Although we visited Versailles during winter we spent an hour walking around the famous Gardens of the palace because we’ve heard so much about them.
Of course, you can walk only a small part of the gardens because they are really big, spread away on thousands of acres. During the warmer months you may want to try the little tram that will take you also to the Trianons (we didn’t go there this time).
There are a lot of fountains but none of them had water :( It seems they are operating only a small period in april. The big lake (pic 3) is 1.7 long but some tree paths (pic 4) or the symmetry of the gardens are also impressive.
The gardens are open daily 7.00 to sunset weather permitting.
It seems renting a bike is the best way to enjoy the gardens but we didn’t even think about on cold winter day.
Versailles is a small town situated 25 km away from Paris. It’s an easy day trip by train. Go early because there are long lines. Upon our arrival we first went to the Tourist Information (across the street from the train station) and we bought our tickets there in less than 5’!
The palace opens at 9:00 but there were people already at the palace.
There are different tickets depending what you want to see (the palace, the gardens, the trianons), it was very cold so we decided to enjoy only the palace and part of the gardens so we payed €15 (but those who were under 24 didn’t pay anything, they just showed their ids at the gate!).
It was just 5’ walk from the Info until we saw the statue of Louis XIV (pic1), 2’ later we crossed the golden gate and went to the right and started exploring the palace. One of the first rooms was one of the most impressive too. It’s the Chapelle Royale (pic 2) where the king used to visit every morning at 10.00.
The palace is huge, it has about 700 rooms but you can see only some of them. Most of the rooms/halls are filled with paintings, sculptures, tapestries, amazing murals, rare furniture etc Famous Italian and French artists made great job in here, it seems the kings had a lot of money to pay for all these great pieces of art :) The palace was built in 17th century, expanded many times and has more than 2000 windows and 1250 fireplaces!
I had a feeling everyone was running to see the Hall of Mirrors which is the highlight in the palace but in the way you will miss a lot of great corners (pic 3).
That’s why you have to read a guide book or use the audio guide, some paintings in the palace have long stories behind them, so we went slowly and enjoyed our tour and when we finally reached the Hall Of Mirrors we just stayed for some minutes because it was full of people (pic 4) and you cant really admire the 17 mirrors that face 17 windows. The rooms of King and Queen (pic 5) weren’t as impressive as we thought but as I said what I really loved were the details here and there.
The palace is open Tuesday-Sunday 9.00-18.30(until 17.30 october-april)
During my visit to Paris in November 2009, I joined a Versailles Walking Tour where we walked around the gardens and parks and learnt about its history.
The grounds were designed by Andre Le Notre where the Grand Canal covers the grounds along with it's manicured formal gardens, hidden groves and pathways.
On a future visit I plan to visit the Palace itself and a day trip worth doing from Paris.
The crowds at Versailles really lightened up as the day wore on and by 6pm it was quiet (on a Wednesday). At 6pm we ended up renting bicycles and riding all around the wooded area and lake. It was very quiet and peaceful about the grounds, with only a few locals jogging, cycling or dog-walking. We ended up with great pictures and a whole different perspective on Versailles. On your way out, and when you're walking back towards the train, stop at the nice hotel and have a cocktail in the comfortable lounge!
We went to Versailles. We walked to Versailles from the train station and stood in a queue for two hours! All for, you guessed it, a metal detector scan. Unfortunately, there aren't many interesting shops in the Versailles courtyard, and it was cold, so we were pretty cranky by the time we got inside. To top it off, all the audio tours were gone, so we just walked through, reading the English pamphlet and the guide book we had. Our son was amused by the cherubs holding floor lamps (actually he was amused by the cherub backsides). We didn't bother with the gardens (after all we had stood outside for two hours already and it is winter). There were a couple of paintings there that were also in the Louvre - which were the originals? Mostly Napoleon paintings - coronation and several battle scenes.
The Palace of Versailles, or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles, the Île-de-France region of France. In French, it is known as the Château de Versailles.
When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, however, it is a suburb of Paris, some twenty kilometers southwest of the French capital. The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.
It was with great expectations that we waited for a sunny day to visit Versailles and its lovely gardens that we heard so much of. So early morning when I noticed the sun was shining for a change, I woke everyone up and said, get ready, we are going to Versailles. I must admit, I was rather dissapointed. Comparing it to St Petershof, it comes second in my book. Also, all the fountains were turned off, so how can you enjoy the gardens if the fountains are turned off? We were told that they only turn them on, on a Sunday, when we got there, so why was this not advertised? Anycase, I still enjoyed my day there and I know that you should not compare things. Viva la Versailles!!!!
This is a huge place, and you can only view some ( a few) of the inside rooms, and it takes a long time to get to the front of the line. Reservations for tickets should be made ahead of time. If you would rather, go view the gardens in the backyard and Maria Antoinette's serenity place. Even if you get there early in the morning, there are lines stacking up quickly, and even reserved tickets can be a problem, in that they are not necessarily. It is said to be the largest in the world, and must be bigger than Schoenbrunn. There are 700 rooms and 2,000 windows ringing the courtyard and for views to the gardens, which is 1800 acres. It was started as a hunting lodge in 1623 by King Louis XIII, to get out of the city and relax. It continued to grow, and in 1682 was designated the official residence. The problem is then the royalty were out of touch with the society in the city and in time they paid for that with lives. It became a museum in 1837, not long after the Revolution of 1792.
Louis XIV created this Palace in 1661 and what a splendid job he did too. Many additions and building campaigns have been added over the decades however.
The Palace itself is a sumptous and lavish collection of rooms beautifully complete with painting and furnishings of the time. It is howver absolutely jam packed with tourists and tour parties.
The chateau is massive, there are over 700 rooms, 2143 windows, 1252 fireplaces, and 67 staircases. Some of the areas are outstanding such as the Hall of Mirrors, Salon of Hercules and Queens Apartments.
The gardens are also vast and include roughly 1400 fountains using water pumped up from the Seine.
The Palace has seen some significant diplomatic occasions such as the signing of the WWI treaty and the treaty by Britain recognising America as an independent nation.
The Chateau has to be seen to be believed and makes a fantastic day trip from Paris.
The Palace of Versailles is located about 20km southwest of Paris, and is a very popular day trip from Paris. Louis XIV commissioned the building of the great Chateau of Versailles in the 17th Century.
From that time until the French Revolution, the government and the French aristocracy were centered in Versailles. Known for its beautiful architecture and opulent extravagance (like the famous Hall of Mirrors), Versailles attracts visitors from around the world.
Versailles was the center of French government for over 150 years until the French Revolution. The palace housed over 3,000 nobles, officials, and staff and money were not spared.
The comparison between the relatively modest room of the queen at the Petit Trianon and the royal apartments of the Palace of Versailles is striking. The small dimensions of the bed of the queen in her room at the Petit Trianon show well that here she lived as a single woman away off her royal husband.
It is known that Marie-Antoinette in her married life had known a humiliating experience. Louis XVI had been unable during 7 years to consummate the marriage. This was known in France as well as from all royal courts of Europe.
The room is entirely authentic, the furniture of origin was found, repurchased and restored. It is refined furniture signed Georges Jacob. The clock of the Queen decorated with the two eagles of the house of Austria is back on its site.
Contiguous to this room is the cabinet “of the moving mirrors” who by means of a system of sliding slopes allowed the queen to shut her windows when she wanted to isolate herself.b%
In the beginning the castle of the Petit Trianon was built (1768) for the marquise de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV. But she died before the end of the works and was replaced by, Madame Du Barry, who succeeded as favourite until the death of the king Louis XV in 1774. The castle was built in a Neo-Greek style by the architect Angel-Jacques Gabriel; it is a masterpiece which breaks with the rococo style.
However today the Petit Trianon is closely associated with the person of queen Marie-Antoinette. She received the property from her husband king Louis XVI.
She made it her intimate refuge far from the protocol and the pageantry of the court of Versailles. She had the Petit Trianon refurnished, redecorated and she refitted the gardens. The whole at a high cost.
Only her friends were invited. The excluded and jealous French nobility took umbrage at the Petit Trianon and called it “Small Vienna”. Marie-Antoinette did not realize that her retirement and the committed expenses were going to crystallize all criticisms against her palace. While isolating herself from the French nobility the Queen would find herself without her natural supports when the revolution burst out.
On the first floor the Living room called "Salon de Compagnie", decorated with splendid woodworks carved by Guibert, is one of the most beautiful rooms of the castle. The pieces of furniture are contemporary of Marie-Antoinette.
The palace here is amazing, of course. It was a great day trip, and I came home ready to re-learn some of the French history I'd forgotten since high school. I was glad we'd walked with a guide - there really is so much in the palace to see. It may be well worth hiring the hand held guides that are usually available.
But, remember, the palace isn't the only thing in the town. Wander some of the side streets and enjoy the amazing food and atmosphere that's easy to find.
The visit of the “Grands Appartments du Roi” begins with this splendid and large "Hercules drawing-room" at the junction of the central body and the northern wing.
This room built between 1712 and 1736 by Robert de Cotte occupies the site of a former chapel. It is remarkable by the decoration of the walls with marble of various colours, the many pilasters with the Corinthian style capitals of gilded bronze and especially by its marble chimney decorated with splendid bronzes of Antoine Vassé evoking Hercules. On top of the chimney hangs a painting of Veronese “Rebecca and Eliézer”.
On the wall opposite the chimney hangs another large Veronese “the Meal at Simon the Pharisee” offered to Louis XIV by the Republic of Venice in 1664.
Still more remarkable is the ceiling painted by François Moyne representing the Apotheosis of Hercules. This immense painting painted with oil on strengthened canvas was extremely admired in its time but the painter exhausted by his work committed suicide whereas he had received the title of “First Painter of the King”.
It is in this room that took place the ball given by Louis XV for the marriage of his eldest daughter Elisabeth with the Infant of Spain in 1739.
The festivities, there were many in this room, were lit by candles what fouled up the vault and the painting of Le Moyne whose restoration of 480 m2 at a height of 15 m was finished in 2001.
The Hercules Drawing-Room is one of the most remarkable parts of the Royal apartments and deserves a somewhat lengthier visit. The light is very beautiful as the "Salon d'Hercule" is exposed to the east and the west.
The Chapel royal at Versailles is consecrated to Saint Louis (that is to say Louis IX of France, the French monarchy's crusader king). The chapel features a tribune on the same level as the royal apartments, overlooking the nave. That is where Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI attended daily mass, an important moment in a king's day. They only descended to the center of the nave for major liturgical ceremonies. Normally, the nave was occupied by the courtiers, who remained standing while the ladies of the Court filled the lateral galleries. Members of the Chapel music, renowned throughout Europe, occupied the steps surrounding the organ.