The Palace of Versailles is a treasure trove of history and beauty. Here are five top things to visit when you're there and five tips to go from Paris.
The Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles is one of the most iconic rooms in the world, embodying the grandeur of French Baroque architecture. It boasts 357 mirrors placed across 17 arches, reflecting the windows that look out onto the breathtaking gardens of the palace. It symbolizes France's economic prowess, showcasing its ability to break the Venetian monopoly on mirror manufacturing.
The Versailles Gardens are a masterpiece of French landscape architecture, emblematic of the Sun King's opulence and designed by the renowned gardener André Le Nôtre. Spanning 800 hectares, these intricately designed gardens feature meticulously manicured lawns, parterres, fountains, and statues that exude grandeur and provide an open-air museum of horticulture and sculpture.
The Antiquarian District adjacent to the Palace of Versailles is a haven for antique enthusiasts, where the historical Notre Dame market and Lambinet museum are located. Visitors can enjoy a stroll through this charming area that celebrates the rich history and culture of the past.
The Royal Tennis Court at Versailles is an iconic site where, in 1789, 578 deputies of the Third Estate famously took the Tennis Court Oath, vowing not to disband until they had established a new constitution for France. This act is considered one of the pivotal events that ignited the French Revolution.
Queen's Hamlet is an idyllic pastoral village located in the gardens of the Petit Trianon, reflecting Marie-Antoinette's desire for a private escape from palace life. This charming hamlet, with its rustic architecture and tranquil setting, was designed as a retreat where the queen could indulge in the fantasy of a simple, rural lifestyle away from courtly duties.
1. Buy Tickets in Advance: Purchase your entrance tickets online before your visit to avoid long lines at the ticket office. This can save you a lot of time, especially during peak tourist seasons. 2. Arrive Early: Try to get to the Palace as early as possible. The gates open at 9:00 AM, and being among the first to enter can help you enjoy the grandeur of the palace and its gardens with fewer crowds. 3. Plan Your Route: The Palace of Versailles is immense. Review a map of the palace and its gardens ahead of time to prioritize the areas you want to see, such as the Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Grand Apartments, and the Trianon Palaces.
4. Wear Comfortable Shoes: You will be doing a lot of walking, as the palace and its grounds cover a large area. Comfortable footwear will make your exploration of the estate much more pleasant. 5. Consider an Audio Guide or Tour: To enrich your visit, consider using an audio guide or booking a guided tour. This way, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the history and significance of the various sites within the palace.