Paris Travel Planner   Grand Château de Versailles, France
 One of the most sumptuous palaces in the world, the Château de Versailles has to be seen to be believed.




The entire Château de Versailles, in the Paris suburb of Versailles (map), consists of dozens of buildings, but the centerpiece is undoubtedly the Grand Château, or main palace, with its state apartments and famous Hall of Mirrors.

Louis XIV (born 1638, king from 1643 to 1715) had the château built and its vast grounds and gardens laid out in the late 1600's, on the site of a smaller château which had been built as a hunting lodge by his father, Louis XIII. Louis XIV added the two wings, making the U-shaped palace we see today.

Construction continued for fifty years, and the result is simply incredible.

Louis XIV moved the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Although the chateau's position at the center of French government life disappeared with the Revolution in 1789, the Versailles Palace then assumed a new role as a Museum of the History of France.

Highlights include the royal apartments of both the king and the queen, a coronation room, and a Museum of French History.

The Hall of Mirrors is perhaps the most famous room in the palace—and one of the most amazing rooms you'll see anywhere in the world. Here in 1871 Otto von Bismarck proclaimed his Prussian ruler King Wilhelm to be Wilhelm I, Emperor of Germany.

In 1919 the armistice ending World War I was signed in the Hall of Mirrors. To see it without too many people, consider going to a Royal Serenade, offered on summer weekends.

Many of the other rooms of the Palace are named for Roman gods and goddesses—Venus, Diana, Mars, Mercury, and Apollo—with the art work reflecting these names. There is also a War Room, and, thankfully, a Peace Room.

The Royal Opera House and Royal Chapel, both ornately decorated, may also be visited. The Royal Opera House reopened in 2009 after extensive renovations and offers a full season of musical performances.

You can visit on your own or as part of a guided tour. Audiotours are also available. Be prepared for crowds, and also for overwhelming oppulence. After spending time in the palace, I was ready to get outside and explore the gardens and visit the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon, and Marie-Antoinette's Hameau, or play village.

RER: Line C to Versailles-Rive Gauche

Paris Museum Pass accepted.

Château de Versailles
Versailles, France
Tel: +33 1 30 83 78 00

Versailles Homepage

Grand Trianon

Petit Trianon

Marie Antoinette Hamlet

Versailles Transportation

Versailles Town

Grandes Eaux Musicales

Excursions from Paris


Detail, gate, Versailles



Versailles facade

Above, the palace façade and fountain.
Below, the beautiful Hall of Mirrors.

Hall of Mirrors, Versailles

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