Friday, June 01, 2007

Versailles Made Me Sick

Versailles, from behind

The aptly named Hall of Mirrors


In 1682, the official residence of the Court of France moved from the Louvre in Paris to Versailles, a chateau 25km to the southwest. Today, more than three hundred years later, Versailles still makes a lasting physical impression on visitors.

In my case, in the form of a cold.

I'll admit, it was a minor cold, more a nuisance than a malady. I first felt ill-effects on the evening of our visit after returning to our apartment. Thinking I had just got too much direct sun, I slept without worry. But the next morning I awoke with a scratched throat and vigorous sniffle.

All week I hoarded kleenex, staging a patient but resolute defense against the medieval germs. While the symptoms were not intense, the bug proved to be an adept networker, spreading to my coworkers, my wife, and my wife's coworkers. Today, thirteen days after my first sneeze, I am cured.

Visitors to Versailles, be warned: behind the thick oak panels and priceless gold-foil detailing, under the rigid balustrades, within the mirrored halls, the decorative cornices and tasteful friezes, hidden in the greenery of the sculpted geometric gardens, microbes await.

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