Behind the scenes – Versailles

Versailles is grandiose. Yet, behind the scenes, it tells us something about society.

Behind the scenes, one understands that appearances may be a trifle deceptive. To most people, and not just tourists, Versailles will look like the above picture. Rowing boats, canals and a grandiose château. One will take the train to the Versailles Rive Gauche railway station and scutter from there to the château and back and then back on the train to Paris. And doing that they will be under the impression that everything in Versailles is top-notch. Yet, a few hundred yards from that very station, behind the scenes, a different kind of Versailles, with its old derelict buildings and unkempt courtyards is unfolding.

Behind the scenes - Versailles

I don’t know how old these cobblestones may be. No doubt the pavement needs mending.

Behind the scenes - Versailles
Behind the scenes, one realises that telecoms are truly magical

The way that those telecom lines are set up is truly amazing. I’d seen things like this in Lisbon. It’s rather unusual here and Versailles is probably the last place on earth you’d expect to see things like this.

Behind the scenes - Versailles

These buildings date from the late 18th century. They were built sometime around the French Revolution. My wife used to own a flat there. The amount of squalor was unknown to me. Once again, you wouldn’t expect to find something like that in Versailles.

Beautiful 17th and 18th century buildings abound. As above, dead in the centre of Versailles.

Behind the scenes - Versailles

Behind the scenes and taking a closer look, one realises that there hasn’t been any maintenance on that building for close to 100 years. Don’t be fooled however, throughout History, there has always been grandiose buildings next to hovels. I used to live in a mews flat in London and God knows they are pricy. Yet, until the 1960s they were dumps where only the poor or servants resided. Dickens described some of them in his books. Yet, it’s ironic that in this century where we seem to revere history and historical buildings so much, we have such a hard time maintaining them properly.

As a sideline, you may have noticed that the anti museum is undergoing a few changes and well … not everything is going according to plans. The new theme is already in place, but there are quite a few bugs. The main menu is there for instance, yet you won’t be able to see it as the developers seem determined to show it to me exclusively. We’ll have to make do with this issue until I find a workaround and repair everything.

As with Versailles, behind the scenes of the Anti museum, there are a lot of things you’d rather hide.

[10:00 pm CET update: the menu has been fixed. You might see quite a few funny pages with weird content flying around though, don’t worry this is sample content from my template being randomly published for God knows what reason]

Yann Gourvennec
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