Alright, it has been over a year, and I have yet to blog about one of the coolest things I have ever done in France. Last summer, I put on a blue brocade dress embroidered with little flowers, powdered my hair, and waltzed to Versailles to attend a masked ball. Yes, that is right- a masked ball dressed in marquis period clothing! It was honestly like stepping back in time or onto a movie set. Everyone was dressed in these unbelievable costumes with elaborate wigs, masks, panniers and more. It was something I will never forget, and it was well worth the ticket price.
I went with a group of people who organized the event on Meetup. I had never used the site before, but people kept recommending it to me as a great way to meet people. I had just moved to Paris a couple months before, and I was eager to see what it was all about. So, I saw this event, and I knew it was going to be something I had to do.
However, I did not buy a ticket until the week before, and I was lucky to find such a lovely costume. Most people get their’s months in advance, and a girl my size happened to not pick hers up when I went to go get it. I only spent 25 euro, but some people can easily spend hundreds on a really great costume. You can read all about my shopping here.
Everyone met up at a couple’s house who lived within walking distance of the chateau. We ate strawberries, drank champagne and tied each other into out stays and corsets. Before long, it was time to go off to the chateau!
Before the ball, everyone was invited to watch a fireworks show in the garden. We arrived drinking the last bits of our champagne and ran into the garden. It was unreal, and I can’t even begin to describe the atmosphere. People mingled and admired the costumes of those who really went all out like these guys:
As you can see, it was an amazing first impression. After the fireworks, we all gathered and walked towards the Orangerie. I was a little disappointed the ball was not in the Hall of Mirrors as the advertisement was shot there. However, I quickly got over my disappointment when I saw the inside of the event. A topless mermaid and two nearly naked men greeted us in a fountain as we descended the stairs. There were tigers, acrobats, and performers everywhere to create this huge carnival arranged by a famous French choreographer, Kamel Ouali (honestly, I still don’t really know him, but he is on France’s DWTS).
The rest of the night was a blur of dancing and crazy Vegas style performances. There were cabarets, aerial dancing, and more to keep us entertained all night long. The dance went until 5 a.m. when we were supposed to get breakfast. I was determined to stay to the end, but by that point all of the people I came with had left except one other girl. I talked her into staying even as we tried to fight sleeping like others in the maze of cushions and shrubberies at the entrance.
One girl used an Ikea lamp shade as her “gown.” I actually really loved it to be honest!
This guy easily had one of my favorite costumes, until I met his partner, the Sun King later that morning.
We wandered outside as the sun began to rise to take pictures. There was nobody around, and the entire garden seemed deserted except for the odd couple or so walking around. The lights in the ball room eventually turned off, and the music became softer as people were directed to another outside garden. My feet were killllinnng me, but I wanted to see what was going to happen. We get to a clearing and the music blaring as people queue up for coffee and croissants. I am sure it was lovely and lasted even longer, but by that point, this Cinderella needed to get home in her steel carriage.
There were many many men of the cloth. This was but a humble monk, but I saw many a pope and bishop among the parade.
Honestly, if you happen to be anywhere near France at the end of June, then book a ticket to this ball. It is honestly an event that cannot be missed. I went this year with one of my good friends, and we had quite the experience, but that is for another time 😉 I leave you with one of my favorite pictures of the night, me and the Sun King!