Foucault’s pendulum, named after the French physicist Léon Foucault, is a simple device conceived as an experiment to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth. While it had long been known that the Earth rotated, the introduction of the Foucault pendulum in 1851 was the first simple proof of the rotation in an easy-to-see experiment.
The first public exhibition of a Foucault pendulum took place in February 1851 in the Meridian of the Paris Observatory. A few weeks later Foucault made his most famous pendulum when he suspended a 28 kg brass-coated lead bob with a 67 meter long wire from the dome of the Panthéon, Paris. The plane of the pendulum’s swing rotated clockwise 11° per hour, making a full circle in 32.7 hours.(Wikipedia)
We saw this when we visited the Pantheon a few years back. What a sign! I stood and watched and took photos as I watched the pendulum inch itself along the degree marks. Foucault’s pendulum had tucked itself away in my knowledge bank for a long time, a miracle I wanted to see. And seeing it felt like I’d completed some circuit of my own.
At the end of our trip to Paris a couple of years ago, we went out to Versailles. We were both too tired to tackle the full palace but walked down the back steps and along the pathway bordering the reflecting pools. I wanted to see Marie Antoinette‘s Petit Trianon more than anything else. The 2006 film, Marie Antoinette directed by Sofia Coppola, had captured my fantasy and fancy. I could understand wanting to run away from Versailles to a more simple spot although the Petit Trianon, while much simpler than Versailles, is hardly our camper up on the farm.
So here are three “beyond” photos from our journey.
The first is a small bridge, easily overlooked, on the walk from Versailles’ reflecting pools to Petit Trianon. I stared beyond the stone bridge into the surrounded wooded area and wondered who took this path – servants? Lovers? Couriers? Marie’s small carriage rushing to escape echoing, grand halls? Sunlight poured into the glade, hiding footsteps and stories.
Petit Trianon is not petite and I don’t know how we came upon this next passageway. I wondered what lay beyond the end of the corridor and around the corner. I could have gone to see, but I felt caught up in mystery, as if we were walking through ghosts and whispers, as if I would disturb some delicate balance if I were to enter this stone corridor.
And then, at last we found what is said to be her bedroom and a window looking out over rose gardens and her Temple of Love, there, beyond the roses. The glass old, wavery and watery, with shifting images depending on the angle where you stood. And just at the edge of the wooden sash, a figure, or partial figure, beyond what I could see or know.