Cant write enough ,its still my home for almost 9 years, and again today (busy day for visiting friends indeed), its magical wonderful and when you live here and see the world stops by, its gives me goosebumps. There is no words to say, its just one of those places on earth you must see at least once,and if you are lucky enough to see it every day, then blow my mind.
2143 windows, 1252 fireplaces, and 67 staircases. The gardens included roughly 1400 fountains, using water pumped up from the Seine. The length of the garden front is 670 meters.
There is so much written on it, here and elsewhere, no sense repeating, but if you want to know the tidbits often not written or places often not shown to the general public let me know, always glad to talk about the Palace of Versailles.
Let's see my best writing so far on my castle. The wonderful Salon de Mars, see the wonderful painting, La Famille de Darius aux pieds d’Alexandre (1660) with the eyes of Louis XIV at Chateau de Fontainebleau done by Charles Le Brun, who had done Vaux-le-Vicomte,and also did the galerie d’Apollon at Louvre and considered the best French painter of the 17C.See the marble floors between the Salon de Mars and Salon de Diane in the Grand Appartement du roi; known as the Versailles style parquets, done first in 1684 by Jules Hardouin-Mansart. on the ceiling of the Salon d’Apollon see the Apollon conduisant le char du soleil (1671-1678) just to imitate the father in law known in Spain as the planet king, so Louis XIV (married to Spanish queen Maria Thérese or in Spanish Maria Teresa, and where all Spanish bourbons kings descend today such as Juan Carlos I) . Move on to the same salon de Diane to see the work on the doors by the stairs de Maréchaux ,see the reliefs on the doors, the stairs was destroyed in 1752, the reliefs stayed on. It is now a small replica there and copy at the Chateau d’Herrenchiemsee in Germany.
At the north wing, on the rooms of the 17C, you see the great courts of the portraits of woman of the court of Louis XIV; It is the room of beauties done in 1663, such as the duchess of La Valliére, Henriette of England, Princesse de Soubise or Princess of Monaco, Marie Mancini, or Anne Marie Martinozzi. Lovely indeed. At the cour de l’Hymen by the stair of the queen you see a trophy en metal cover with copper and lead, showing the marriage of Louis XIV to his cousin Marie-Thérese d’Austria to reconcile the quarrels between France and Spain done at St Jean de Luz in signing the treaty of the Pyrénées in 1659. You see the fatality of queens at the ceilings of the antichambre d grand couvert, grand appartement de la reine ,gorgeous. Go on to the first antichambre du roi done in 1686, vast and beautiful.
The magnificent galerie des glaces done in 1681-1684, with 73 meters long and a canopy of almost 1000 square meters, as well as the ceilings of the salon de l’Abondance, grand appartement du roi. Here see the wonderful office cabinet furniture done in 1708. See the Salon de l’oeil de Boeuf, on the second antichambre in the appartement du roi; white ceilings done in 1701 but richly decorated along the walls. See the wonderful bedroom of Louis XIV at the appartement du roi. Here the king died on Sept 1st, 1715 after 60 years of reign.
There is a big oval encrusted painting showing Louis XV offrering peace to Europe in 1729 in the Salon de la Paix(peace) that follows the Salon de la Guerre(war) to the Grand Appartements. You,also, see the calendars for the anniversaires of the chapel of the king, see at the Sacristie des Musiciens near the tribunes of the chapel done by 1770. You can see the bedroom of Louis XV by the interior appartement du roi,the king uses it from age 27,and he died there May 10, 1774, Louis XVI continue its use, one of the places in the castle where few could entered.
See the wonderful dining room or salle à manger des retours de chasse in the interior appartement du roi; done in 1750 and held until 1769 the diners after his returns from hunting. There is a nice room call the Cabinet de l’appartement de Madame de Pompadour, in the small appartement du roi in the attic, on top of the salon de la guere. Here many rdv was held by the king and woman including putting here Mme de Pompadour,(real name Jeanne Antoinette Poisson), entered in the courts of Versailles in 1745, and lived her first five years in the castle here, she even had a small chapel once becoming a duchesse in 1752, she takes a jesuist as confessor in 1756, and while she was sick the king allows her to finish here in 1764, the only person of non royal blood to died in the castle, the king later said, ” Here is all the honors that I can give her, a friend of 20 years”.
You can see the library, in the appartement du Dauphin, or heir to the throne, done in 1750, served for he of Louis XV and Louis XVI. The Grand Dauphin died at 49 in 1711 four years before Louis XIV while his son Philippe V or Felipe V ascend to the throne of Spain. You can see a wonderful pending clock or the pendule astronomique de passemant (1730-1740) at the Cabinet de la Pendule, interior appartement du roi. Given to the royal academy of sciences in 1749 it put here by Louis XV in 1754. It is programmable to be used until 9999! At the time it gave the time in the kingdom of France. You can see the library and bathroom of Madame du Barry, petit appartement du roi (second floor french ,3rd floor US), before becoming the favorite of king Louis XV, she was a saleslady in a boutique n the rue saint honoré de Paris. Louis XV keeps her at the age of 25 when she came to lived in the castle. In kicking out Madame du Barry by Louis XVI he takes over the room and you now see the Grand Cabinet in the appartement du Comte de Maurepas, the advisor to king Louis XVI not a good one after his bad advice Versailles came from being the birthplace of the monarchy to its tomb.
Another favorite is the Salle à manger des Porcelaines, or porcelain dining room. It was the last dining room used by Louis XV after his hunting runs, and later became a formal dining room under Louis XVI;its in the interior appartement du roi. Another favorite item is the chandelier or imperiale du lit de Marie Antoinette n the bedroom of the queen. The room has been done exactly as the last day the queen use it on October 6, 1789. Furniture is from 1787 and the bed is from 1769 all renovated. Just think here 19 royal children of France including Louis XV ,and Felipe V of Spain were born. Come to see the Cabinet Doré , interior cabinets of the queen, done in 1783, one of the most beautiful piece of the queen, the harp was done in 1774.
There is a passage from the bedroom of the queen(chambre de la reine) and the Salon de l’oeil de Boeuf; early on October 6, 1789 the queen was awaken by a large noise, the Parisiens arrives, the Salles des Gardes there was havoc, the room ladies help Marie Antoinette opening the small door to the left of her bed,and she takes leaves by the passages that led to the bedroom of the king. They met there in the passages, while the crowds gather at the cour des marbres and invades the castle. From the king’s bedroom (chambre du roi), La Fayette( he who help the US independance as lafayette) and a few granadiers battle the insurgents protecting the royals ,while they arrive at the salon de l’Oeil de Boeuf. They needed to leave Versailles…
You come to another of my favorites, the Galerie des Batailles or the battle gallery, at the central wing or aile du midi, (1 floor or 2nd Fl US) You see 16 paintings in bronce done from 1834-1836 with engraving of 528 names: 36 princes of the royal house, 10 admirals, 6 connatables,25 mariscals, 33 warriors,18 commanders, and 400 officers dead in combat for France. It describes the military history from Clovis to Napoleon, with 92 busts and 33 paintings of famous battles including the famous USA battle for indepedance at Yorktown. See the magnificent Porte de l’Hospice des Chevaliers de Saint Jean de Jerusalem; at the salles des Croisades, the door is sculpture in cedar wood and bath of bronze from Rhodes Greece dating from 1512! ,from 1837-1839 the room was embellished with 150 paintings representing the period of the crusades. Right around there, see the stair or Escalier de l’attique Chimay, to go to the attic Chimay, that extend the one of the queen done during the time of Louis XIV, but the king Louis Philippe, does from 1833-1837 true marble of colors and dust with a paste that gives the impression of seeing glass. The lady in room of Marie Antoinette was to have live here 14 years but actually stayed in the attic of the central wing just behind the glasses of the galerie des batailles/ So her name princess of Chimay,Laure-Auguste de Fitz-James who never lived here but the name stayed on. See the sculptures des Grands Hommes de France, galerie de Pierre, north wing 1 fl or aile nord. four galleries of stones, done in 1776 for the grand galerie du louvre but by Louis XVI here. The project of a museum to the great man of France is the idea of the assamblée Générale that in 1791 starts the Central Museum of the Arts, and on 1797 Versailles welcome the special museum of the French School of Arts. The most remarkable of the statues sculpture here is that made in marble of Joanne d’Arc done by Marie d’Orléans second daughter of the king Louis Philippe done in 1837.
The French republic is ,also,here, the aile du midi or the middle wing served until 1958 to hold the National elections to hold the parlamentarians that came here to name a President of France. You see the mongrams FF as not to confused the R with the republican party of France, see it at the corniche de la Salle du Congrés du Parlement de Versailles, aile d midi or middle wing. Same wing, see the Pavillon de Provence, the Bureau or cabinet du Président du Congrés or e l’Investiture. The old salon of the countess of Provence came to be under the IV République Française the working office of the president of the National Assembly or Assamblée Nationale. From the 1879 to 1953 14 presidents of France were elected here! Now is the lieu of work when the French constitution needs revision,changes or amenmends.
The palace has two floors. On the ground floor there are dophin apartments - royal children. On the second floor there are main apartments, and also apartments of the king and the queen. Besides in the left wing of a building the Museum of history of France is located. the main apartments and the Museum of history are opened for free visiting without a guide.
You can watch my 5 min 30 sec Video Versailles Palace out of my Youtube channel.
wonderful and glorious, the history of a country n a castle museum. Yes the power of the rulers in a magnificent castle to surpassed any, and then save under the Republic by a smart king Louis Philippe who in 1837 created a museum to preserve the glory of France.
You must see it to believe it. Its a huge property even today at 37 hectares from the original 807 but it is my backyard for almost 9 years now, if need detail info let me know.
UPDATES FOR 2011.
On the left A = Palace main entrance for individual visitors with tickets.
Tickets for individual visitors are sold at the Billeterie, building on the left called aile Sud des Ministres - South Ministers' Wing.
If you came only to visit the Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate purchase your tickets directly at the entrance of the Grand Trianon or Marie-Antoinette's Estate.
On the right B = Groups access.
OPENING TIMES :
1/11 - 31/03/2011
Every day except Mondays, 9 – 17.30 h
Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate.
Every day except Mondays, 12 – 17.30 h
Garden and Park.
Every day except Mondays, 8 – 18 h.
1/04 - 31/10/2011
Every day except Mondays, 9 – 18.30.
Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate.
Every day except Mondays, 12 – 18.30 h.
Garden and Park.
Open every day, 8 – 20.30 h
CLOSING DATES: 1/01, 25/04, 1/05, 13/06, 15/08, 25/12/2011.
The info hereafter for 2008 is outdated but I keep it as a souvenir.
Just back from a visit to Versailles (22/07/2008) I observed that a number of information given on the official website is not actual anymore.
When you pass the exterior gate you will have on the left (photo 1) a red panel indicating Billets - Tickets > where you have to buy your ticket (this is unchanged). On the right of that panel stands one with indication A > this entrance is for all individuals having a ticket or a Paris museum pass (photo 2 at 4 pm.).
There is no gate C anymore for the Paris Museum Pass in contradiction with what your will read on the Paris museum pass and previous info from Versailles website. On the extreme right is the entrance for groups.
As more and more visitors buy their ticket in advance you find already a line at 9 hour at the opening of the gate A >. Here visitors pass in a prefab "pavilion" with 3 detector frames (photo 3). They check your bag.
From here you can go where you want, usually the circuit of the "Château de Versailles" with the highlights "Galerie des Glaces" and "Chambre du Roi".
The crowds at the Château de Versailles attain a maximum in summer season, by nice weather (no fun to visit the kilometres of gardens in the rain), and on Tuesday when the Louvre is closed.
Don't think that there will be no lines in the late afternoon. My pic n°4 shows a 200 m line for buying tickets at 16.30 h but on an exceptional sunny day.
In the time of King Louis XIV till Louis XVI an 80 m length monumental gate separated the Main courtyard from the Royal Court. The gate was created by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart about 1680 and was destroyed by the revolutionaries in 1789.
The reconstitution of this Royal Gate started in 2006 and was ended in July 2008. It required 15 tons of iron and the cooperation of the best craftsmen of this art. The gilders patiently applied by hand 100.000 gold sheets. These gold leaves measure 8 X 8 cm and have only 2 microns thickness!
The courtyard of the Château de Versailles appears like it was prior to the French Revolution but there have been a number of critics in France about this reconstitution.
The bronze equestrian statue of Louis XIV set up at this spot in 1836 by king Louis-Philippe has been removed and is being restored. The famous statue, so often photographed by tourists, will not return to its original site now occupied by the restored gate but will be located on the Place d'Armes directly in the axis of the castle.
Sous l'ancien régime un grille monumentale de 80 m de long séparait la Cour d'Honneur de la Cour Royale. Elle fut créée par l'architecte Jules Hardouin-Mansart vers 1680 et détruite à la révolution en 1789.
Sa reconstitution s'est terminée en juillet 2008. Elle a nécessité 15 tonnes de fer et le concours des meilleurs artisans de cet art. Les doreurs ont patiemment appliqués 100.000 feuilles d'or à la main. Ces feuilles d'or mesurent 8 x 8 cm et ont une épaisseur de seulement 2 microns!
La statue équestre en bronze de Louis XIV que le roi Louis-Philippe avait fait ériger en 1836 à l'emplacement de la grille disparue a été enlevée et est actuellement en cours de restauration. Les photos de cette statue publiées encore récemment ici ne sont donc pas des plus actuelles mais il est dit que la célèbre statue de Louis XIV sera placée sur la Place d'Armes dans l'axe du château.
Just looking at the painted frescos on the ceilings of the many rooms in the palace is an experience in and of itself. There is also a great abundance of woodwork containing royal symbols an decoration.
The present chapel is the 5th built at Versailles, in 1689-1699, and consecrated in 1710. It is the tallest room in the palace, disrupting the roof-line of the rest of the building.
Decorations throughout the chapel incorporate both Old and New Testament themes.
The sunburst above the altar contains the Tetragrammaton, WHWH, Hebrew letters representing God's name, which in English is translated Jehovah.
We saw Versailles on a hot and sunny June Saturday. Needless to say, it was crowded. Our entrance to the palace was delayed on account of a union "situation". Although we arrived at 10:30 the line at the entrance was at a standstill but fortunately, said situation was resolved within around 20 minutes.
That being said, even though we had a delay and the crowds seemed astronomical in proportion, Versailles is fabulous! This is why I took many, many photos and posted them in my travelogues. Hope you enjoy.
The Palace and grounds are the main or perhaps only reason why visitors to Paris make the trek out to Versailles. Even though the palace is partially under construction and seems that it has been for awhile and will be for awhile longer, it's still one of the grandest palaces in Europe thanks to the Sun King (Louis XIV) and his heirs.
I think most visitors follow the same path through the Palace and grounds, start first with the Palace and then onto the gardens and finally to the Grand and Petit Trianon which in those days without modern transport seemed far enough away from the Palace to be a retreat for the kings and queens who got tired of courtiers and decadent palace life.
You can easily spend most of the day here if you see everything there is to see, come armed with a prepurchased pass and avoid the ticket lines, come armed with a picnic lunch and you can enjoy eating it along the banks of the grand canal under the shade of a tree.
After collecting our headsets, the Royal Chapel was the 1st room on the tour of the interior of the Palace. You can't enter the chapel so you and 50 other people will likely be jostling each other in the entrance way in order to try and snap a photo. The architecture is both gothic with stained glass, and gargoyles and baroque with carved pillars, painted vaults, and marble tiling.
The last three kings, Louis XIV, VX and XVI, attended mass here on the upper level of the chapel, the downstairs nave was filled with courtiers and ladies of the court.
If you see one chateau in France, then make it this one. The Palace of Versailles was built for the most absolute ruler that France has ever known, the one who said "I am the State". Louis XIV came to power at a young age, and had to have a regent to manage the government until his adulthood.
During this period, he survived a revolt by the nobility called La Fronde. He never forgot it. So upon his ascension to power, he made the nobles move to Versailles where he could keep a close watch on all of them. "Keep your friends close," the saying goes, "and your enemies closer." Therefore, the palace was built not just for King Louis, but his nobles. And he kept track of them all the time.
Work on the palace began in 1661, and continued for many years. Some additions were made after the death of King Louis. The King's quarters are, of course, exquisitely beautiful. The ceilings have all kinds of fine artwork. Of particular interest is the Hall of Mirrors. Built for special events, this is where the modern nation of Germany was officially founded, right after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.
The gardens and fountains are magnificent. Do try to pick a bright sunny day to go.
I am the sun king, here my word counts. You may only speak if I give you permission, and right now, I do not feel like giving you permission to speak. So .............. silence please.
A two-storey palatine chapel. Built and decorated from 1699 to 1710 under the direction of Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Robert de Cotte
The Tribune was reserved for the King and the royal family.
The side galleries for the ladies of the court and the ground floor for the rest of the attendees.
Here one can write a lovely diary or letters to your family and friends, telling them how fantastic your garden is looking and what is happening in the daily life at Versailles