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Versailles, the most impressive palace in Europe

Posted: 13th March 2015 at 12:20 • Categories: France · Versailles

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Visiting Paris soon? When you are done with the city centre I recommend you to hop on the RER (Paris suburban train) to spend an afternoon visiting France most famous and impressive castle! It is the outrageous and fascinating Château de Versailles.

 

A LITTLE HISTORY.

The origins of the Palace of Versailles dates back to 1639 when Louis the XIIIth, Louis the XIVth father had a small hunting lodge. In 1634 he replaces it with a beautiful building made of sandstones and bricks. At his father's death, young Louis inherits the hunting lodge and decides to start building a proper palace. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1665, Young king Louis starts a major building campaign. As he is quite attached to the memory of his father he decides to build around the lodge instead of destroying it. The result is a large castle with extensions on each side of the original mansion. One will host the King royal apartments and the other the Queen. Nowadays, you see Louis the XIVth bedroom, Marie-Antoinette's room (it has been rebuilt as it was completely destroyed during the French revolution) and Louis the XVth's daughters apartements. They are downstairs facing the gardens.

In 1684, Jules Hardouin Mansart, the royal architect, builds the Hall of mirrors which becomes the most beautiful ballroom in the world with its 357 mirrors.

 

HOW BIG IS THE PALACE OF VERSAILLES?

Versailles is outrageous by its size, the time it took to achieve, the insane amount of money it cost the French people and by the number of lives that were lost on the construction site (it was built in the 17th century France, a time where human life wasn't worth much). If you want to have an idea of how big the place really is here are a few numbers:

  • 788 rooms (everyone who was anyone lived in Versailles, not just the King!)
  • 2153 windows
  • 67 staircases (just because he could!)
  • The main facade is 415m long
  • 77 hectares of gardens which are more or less the size of 143 football fields!
  • 300 sculptures (marble was never cheap you see!)
  • 43km of alleyways taking you through fountains, labyrinths and canals

 

 
 
WHAT TO SEE IN VERSAILLES
Versailles is composed of the Palace itself, the gardens, the grand canal (a Canal you can boat on.Boats are available for hire there on a 30 mins basis), the Grand Trianon, a "small" mansion built by Louis theXVth for his mistress and the Petit Trianon built by Louis the XVIth for his wife,Marie-Antoinette. Next, to the Petit Trianon, you will find a farm called Marie-Antoinette Estate. It is the place built "by Marie-Antoinette" to relax, host her friends and try new things as she was quite interested in Agriculture.

 

HOW LONG SHOULD YOU PLAN ON STAYING:
It depends what you would like to see but .keep in mind that the place is HUGE. To see everything there is to see you would need 2 full days in Versailles so my advice would be to spend at least half a day there so you can make the most of the Palace.
If you go on a beautiful and sunny day spend the whole day in Versailles!
Here is an itinerary that will allow you tomake the most of your day:
Start by visiting the Palace, it is always quieter in the morning, then head to the gardens and visit Marie-Antoinette's estate. When you are done, come back to the Grand Canal and have a picnic there. In the Afternoon visit the gardens to have a chance to see them during the "Grandes Eaux", it is a show during which all the fountains are running and music is played in the Bosquets. It is a truly magical experience, you don't want to miss it!

I hope that you will get to visit the "dream" of Louis the XIVth, France's most famous king! Culture & Adventure offers tours of Versailles, click HERE if you would like to book a tour with us!

 

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