Versailles

During our stay in Paris, we did a day trip to Versailles to visit the royal château. Back when it was built, Versailles was a country village, now it’s basically a suburb of Paris. To get there, we took the RER (Réseau Express Régional), an extension of the Metro which services the Parisian suburbs. Getting there on our own provided yet another opportunity for me to try to speak some broken French as we had to purchase special tickets at the ticket window. I walked up to the window and spoke the words I had rehearsed – “Chateau Versailles” (Shah-Tow Vher-Sigh)…”Aller Rétour” (Alleh-Ray-Tour)…”Deux” (deuh)…”Merci” (mair see). Surprisingly, the lady perfectly understood that I was asking for two round trip tickets to Versailles – success! We paid and were on our way.

The Château de Versailles was built in the mid-17th century during the reign of Louis XIV. It was the kingdom’s political capital and the seat of the royal court from 1682 until the French Revolution began in 1789. It’s no wonder the people of France revolted over the frivolous spending of the monarchy. I have never seen such over-the-top opulence. As described by the Lonely Planet “Louis XIV ordered 700 rooms, 2153 windows, 352 chimneys and 28 acres of roof for the 580m long main palace. It housed the entire court of 6000 (plus 5000 servants). The finest talent of the day installed some 6300 paintings, 2000 sculptures and statues, 15,000 engravings and 5000 furnishings and objets d’art.” You have to see it to believe it.

The Entrance

The palace entrance

The palace

The palace

Inside the palace

Inside the palace

The Hall of Battles

The Hall of Battles

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The Hall of Battles

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Taking a moment to rest our feet

Pure decadence in every room

Pure decadence in every room

The Royal Chapel inside the palace

The Royal Chapel INSIDE the palace – seriously, over the top

As if the palace alone were not extravagant enough, it sits on 2,000+ acres of perfectly manicured gardens with fountains and ponds, wooded forests, and man-made canals. Nearly every room of the palace has immaculate views of the surrounding gardens.

View of the gardens from inside the palace

View of the gardens from inside the palace

Another view

Another view

Another view

Yet another view

After touring the palace, we walked around the gardens. It would have been better experienced in warm summer weather with the fountains going, but it was impressive even in winter.

View of the palace from the gardens

View of the palace from the gardens

One of the many fountains

Touring the palace gardens

Apollon's Fountain

Apollon’s Fountain

The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal

Perfectly manicured

Everything perfectly manicured

From the gardens, we walked to the Grand Trianon and the Petite Trianon – two châteaux built for the royal family on the outskirts of the palace grounds. Both smaller than the main palace, but equally opulent.

The Grand Trianon

The Grand Trianon

Leaning against one of the pink columns of the Grand Trianon

Leaning against one of the pink columns of the Grand Trianon

View from inside the Grand Trianon

View from inside the Grand Trianon

The Petite Trianon

The Petite Trianon

After touring the main palace, the Grand Trianon, the Petite Trianon, and walking the extravagant grounds, we’d had our fill of opulence. We left Versailles and headed back to Paris.

3 responses to “Versailles

  1. Like our present government, when you don’t earn the money and you a unlimited access to the checkbook, absolute power corrupts absolute.
    It is staggering to see in person. Pictures have a hard time show the immense scale of it all. The gardens are a master piece of work.

  2. I would love to see those gardens~wonder how many gardeners they employ to keep it all looking so perfect? Great job on your French too!

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