Let’s talk about Chateau de Versailles and its gardens. The palace was built in the 17th century during the reign of Louis XVI. Did you know it was a hunting lodge before it was a palace? Everything about it is grand. The fabric, furniture, paintings and architecture within the palace are magnificent. Many of the rooms were the definition of “all gold”. You won’t be able to miss all the mirrors, which used to be a sign of wealth. The gardens are just as impressive as the palace.
We visited the Chateau de Versailles shortly after the borders opened again due to Covid-19. And to be honest, I’m glad we did. It was so calm. There were not many people, everyone wore masks – as required- and we could do everything at our own pace.
CHATEAU DE VERSAILLES
Did you know that there are over 2,000 rooms in the Chateau de Versailles? These days you can only see a handful of the most grand rooms and galleries.
The Hall of Mirrors
The Hall of Mirrors must be the most famous and popular room at the Palace of Versailles. The highlight of this hall are the mirror-clad arches. Each arch contains twenty-one mirrors, which are fixed within marble pilasters. This work of art was successful in projecting the power of the French monarchy at the time.
The Hall of Great Battles
My personal favourite was the Hall of Great Battles. This almost 122-meters-long hall has a patterned vaulted ceiling that has a large skylight down the middle, marble columns and other decorative motifs. It celebrates the great French battles from the 6th century to 1830, with around 30 huge paintings of said battles and many busts of famous military people. Photos cannot show how impressive this hall is.
As you walk through the palace you’ll be able to get several sneak peeks of the magnificent gardens.
The Grand and Petit Trianon
These buildings were even less crowded than the main palace though equally as stunning. If you have an entire day, be sure to spend time exploring the Grand and Petit Trianon.
Another building you can find in this area is the Queen’s Hamlet. This rustic getaway was built for Marie Antoinette in 1783 as a place where she could escape the palace life and enjoy some private time with her closest friends.
The gardens of the palace are gorgeous and cover a huge part of land. High on symmetry, adorned by plenty of sculptures and fountains, these gardens present a reflection of the royal French aesthetics and power.
From June till November it’s possible to enjoy the Musical Fountains and Gardens. Don’t forget to look up on which days the shows take place.
You can get a free audio guides at the palace, or download their free app.
How to get to the Palace from Paris
There are several ways to get to the palace but the RER option is by far the easiest:
- RER Line C to Versailles Château – Rive Gauche, followed by a 10-minute walk to the Palace.
- SNCF train from Gare Montparnasse to Versailles Chantiers, followed by a 15-20 minute walk to the Palace.
- SNCF train from Gare Saint Lazare to Versailles Rive Droite, followed by a 15-20 minute walk to the Palace.
There are several parkings if you’re visiting by car. I recommend the Parking de Sceaux. It’s easy to reach and one of the cheapest parkings in the area. It’s a 10 minute walk from the parking to the castle. Easy, right?