Palace of Versailles
Early on a beautiful, sunny, Thursday morning in April, after watching the sunrise at the Eiffel tower, Kevin and I hopped on a train to the stunning, awe-inspiring Palace of Versailles, just outside of Paris.
Versailles is best known for the massive royal palace and expansive gardens built by King Louis XIV. It was home for three generations of French kings and queens from 1682 until the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. Each one added improvements to make it more and more lavish and beautiful. As a result, the Palace of Versailles is considered one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. Versailles itself is now one of the wealthiest cities near Paris.
This painting depicts an overhead view of the palace and gardens.
We got there early and explored the lavish royal palace before it got too crowded.
This is the two-story Royal Chapel designed after the Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel) in Paris.
The Hall of Mirrors, or The Grande Galerie as it was called in the 17th century, was commissioned by Louis XIV as a passageway and waiting area where the king could put on his most ostentatious display of royal power in order to impress visitors.
The Palace of Versailles has been the scene for several historic events. The Treaty of Versailles, which officially brought the First World War to an end, was signed here in the Hall of Mirrors on June 28, 1919.
One of the royal bedrooms.
This was The King’s Bedroom, created by Louis XIV in 1701, and was where he lived until his death in 1715. Here they actually had royal “rising” and “going to sleep” ceremonies.
And here is the Queen’s Bedchamber, where the queens of France spent most of their time.
When the palace was invaded by rioters demanding bread at the beginning of the French revolution, Marie-Antoinette escaped through the little door to the left of the bed, which lead into a corridor and on to the Queen’s other apartments, a dozen small rooms for her and her servants.
The massive piece next to the door is the Queen’s Jewel Box.
A sofa from the Countess of Provence.
Now from here on out, I really don’t know what all the rooms are, but it was incredible to see all the extravagance.
And the serious bling (aka gold).
We spent the morning exploring the palace, and the cloudless afternoon walking the gardens of the estate. Photos from the gardens to come next. :)
We easily spent all day there. I was glad we got there early, because the palace got super crowded as the day went on. By that time, we had moved onto the gardens, which are so large there are any number of spots you can explore without crowds of people around you.
How cute is this little bed??
Seriously just massive halls and paintings and chandeliers everywhere.
Next up: The Gardens of Versailles!
How to take the train to Versailles from Paris:
- Be sure to buy your ticket to Versailles in advance, as they do sell out.We got the passport so we could explore the palace, gardens, and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate.
- Catch the RER-C train by 8:00am to arrive early at Versailles (before it opens at 9:00) and tour the palace’s interior. Trains run about every 15 minutes, and the ride is about 30 minutes.
- There’s a 50/50 chance the attendant at the metro ticket window will speak English, but if not, they’ll understand “Chateau Versailles” [Shah-Tow Ver-Sigh] and “Aller Rétour” [Alleh-Ray-Tour] which means and return ticket. Be sure to have cash on hand to cover the cost of the ticket just in case your card doesn’t work. Our tickets were around 6 euro each, round trip (April 2014).
- Here are the RER-C stations in Paris with direct routes to Versailles: Invalides, Gare d’Austerlitz, Musee D’orsay, Notre Dame, Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel, and Pont de l’Alma.
- Follow signs to the platform for the train going to Versailles Rive Gauche. Versailles will be the last stop, and everyone will be getting off.
Follow along on our Scotland, London, and Paris Vacation!
Scotland Day 1 & 2 — Inverness, Loch Ness, Skye, and Talisker Bay
Scotland Day 3 — Skye, Fairy Pools, The Highlands, and Oban
Scotland Day 4 — Islands of Scotland: Mull, Iona, and the Cave of Melodies
Scotland Day 5 — Fa’side Castle, Edinburgh
Scotland Day 6 – Edinburgh & Castle Driving the Coast of Scotland
Everything I Ate In Scotland — Restaurant Guide for Scotland
London Day 1 — Notting Hill, Seven Dials, and The London Eye
London Day 2 — Tower of London, Borough Market, and Big Ben
London Day 3 — Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Fortnum and Mason
London Day 4 — Bakery Hopping, Harrods Food Hall, and the London Tower Bridge
London Day 4 — Sunset at The View from The Shard
Where We Stayed In London — Hotel Indigo Tower Hill
Everything I Ate In London — Restaurant Guide for London
Paris Day 1 — Sunset at the Eiffel Tower
Paris Day 2 — A Walk Through Montmartre
Paris Day 3 — Palace of Versailles
Paris Day 3 — Garden of Versailles
Paris Day 4 — Sightseeing & Landmarks
Paris Day 5 — Hidden Paris (Self Guided Photography / Walking Tour)
Everything I Ate In Paris — Restaurant Guide for Paris
Where We Stayed In Paris — Incredible View of the Eiffel Tower
Thanks so much for looking!!