Palace de Versailles: A royal itinerary

Amazing Europe | | November 8, 2010 at 1:11 am


Welcome to the most thronged monument of France! Also known as the Palace de Versailles or the Versailles Palace, the Chateau de Versailles refers to an imperial chateau that is the pride of the Île-de-France zone. A chateau means a residence for the manor lord with or without fortifications. Accessible within 30 minutes by a car from Paris, Chateau de Versailles is today the major attraction in the architecturally beautiful Paris. The palace is popular for its fountains, amazing gardens, superb Hall of Mirrors, and ultimately the legendary man who erected it, the Sun King Louis X1V. In its early days when it was over as a majestic baroque edifice in 1682 until 1789, the Versailles Palace acted as the main dwelling of the French Kings. This is clear from the fact that a private court of the King was made in his honor. The Palace de Versailles undoubtedly designated as an UNESCO’s World Heritage Site since 30 years. So, this time, I suggest to explore this most beautiful accomplishment of the French art of the 18th century to truly see the architectural Paris.

The Chateau de Versailles offers two types of itineraries – guided and unguided. Besides the state apartments for the king and queen as well as the Hall of Mirrors that was the venue where the Treaty of Versailles for ending the First World War was signed, other sections of the palace are only possible to visit in guided groups within the limited period of time. So, be prepared to face the long queues. Currently and sadly, a small section of the palace is explorable including the State Apartments and the Hall of Mirrors. By paying an extra 24 Francs, a guided tour can take you in the Private Bedroom of the king, the rooms of Madame du Barry, and the Royal Opera. If you pay even some more, you get to see the pavilions of the Grand and Petit Trianons.


On this 67,000 sq. m, the great Chateau de Versailles features 2,153 windows, 700 rooms, 67  staircases, 6123 paintings in the museum, 1500 drawings in museum, 15034 engravings in museum, 2102 sculptures in museum, and 5210 pieces of furniture and art. Wow, these statistical numbers itself indicates how grand this Versailles Palace will be. All these elements were added to the palace for ensuring a cool and peaceful, but a royal escape to Louis XIV who desired to flee away from the busy life in Paris.

Grand Apartments

Also known as Grand appartement du roi, the Grand Apartments is a systematic arrangement of seven rooms dedicated to the planets and their Roman deities. These are Salon de Diane (Moon, Diana as the goddess of the hunt), Salon de Mars (Mars, god of war), Salon de Mercure (Mercury, god of trade, arts, and commerce), Salon d’Apollon (Sun, Apollo as the god of the Fine Arts), Salon de Jupiter (Jupiter, god of law and order), Salon de Saturne (Saturn, the god of agriculture and harvest), and Salon de Vénus (Venus, goddess of love and beauty).

Of these, the Salon de Vénus was then used as a buffet restaurant, Salon de Diane as a billiard room, Salon de Mars as a ballroom, Salon de Mercure as a cards room, and Salon d’Apollon as a concert room.

Going parallel with the above arrangement is the Grand appartement de la reine offering Salle de gardes, Antichambre where the king and queen dined with the public, Grand Cabinet as an antechamber to the bedroom of the queen, and Chambre de la reine as the queen’s bedroom.

Appartement du roi (King’s Private Apartments)

This refers to set of rooms meant for the king’s private use.

Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors)

This is the most famous room of the Palace de Versailles where several ceremonies of the French Court were held in the past.

Chapels of Versailles

Today, you can take a tour of only chapel out of the five. This last major edifice of Louis XIV reflects a fine French Baroque architecture.

Other interesting buildings here are L’Opera and the Museum of the History of France. And yes, if you are here, just do not miss to explore the gardens of Versailles – a superb finest example of French Garden design.

Quick tour facts

Just avoid going on Sunday or on any day of summer because of long queues triggered due to low entrance fees. Further, do not even think or hurry to explore the complete Palace of Versailles in just one day, which is just impossible. Therefore, come with enough time during off season and that too in the early morning. You need to head towards the gardens when it starts to get crowded.

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