During our trip to Paris one of our favourite places that we visited was The Palace of Versailles. We are big fans of Marie Antoinette so visiting Versailles was an absolute must to see where she lived in such opulence.
Luckily when we visited the Palace there weren’t too many people- we hear there are normally hoards. There wasn’t even really a line to get in, although it helped that we had bought our tickets in advance. We could have entered the Chateau for free, due to us being under 26 and EU passport holders, however, we decided to get tickets in advance to beat the queues.
As you walk through the town of Versailles there is already a sense of extravagance that you won’t find in Paris. We were afraid that we would get lost trying to find the palace on our walk from the train station, but I don’t know why, it wasn’t hard to miss.
The gold from the palace gates shines as bright, if not brighter, than the sun and exudes the expected opulence of the French Renaissance. The palace gates were recreated in 2008 after having been torn down in the French Revolution and are now covered in gold, having cost a whopping €5 million – Marie Antoinette would have been proud.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site exceeds any expectations that you have from the very first room that you step into. We started in the museum of the Chateau which gave us an overview of the history of Versailles. We examined surviving artefacts and saw proposed blueprints of the Palace of Versaille from hundreds of years ago before heading into the main estate rooms. The museum led us toward the Royal Chapel that was built under the rule of Louis XV. It is two stories tall and has its very own pipe organ.
From the chapel there are a never ending amount of rooms with painted walls and ceilings all, of course, trimmed with gold. After directing our way around these rooms and stopping to take thousands of pictures, we found ourselves at the entrance to the extremely busy and most stunning room, The Hall of Mirrors. The Hall is 73 meters long and has a staggering 357 mirrors on the one side of the room – great for taking selfies. From the centre of the Hall of Mirorrs you can look out of the window to get a sneak peak of the Chateau’s extensive gardens.
Our next location within the Chateau were the King’s Royal apartments. These were all bedrooms or rooms in which the royals would have relaxed. My favourite rooms within this section were the King Louis’ room and Marie Antoinette’s room as they still had a lot of the period features from the Revolution Era which had been rightfully returned to the palace after it was robbed. While walking through these rooms you get a sense that this is the type of place that Kaye West and Kim wished they lived (they did have their wedding rehearsal here).
After we had finished our tour of Versailles it was time to venture out into the crisp winter air to explore the gardens. It is only the you step outside and stand at the edge of the garden, looking down at miles of green grass, that you realise how vast these grounds actually are.
We started by taking a stroll thought the perfectly trimmed hedges at the side of the Chateau, finding our way through the winding paths and discovering many treats including small fountains and greek inspired features. By this time, we had been walking for most of the day and Alice’s feet were dead, so we had a quick sit down before we took the challenge of waking the length of the grounds.
We followed the path past the horse fountain and walked as far as we (Alice) could manage. This definitely would have been quicker and easier on a bike. After about half an hour of walking we reached another huge building that was covered in pink marble. We later found out was The Grand Trianon.
We didn’t visit Marie Antoinette’s estate but if we were to go back, it would be the first place we would visit! It is basically a little village in which Marie Antoinette planted her own food and had her own animals. How cute does that sound?
Have you been to Versailles? What was you favourite part?