Centuries of makeovers have made Versailles the most sumptuously clad château in the world – a brilliant, unmissable cocktail of extravagance. Architect Louis Le Vau first embellished the original building – a hunting lodge built during Louis XIII's reign – after Louis XIV saw Vaux-Le-Vicomte, the impressive residence of his finance minister Nicolas Fouquet. André Le Nôtre turned the boggy marshland into terraces, parterres, lush groves and a spectacular series of fountains.
Allow yourself a good part of the day to appreciate the gorgeous state apartments and the famous Hall of Mirrors – a 73-metre (240-foot) gallery overlooking the garden, hung with 357 mirrors. It was commissioned in 1678 by Louis XIV, decorated by Le Brun and is easily the highlight of any visit. It was also where the famous Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919.
After Le Vau's death in 1670, Jules Hardouin Mansart took over as principle architect, transforming Versailles into the château we know today. He added the Grand and Petit Trianons in the gardens – pink marble palaces hidden from the protocol of the court. The Grand Trianon retains the décor of Napoleon who stayed here with his second Empress, Marie-Louise, while the Petit Trianon is a wonderful example of neo-classicism. It later became part of the Domaine de Marie-Antoinette, an exclusive hideaway located beyond the canal in the wooded parkland. Given to Marie-Antoinette as a wedding gift by her husband Louis XVI in 1774, the domain also includes the queen's fairy-tale farm and dairy, known as the Hameau de la Reine.
Outside the château gates are the stables that now house the Académie du Spectacle Equestre, responsible for the elaborate shows of tightly choreographed theatrics on horseback run by famous horse trainer Bartabas.
|Venue name:||Château de Versailles|
|Opening hours:||Nov-Mar: Tue-Sun 9am-5.30pm; Apr-Oct: Tue-Sun 9am-6.30pm|
|Transport:||RER C to Versailles-Rive Gauche|
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I haven't been to Paris thanks to my family, but yes, we still have the Royal family living there. My great great grandmother Princess Louise —Duchess Louise Margaret of Connaught, wife of His Highness Prince Arthur of England. My great great grandfather Prince Arthur is son of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. His sister is my paternal grandmother's mother.
No, the Chateau wasn't constructed by the government as a landmark or a story to tell, Bonapartes are the French royal family of who I am the current descendant. My great grandfather lives with his parents in the Chateau Versailles. The gardens are about to get a makeover. I have already provided plans and my trust fund from the Bonapartes is overseeing the expansion of both Chateau and the gardens surrounding it.
I grew up in India where grandma Louise and grandpa Arthur spent 25 years before returning to France. My mother is their great grand daughter.
I took inheritance of all the Bonaparte properties two years ago including fashion houses of Chanel and Louise Vuitton, LVMH and so on.
There's a reason that so many people pour into this place, it is truly stunning and can feel like a treat to get out of the Paris bustle for an afternoon. Under 26s - make sure you say you're under 26 as you will get a discount.
Beautiful gardens, and well worth the trip from Paris - there's so much to explore I need to go back!
ATTENTION GUYS!!!I'd booked the tickets in advance,but when I came I had to queue up for 2 hours just to get in the palace!!Don't know about autumn, but definitely do not visit the palace in august!!