci, Madame Leah Marie, for posting this blog and writing so frequently, as I truly enjoy it (and, might I add, the pictures you find are absolutely beautiful, and many of them I had not seen until you posted them here) ! Please pardon me for commenting on a early post, I do not usually comment on much as I tend to stray away from it.
    Merci et Danke again, Madame Leah Marie!
    Have a lovely evening,
    Gabriela

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Madame Leah Marie,

    Good evening! Please, allow me to introduce myself.
    My name is Gabriela. I am fourteen years old,
    And I simply must tell you that I absolutely adore your blog.
    I have always been interested in History, especially in the figures of Lucrezia Borgia, Anne Boleyn, and that of course,
    Madame Marie Antoinette. I was reading about her story once again,
    when I happened to stumble upon this delightful little blog of yours,
    and I must say, It has been a daily visit ever since. I simply adore all
    of your 'titillating tidbits' of her life and more. I am very excited as to run to Chapters and find your novel, it sounds very interesting, and I am certain that I will enjoy it and find it just as titillating as this blog!
    I feel that as I have read with you along with many, many others, that I have grown attached and listen to you as a friend. I should think that you are indeed a past Lady of Madame Marie Antoinette's!
    Merci, Madame Leah Marie, for posting this blog and writing so frequently, as I truly enjoy it (and, might I add, the pictures you find are absolutely beautiful, and many of them I had not seen until you posted them here) ! Please pardon me for commenting on a early post, I do not usually comment on much as I tend to stray away from it.
    Merci et Danke again, Madame Leah Marie!
    Have a lovely evening,
    Gabriela

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Dear Gabriela ~
      Thank you for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment. I am glad you enjoy my blog and that you visit it so often. I study and write about 18th Century France because I truly love that era, but receiving comments like yours makes it all the more worth it!

      If you do not follow me on Twitter I can be found @18thCFrance or @leahmariebrown. I post daily tidbits there as well.

      Also, I have many Pinterest Boards dedicated to Marie Antoinette and 18th Century France. You might enjoy seeing some of the images I have pinned there. I also have boards dedicated to my published novels and soon to be published works.

      http://pinterest.com/leahmariebrown/

      Again, Merci et Danke Gabriela!!

      Delete
    2. My Dear Gabriela ~
      Thank you for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment. I am glad you enjoy my blog and that you visit it so often. I study and write about 18th Century France because I truly love that era, but receiving comments like yours makes it all the more worth it!

      If you do not follow me on Twitter I can be found @18thCFrance or @leahmariebrown. I post daily tidbits there as well.

      Also, I have many Pinterest Boards dedicated to Marie Antoinette and 18th Century France. You might enjoy seeing some of the images I have pinned there. I also have boards dedicated to my published novels and soon to be published works.

      http://pinterest.com/leahmariebrown/


      Again, Merci et Danke Gabriela!!

      Delete

You have left a comment on my blog! Merci beaucoup! I hope to you will visit Titillating Facts About the Life and Times of Marie Antoinette again soon! Until then...au revoir and bonne chance!