|Why are we doing this project?
Because what's the point of going all the
way to Paris, then taking the train all the
way out to Versailles, and trudging up
from the train station... all to just wander
past a bunch of buildings and statues
without understanding them?
We go because we're curious, because
we're interested, because we want to
Yes, there's the rather pedantic official
guide, unimaginative and offering little
education or benefit.
This was born of our own frustration at not
being able to get background information,
and of a desire to pass it on to others.
We were sorry to see visitors to monuments like the Chateau de
Versailles get off the buses, troop through a series of rooms - passing
right by all the interesting bits - and then walk out and leave,
thinking they'd seen the greatest palace in Europe.
What was the point, they often wondered.
And we wondered the same thing.
As Eugene O'Neill said, "The past is the present; it's the future, too.
We keep trying to lie our way out of that one, but life won't let us."
Understanding our past, helps us understand ourselves, gives us
perspective on the world today.
Take, for example, religious tolerance. In studying the reign of the
Sun King, we see how broadening religious tolerance led directly to a
flourishing economy and society as a whole, while a return
intolerance resulted in the decline of the entire nation.
Without any context, Versailles seems unimpressive on arrival (it
always did - the architects pleaded with the king to tear down the
brick portions), the garden statues just seem decorative, and the
legendary Hall of Mirrors lacks impact.
After listening to the woefully inadequate audioguide, and tagging
along on a few tours, we knew we could do it better. We knew we
could make a rich and lively tour that would bring color and
excitement to long ago history.
And we've done just that.