Travel Is Tiring!

And distracting! My trip has been going well, with about 1.5 weeks in France — aday and a half in Paris, then a walking tour in the Dordogne/Perigord, then another day and a half in Paris. Now I’m in London – home on Tuesday.

But on to the costume content! Last Sunday I met Marion, Becca, Delphine, and Chloe for our trip to Versailles. I hauled my polonaise around with me (which wasn’t too bad – it all amazingly fit into a daypack, including my flat straw hat). As I predicted, the cotton packed well. The night before I set my hair in sponge rollers, which I slept in; got up early to get dressed and do hair in my tiny hotel room. I met the others at my hotel and then we took the train out to Versailles. Long story short, we got to Versailles and they wouldn’t let us in in costume. razzrrarrrazzzzarr!! So we ended up at a nearby park (which was originally part of Versailles) with a big lake, where we had our picnic and took a bunch of photos. Then we changed (literally on the side of the road!) and tried to go into Versailles, but there were various hassles with the luggage storage being miles away and us totally exhausted and with lots of stuff to carry. So we accepted our defeat and headed back to Paris. Oh well, it was still lots of fun to meet everyone and to play dress up at what was technically Versailles1 Next time I’ll get into the palace!

Tuesday night we had dinner with Bess, Edmund, and Kate which was lovely. Today Kate and I headed out to Bath to see the costume museum and Jane Austen centre. The costume museum is being redisplayed, much more extensively than their website led us to believe, so there wasn’t a lot to see — although what was out was very nice. A small mish mash of different eras plus a nice exhibit on pockets. The JA centre was pretty hokey; luckily they had an exhibit of dresses from the recent ITV production of Persuasion costumed by Andrea Galer, as well as a few dresses from her work on the feature film Mansfield Park. Oh well, obviously I need to go to Chawton on my next trip to get my Austen fix! None of the dresses were terribly exciting, although they did have relatively nice cuts and evidence of hand stitching.

This weekend is the bustle costume activity with Edmund, Bess, and Valina – details forthcoming! I’ll post photos from all of these activities, as well as my museum trawls, as soon as I get back.

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  • Reply Trystan L. Bass June 7, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Wouldn’t let you in wearing costumes?!?!?! Quelle horror!!!! You’ll have to tell me all about it. I thot only DisneyLand was a PITA like that. Shocking.

  • Reply ashamanja babu June 8, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    How could they not let you in? Did they say why?

  • Reply Anonymous June 8, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Sorry that you didn’t get to tour Versailles in your lovely costumes. You all looked lovely!

    I might be able to shed some light on why Versailles wouldn’t allow you fetching ladies tour in costume. I work for Colonial Williamsburg, and while we DO allow visitors to wear costumes while on site and even invite certain reenactment groups to participate in some programming we offer, I know other museums don’t allow costumes for a variety of reasons. Some living history sites, like Plimouth Plantation, don’t allow costumes because they don’t want other visitors to mistake the costumed guest for an employee. They have no control of what the costumed guest says or does. Colonial Williamsburg has had to deal with such issues, as when the drunk reenactor threw up on a guest (and this was mid-afternoon!). The guest didn’t know that the reenactor wasn’t an employee — she saw a man in back-then clothes and assumed he was a CW employee.
    Monticello doesn’t allow people in costume because they don’t want to distract from thier programming or to dishonor the memory of Thomas Jefferson (Really! a friend of mine was told this by a staff member; Monticello has some older board members…). And other museums don’t allow costumes because they take up too much room. Not that Versailles is small or that many Americans aren’t rather large on thier own, but poket hoops and bustles can mistakenly knock something over. And costumes provide a lot of hiding places if some dubious costumer decides to steal something. CW always has a spike in theft, from our stores, our restuarants and our trade shops, when there are a bunch of reenactors in town. Picnics are also often restricted, except in designated areas, because trash is frequently left behind; food scraps add to pest problems which can affect buildings and gardens; alcohol can be a problem either because too much is consumed by the picnicers or it is not consumed in a public area approved for alcohol consumption (you know how you have to get a permit to serve alcohol for your outoor reception?); and large groups of people with coolers and cole slaw don’t add much to the ambiance. You would have made a pretty picture, but imagine the front lawn of Mount Vernon covered with red lawn chairs, coolers and shirtless hairy bellied people playing frisbee. Not so pretty. :)

    Anyway, thought I would give you some idea of why many museums prohibit costumes, even those as beautiful as the ones you all wore. thanks for sharing pictures!

    I don’t have a web site, though do keep a lame lj account as “marcine”.

  • Reply Christine June 9, 2007 at 9:37 am

    I clicked on Marion and saw the photos of you all. I’ve admired your work for ages, and all I can say is WOW! What a shame you couldn’t tour the actual palace, but at least you got to take some great pictures beside the lake and in the grounds. The group photos are particulary lovely where we can see a variety of costumes together. Cheers from cold and wet Sydney Australia, Christine.

  • Reply Phil June 11, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Poor Kendra! It’s a pity they didn’t want let you in! but really I thought it would be like this around there. I know they spent a lot of money on restorations for fountains or doors or gardens or statues but costuming is prohibited of course. Logical for them but for us? Anyway it seems you had a great time and that’s great. All the dresses are very nice. And I also like the picture in front of a castle in England, it displays you bustle dress very well. Hello from tropical Belgium.Phil.

  • Reply Anonymous June 12, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    Hiya, saw the photos from England, they are lovely!
    Just one quick question, the hotel you stayed at in Paris, the room, was it single or double? Thanks!
    Can’t wait to see your photos!

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