The Palace of Versailles is the largest royal domain in the world and an European symbol of absolutism. 20 km southwest of Paris, the edifice is considered to be one of the most beautiful renditions of 18th century French art and emblematic for the Sun King’s luxury. The royal gardens cover 100 hectare and are unique through their geometrical patterns and fountains. 15 million people visit Versailles every year.
Palace of Versailles Video
- The Palace – The Palace of Versailles is considered one of the most beautiful representations of the French art of the 18th century. From a hunting lodge, it became a decadent palace and a symbol of absolutism and classicism. Among the most spectacular and popular rooms are the Hall of Mirrors, the Grand Apartments – both designed by Mansard in the 1670s for Louis XIV –the Chapel and the Opera – built in the following century for Louis XV. There are more than 6,000 paintings in the palace.
- The Garden – The Gardens of Versailles dates back to Louis XIV, but they were significantly enlarged and redesigned by André Le Nôtre and other architects during 4 decades in the 17th century. The defining elements of the garden are the geometry, the symmetry and the ornate fountains. The most notable ones are Latona Fountain and the Apollo Fountain.
- The Grand Trianon – The Trianon is a 1-storey pink marble palace dating back to the 17th century. It was used for the royal family and their friends. Notable are the geometrical gardens of flowers just outside the edifice.
- Marie Antoniette’s Estate – Marie Antoinette’s estate comprises of the Petit Trianon, the Gardens and the Hamlet, which was built for the queen alone. She is the only queen to have had a place designed solely after her preferences at Versailles. The place distinguishes itself through elegance and reflects Marie Antoinette’s free thinking.
|Adults||Museum members, large families||Minors <18yrs., EU citizens <26yrs, disabled|
|The Passport (all included)||EUR18||EUR18||Free|
|The Trianon Palaces and Marie Antoinette’s Estate||EUR10||EUR6||Free|
|Hidden Versailles (guided tour)||EUR16||EUR16||EUR16|
The Palace of Versailles is included in the Paris Museum Pass. It’s advisable to purchase your ticket online, from here, as visitors tend to spend from a couple of hours to an entire day standing in the queue at the ticket office. If you have a ticket or you qualify for a fee entrance, go directly to Entrance A.
- Interactive Map – Versailles is huge and it can be quite tricky to get around it. Here is an interactive map so you can plan your visit in advance.
- Mobile Application – If you have a smartphone, you can install the Gardens of Versailles application for free and use it to find out interesting information while you’re visiting.
- Visiting Tips – Everyone goes to Versailles early in the morning to have enough time to see everything, which is why it’s then that the queues are the longest. To avoid that, you can visit the gardens first since you don’t need a tick and catch a shorter queue in the afternoon. You can enter the park for free from Rue de la Paroisse or Boulevard de la Reine.
- RER (Best Option) – Take Line C1 from the city center to Versailles-Rive Gauche. The Versailles Chantier stop is too far from the castle, so don’t get off there. The trip is approximately 40 minutes. If you buy a round-trip ticket it will cost you around EUR8. If you are going to buy a transport pass such as Navigo Pass, make sure that your pass includes Zone 4 which is where Versailles is located.
- Bus – You can take Line 171 from Pont de Sevres in Paris to Versailles-Place d’Armes. The Pont de Sevres stop is reachable by metro, Line 9.
Versailles dates back to 1624, when Louis XIII decided to build a hunting lodge. A few years later, he began expanding it as a castle. His successor, Louis XIV is, however, credited to have expanded the place to the dimensions of today. In 1682, the court was moved to Versailles. After a short period of abandonment that followed Louis XIV’s death, the palace went back to being a royal residence. Louis XV an Lois XVI made changes to the estate throughout the 18th century. The French Revolution left it almost destroyed. Louis-Philippe restored it in the 19th century, but by the next century, it was only rarely used for state meetings. In 1979, Versailles became an UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Life Style – Versailles seems like a pretty luxurious place for us now, but back in the day, living here was like living in an apartment block. Every door had its key and the inhabitants had to return it when leaving. Courtiers were trading places with each other. Rank and status determined the living conditions, so most nobles lived in very small places in the palace that were anything but luxurious.
- Smell – As fancy as Versailles may look today, until 1768 there were no functioning toilets in the palace, and even after that, only a few were built for the royal family. This aspect caused the estate to have a unique smell that was much talked about. Even if it was not allowed, the courtiers were emptying their chamber pots out the window.
- Popular Culture – In the modern era, Versailles began hosting different events. Among them were concerts by Pink Floyd, Tina Turner, Air and Jean Michel Jarre. In 2005 the French Live 8 concert took place in the courtyard. The place has served as an inspiration for Al Stewart who wrote a song about the key moments in the history of France called “The Palace of Versailles”.