JUNE 29, 1950
PARIS, Wednesday—Sunday morning we went to the American church and walked along Avenue George V, past number 37 so that I could show my grandchildren where my husband's aunt, Mrs. Forbes, had lived, since they had heard both of us speak of our frequent visits to her in the past. We drove out through the Park of St. Cloud to Versailles. A lovely drive and just at the time when many people were beginning to gather for the afternoon races. We had lunch at the newly reopened Palais Trianon in Versailles. We saw the tablet commemorating the presentation, to the Germans, of the peace conditions in the presence of the heads of States, including Woodrow Wilson and M. Clemenceau. This tablet was taken away by the Germans when France surrendered in World War II, but was later found in Germany and restored to its original place.
After lunch we set forth on a tour of Versailles. We were shown some of the small apartments, the queens' rooms, which have just been restored, and the chapel.
The amount of harm done by the German occupation to an old palace like Versailles is, of course, incalculable, and will take a long time to repair. Little by little the work of restoring the palace itself goes on, but a great deal still remains to be done even in the grounds. They are so vast that there is an enormous amount to be seen in spite of the disorder.
We went on a personally conducted tour with the commandant of the guard, and he told us about the statues, and took us to hidden spots in the wooded areas which would have been hard to find without a guide. There are beautiful grass terraces where in the olden days the courtiers sat and the King's chair was put under a marble statue. These terraces have been the scene of concerts and banquets. And dinners are still served here for the very important people.
We visited the Petit Trianon and saw Marie Antoinette's little theatre. This is all made of wood, with wonderful acoustics. This week there are to be two performances in the theatre on Tuesday and Thursday nights and everyone who is fortunate enough to obtain a seat will certainly be there. The theatre only holds 250 people.
The whole day was a very pleasant one, ending with watching the last of the fountain displays at the Neptune basin which is, I think, quite the most beautiful of all the water displays.
I have just finished John Gunther's book on my husband. The last half appears to me very good indeed because John Gunther knew so much about the war, and, by that time he had met my husband, so his observations could be very accurate. It is a real contribution, I think, to the books that may be classed as good background material for future historians.