Photo by Alexander Wu
Le Chateau de Versailles
Without a doubt Versailles is the most luxurious palace in Europe, built to astound visitors and impress the king's subjects into awed submission with crystal chandeliers, gilt, and fine art. This opulent monument is also attractive to those with simpler tastes: Visitors with green thumbs will love the King’s kitchen gardens while others may want to rent bicycles to pedal the lavish grounds, and animal lovers will enjoy the sheep, goats, and chickens receiving the royal treatment at the Queen’s quaint hamlet. La Petite Venise, an excellent restaurant on the grounds, offers garden seating on sunny days.
By Sylvia Sabes, AFAR Local Expert
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Gate of Versailles
Probably the most opulent gate in France, this is a small piece of the gate in front of the Chateau de Versailles. The chateau itself is decadent and filled to the brim with tourists but the gardens are spacious with ample room to hide and relax.
By Matthew Fenster, AFAR Staff
A Backstage Visit to Versailles
Visit Versailles with one of our guides and after the standard tour circuit, you'll also get to see apartments and rooms normally closed to the public — the apartments of Madame de Tourvel, a gallery located above the Hall of Mirrors. It's a fascinating deeper look at the famous palace. The Prestige Visits are opportunities for rare and precious experiences offering a special perspective on the Palace of Versailles and its many rooms and halls steeped in memories. Lasting an hour and a half, they can be customized to suit your wishes and they are led by a qualified guide. They take place outside the circuits open for unguided visits during the normal hours when the Palace is open to the public.
By Lauren Maggard, AFAR Travel Advisor
The Palace of Versailles was the official residence of the Kings of France from 1682 until 1790.
View from the backyard..
Hall of Mirrors
The Hall of Mirrors is the biggest room in the Palace of Versailles. It owes its name to the 17 mirror arches facing 17 windows overlooking the Park.
Hall of Mirrors (Palace of Versailles)
The famous Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles was build during the time of King Louis XIV, the Sun King. The lavish decoration totally reflected the characteristics of Louis XIV.
By Shan Shan
Surrounded by signs of early Autumn while enjoying a nice walk leading up to the Chateau de Versailles in France.
By Alex Jordan
Wow! The palace is clearly fit for a king. The mirrored room is fabulous, with the gold all around. The gardens outside were the best however, with a courtyard, pond, endless areas to picnic. Hoards of people everywhere. I wish I could blink back to the days before the French revolution just to see the true snapshot.
Old vs. New at Versailles
When visiting Versailles, Louis XIV's famed chateau outside Paris, we noticed the exterior was being redone. Note the sharp line on the Mansard roof exhibiting the division and stark contrast between old and new-- wouldn't Louis be proud? Even the balustrade had been sandblasted!
Gardens Fit for a Queen
The gardens at Versailles outside Paris appear so perfect, they couldn't be real! Created by and for fairies, or perhaps a child's dollhouse, these captured our imagination with their fanciful designs and patterns. I wonder if Le Petit Dauphin, or boy king, Louis de France, played in these gardens, and what he thought about being surrounded by such grandeur...
A day in Versailles...
My day trip to Versailles was lovely, yet frustrating. It started off really well - warm, beautiful blue skies, albeit a little windy - but then there were little spurts of rain, which turned into overcast skies, cooler temperatures and then a lot of rain. In the middle of all of this, while wandering the enchanted gardens of the palace, I got lost (several times), which is not great given the turn in the weather and the back pain that shot back up as a result of a poor footwear choice. I stumbled upon this "little" house one of the first few times I got lost between the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon (yes, normally it's a direct route, but you can detour to a bunch of interesting little stops - I'm clearly not good with maps). I rested near the gate, when I came upon someone else who also got a little lost. He kindly pointed me in the right direction and after a little break, I was off (to get lost) again.
By Chrissy S.
Wandering around the gardens at Versailles
While wandering/getting lost in the gardens at the palace at Versailles, I was struck by how lovely, enchanting, and even a little mischievous - even on a cold, rainy and wet day - the grounds are.
By Chrissy S.
Chateau Du Versailles: Skip The Line And Enjoy Your Day
Paris definitely is our favourite city in Europe (after London, of course). And a visit to Paris is incomplete without a trip to the majestic Chateau de Versailles. It was only on our 4th trip to Paris that we finally got to experience the Palace of Versailles. The first 3 times, we had failed to visit because of long queues to get in. The best part of the Skip the line tour with Easy Paris Pass was the perfect balance between guidance and autonomy, and the fact that we did not have to queue to get into the palace. Instead, we spent the morning meandering through the beautiful alleys of Versailles whilst experiencing the local farmers’ market and tasting French wine in a local winery - Enchanting. A leisurely walk around the impeccably maintained gardens gave us the opportunity to learn more about the history of the palace and the unfolding of the events of the French Revolution. The vivid description of the revolution by our guide made the palace come to life. We followed this with a picnic by the canal – scrumptious hand-crafted baguettes and French pastries. Ready to explore the Chateau from the inside, we were led into the palace in minutes, surpassing the serpentine. Once inside, we were given audio guides, and complete autonomy by the guide to explore the rooms of the palace at our own pace. The cost of the tour includes the return train fare from Pairs, wine tasting session, entry to the palace, and the delicious lunch. Change intimidating to hassle free!
By Savi and Vid, AFAR Local Expert
Behind Palace Gates in Versailles
Hop on the Marie Antoinette-themed train – complete with bright, floral walls – from the Paris Metro into Versailles to visit the Queen’s meticulously preserved palace. It’s a bit of a walk from the train station to the cobblestones fronting the grounds, but once you arrive, there are enough details in any room to keep you firmly planted in one place for minutes on end. Learn of the Austrian princess’s ascension into the role as Queen of France, her marriage to Louis XVI, and their extravagant tastes as you follow a tour through living spaces that make the term “ornate” feel like an understatement. You’ll pass under painted ceilings lined with chandeliers, dining halls fit for dozens, and bedrooms with gilded sheens. The dropped-jaw crowds may keep you at a shuffled pace, so much so that the stunning size of the rooms may still feel stuffy. Break free in the gardens, where perfect landscaping and the soft ramble of stones underfoot will restore your senses.
By Kelly Dawson
Gilded in gold a visit to Versailles is nothing short of magnificent. The two day passport is the way to go and be sure to visit during a water show.
By zosia Brown
Grandeur and elegance unite at the Palace of Versailles. Mythological ghosts from centuries past line the corridors where details of architectural splendor are inescapable. Versailles, as magnificent as ever, remains a decadent window into the past.
The good and bad about Versailles!
No one can deny that the Chateau de Versailles is a must go to anyone visiting Paris, but at what cost? Tickets to be bought in advance, very long queues, super-crowded rooms..... It is an extremely tiring experience and often not that enjoyable but still, as long as you are prepared to it, it's totally worth it!
Versailles . . .
It is so hard to capture Versaille in words . . . you just have to go visit and know in advance that it will take all day long. There is the main palace called Versailles, then there is Marie Antoinette's palaces, Trianon and Petit Trianon. Then there is the village that they built for Marie Antoinette so that she could understand how the every day common French person lived during that time period. And the gardens are just simply immense! But if you do not have all day, tour the Hall of Mirrors, see the King's bedroom and see if you can take the tour that will allow you to see the internal theater where the King watched plays.
By Karin Ward
Palace of Versailles
It doesn't take much of convince someone why Versailles is a must see. Originally built by Louis XIV in the 17th century, it was the royal seat of the Bourbon dynasty until the French Revolution overthrew the monarchy nearly a century later. A testament to absolutism and extravagance, Versailles epitomized the Sun King's reign and transpired into every other European monarch emulating his feat with a palace of their own. Just 12 miles southwest of Paris, Versailles can easily be visited by Metro as parking can quickly fill up before 9:00 a.m. in the summer time. A general adult admission is little more than 15 Euros, with guided tours, audios, and additional buildings on the grounds available for additional fees. Much of the palace of wheel chair accessible, the vast gardens are open for walking, and restaurants and a cafeteria are located within the palace. Anticipate long lines at the entrance, then spend a minimum 2-3 hours touring this World Heritage Site.
By Joshua Kozak
Palace of Versailles
Louis XIV, the Sun King, transformed his father’s hunting lodge into the over-the-top palace that became emblematic of his reign. The 809-hectare (2,000-acre) park, designed by André Le Nôtre, took 40 years to complete. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Versailles lures some 10 million visitors each year. Highlights include the Hall of Mirrors and the Petit Trianon, a small château custom-made for Marie Antoinette.
By Sara Tucker
Lost In Lexington
We had about 3 hours to kill on an overcast rainy day before flying out of Lexington, Kentucky. We just started driving the car west and turned on a road with an odd castle in the middle of the Bluegrass State. Little did we know that this winding road Pisgah Pike would treat us to a sight of miles and miles of exquisitely manicured equine fences on rolling green fields.
By Alex Wu