My inexplicable childhood obsession with Marie Antoinette was revived once I walked through the gates into Versailles. I remembered the drawings I did of her in sixth grade for a book report. Now, I was surrounded by the backdrops I had once doodled.

History comes alive when you walk through the palace. Its impossible not to imagine mobs of revolutionaries, fed up with “eating cake,” shoving past you as you navigate the halls. An audio-guide mentioned the rooms Marie Antoinette had decorated and I could almost see her ordering someone to find the right drapery. Her bedroom and her bed were still intact. She walked where I walked. I could see the door she would have slipped through to try to escape.

Knowing the end of the story, I don’t know why I had such a fascination with her. I’ll blame the book I read in sixth grade. I think it focused on her childhood rather than her beheading. Still, striding through the gardens I couldn’t help but think that it would have been nice to be royalty. Surrounded by flowers and trimmed hedges, looking out to what looked like miles of topiary and lakes, kept pristine just for you to enjoy, followed by the wild hills of France in the background, the gardens were the most tranquil part of my initial trip. I could have stayed there a lifetime.

Unfortunately, my camera died steps into the palace so I only have a few photos to show for the day, until I steal some I took with my mother’s camera, but there really is no way to capture the overwhelming nature of everything about Versailles in a photograph, or a few paragraphs for that matter.