Palace of Versailles
The Château de Versailles is one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. The site began as Louis XIII's hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful.
In the 1670s Louis XIV built the Grand Apartments of the King and Queen, whose most emblematic achievement is the Hall of Mirrors designed by Mansart, where the king put on his most ostentatious display of royal power in order to impress visitors. The Chapel and Opera were built in the next century under Louis XV.
The château lost its standing as the official seat of power in 1789 but acquired a new role in the 19th century as the Museum of the History of France, which was founded at the behest of Louis-Philippe, who ascended to the throne in 1830. That is when many of the château's rooms were taken over to house the new collections, which were added to until the early 20th century, tracing milestones in French history.
The château, c.1630-1640
The Royal Walk
Franco-Prussian War 1870-71
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War was a significant conflict between the Second French Empire against the Kingdom of Prussia and its allies in the North German Confederation, as well as the South German states of Baden, Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse-Darmstadt. The conflict emerged from tensions regarding the German unification. A war against France was deemed necessary to unite the North German Confederation and the independent southern German states, while France was preoccupied by the emergence of a powerful Prussia. Over a five-month campaign, the German forces defeated the French armies in a series of battles fought across northern France. Following a prolonged siege, Paris fell on 28 January 1871. During the Siege of Paris on 18 January 1871, King Wilhelm I of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles.
French soldiers in the Franco-Prussian War 1870-71
Proclamation of the German Empire
Treaty of Versailles, 28 June 1919
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I were dealt with in separate treaties. Although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty.
Treaty of Peace
Signing the Treaty of Versailles in the Hall of Mirrors
From Hilversum to Saint Cyr l'École
On Saturday, 27 April 2013, Veleda and Rene departed early in the afternoon from Hilversum to Saint Cyr l'École. Saint Cyr l'École is an airfield west of the Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles), just outside the class A airspace of Paris. The circuit area of Saint Cyr l'École is over the west side of the gardens of Versailles (see map). The east side of the gardens and the palace itself may not be overflown. Upon arrival, we booked a hotel (plenty of hotels available), and we visited Versailles.
Crossing the Seine near Les Mureaux
Grand Trianon, Palace of Versailles
Rene at Saint Cyr l'Ecole airfield
Veleda in the gardens of Versailles
Rene and Veleda in Versailles
Veleda with the Palace of Versailles
The Battle of the Somme
The Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive, was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on either side of the River Somme in France, in the region between Albert and Peronne. The battle was one of the largest of World War I, in which several hundreds of thousands of mostly the attacking British and French forces were wounded or killed due to obsolete war tactics, making it one of humanity's bloodiest battles.
Battle of the Somme; map
The Lochnagar mine was an explosive-packed mine created by the Royal Engineer tunnelling companies, located south of the village of La Boisselle, which was detonated at 7:28 am on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The Lochnagar mine, along with a neighbouring mine north of the village known as the Y Sap mine, contained 24 tons of ammonal. At the time these mines were the largest ever detonated.
The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme is a major war memorial to 72,191 missing British and South African men who died in the Battles of the Somme with no known grave. It is near the village of Thiepval, Picardy in France. The Memorial was built approximately 200 metres to the south-east of the former Thiepval Château, which was located on lower ground, by the side of Thiepval Wood. The grounds of the original château were not chosen as this would have required the moving of graves dug during the war, around the numerous medical aid stations.
From Saint Cyr l'École to Hilversum
On Sunday morning, after breakfast in the hotel, we left for the airfield to return to Hilversum. The weather was marginal VMC, but it was a short flight to Pontoise airport where we fueled, and the weather improved rapidly. We made two other stops on airports we had not visited before, and a stop at Merville airport.
On the leg from Peronne to Merville we overflew the area where the battle of the Somme took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on either side of the river Somme.
The Battle of the Somme was one of the largest battles of the great war. We passed the Thiepval Memorial Memorial to the Missing of the Somme – a major war memorial to 72,191 missing British and South African men who died in the Battles of the Somme of the First World War between 1915 and 1918 with no known grave –, and the Notre Dame de Lorette, which is the world's largest French military cemetery.
At Merville airport we filed the cross-border flight plan to Hilversum. After 1 hour 10 minutes flying time from Merville we landed on Hilversum airfield.
Veleda on Saint Cyr l'École airfield
Arrived at Pontoise airport for fueling
Final runway 09 Peronne airport
Rene and Veleda on Peronne airport
Bray sur Somme and La Neuville lès-Bray
Veleda on Albert Bray airport
Notre Dame de Lorette
Rene on Merville, Calonne airport
Landing runway 25 Hilversum airfield
Veleda and Rene on Hilversum airfield