The Palace of Versailles began in humble beginnings as a mere hunting lodge built by King Henry IV. It was a nice lodge for the huntsmen to gather, celebrate a wonderful day of hunting and be men. King Louis XIII decided to expand the hunting lodge into a chateau. This chateau then expanded again under the rule of King Louis XIV to the massive site we have today. King Louis XIV spared no expense while he continued to work on the project until his death in 1715. The palace history continues with Marie Antoinette, Napoleon, and even John D. Rockefeller having a hand in its future. Versailles has a long and rich history and if you want to know more on the history read on.
Versailles is located about 35 minutes outside of Paris by train. You can also take a taxi or private transfer from Paris which is approximately a 30 minuted drive from Paris. With the Versailles being so close to Paris, it makes for a great day trip from Paris.
Plan to spend a day on the grounds of Versailles and get there early, preferably when the doors open. If you can, schedule to visit on a Thursday or a Friday when the crowds are down. Plan to spend 1.5 hours in each of the three main sights: The Chateau, the Gardens, and the Trianon Palaces/Domaine de Marie-Antionette.
When visiting Versailles expect decadence, over the top, the king is in decadence. Notice many of the exterior features are covered in gold leaf and the courtyard pictured above is laid out with a marble floor. This was the living and entertaining palace for generations of French monarchy and became a summer house for ruling power.
One of the most famous rooms in the palace is the Hallway of Mirrors. The room itself is over 250 feet long with 17 arched mirrors lining the ways matched by 17 arched windows on the opposite wall allowing a view of the gardens. This room was installed during a time when mirrors were still rather rare, especially of this size, making it even more special.
The Gardens at Versailles were considered to be just as important as the Chateau (or palace) and André Le Nôtre collaborated with the likes of Jean-Baptiste Colbert to make them just as grand. The initial project went on for 40 years. King Louis XIV was very involved in the details of the gardens and personally approved each layout down to the placement of the statues. As you walk through the gardens today, you will see many of the same elements that were present in the 1600's. To maintain the elegance and grandeur of the gardens, they have to be replaced every 100 years. This has been done consistently and today you will enjoy the lovely gardens just as the kings intended.
The Trianon Palaces and Domaine de Marie-Antoinette are located approximately 30 minutes away from the main palace of Versailles. This became the retreat from the retreat. The Chateau originally functioned as a retreat for all the monarchy of France, but eventually became the main home and all the pressures of being king followed. The answer for a secondary home was Trianon Palaces. King Louis XIV stayed here quite often having 3 bedrooms at one point. Here you will see the grand bedchambers, the drawing room and living of the French monarchy and where they relaxed.
The Chateau of Versailles is breathtaking. The grounds are amazing. If you would like to know more about how we can assist with your dream trip to Versailles or wherever that may be, please give us a call or schedule your free consultation! We are ready to assist!