It’s been a while! I’ve just been trying to figure some things out. In the meantime, why don’t we take a virtual tour of Versailles?
About 45 minutes outside of Paris lies probably one of the most famous palaces in the world. Why is this? What draws people to the Palace of Versailles? Is it the romance of the past? The perfectly preserved french architecture and gardens? The grandeur? It could be all of the above. Whatever the case, I had to go see for myself what makes this place so spectacular.
The palace is relatively easy to get to. I took the subway, about a 45-60 minute ride (I can’t remember the exact time.) and a short walk from the train station, and then you see it, the golden gates shining in the sun, just a taste of what’s to come.
Now, the lines can be intimidating, but even there you are surrounded by history and simple beauty as the ticketing is housed inside an old building.
Once I got the tickets, it was on to the main attraction. If I remember correctly, the palace and the gardens are two separate tickets, so be prepared to pay up for the full experience. Right from the start you can see the opulence, the attention to detail.
We decided to tackle the gardens first and search for Marie Antoinette’s famed boudoir. At the top of some stairs I was greeted by the breathtaking vista of the gardens, and it was then I truly witnessed how extensive they were.
And looking back:
Now, I will say that I was undertaking all of this while still suffering from a cold. That’s right, I got sick in Paris! But I was determined! It wasn’t long before I started to see some of the grand, manicured aspects of the gardens. Namely the famous fountains:
The first stop was the Grand Trianon, a somewhat gaudy pink marble building, a getaway from the rigors of the royal life. (Because ruling in opulence must have been hard, right?)
That black and white tile was pretty amazing though! The inside wasn’t as garish as the outside:
The next stop was the Petit Trianon. Built as a retreat for the famous Madame de Pompadour and later used as an escape by another famous figure, Marie Antoinette, it was a little simpler than the main palace, but still had a sort of charming lavishness.
It’s the next part that I should have researched a bit more. When I visited, I had no idea about Marie Antoinette’s medieval town and the way she used to pretend to be a simpleton to amuse herself. So when we happened across this little fairly tale-like village in the gardens, we didn’t know what to think of it. We wandered around a little bit, searching for Marie Antoinette’s boudoir, but to no avail. It wasn’t until after we left that I researched and realize what we had missed. Perhaps someday I’ll make it back there and then I’ll know what to look for.
Anyways, it’s quite a sight to see this peeking through the spring foliage:
And quite another to see the whole thing, like stepping back through time:
Exhausted and confused, we made our way back to the main building.
It’s easy to say that the interior didn’t disappoint.
Doesn’t every house come with its own private chapel?
One of the most iconic areas of the palace spans the back, a little corridor known as the Hall of Mirrors.
It’s always awe inspiring when you see such a famed place in person for the first time, like you just want to stand there and take it all in. The Hall of Mirrors is the epitome of what the palace represents, the wealth and power of the french royal family, the priceless chandeliers, the painted murals on the ceiling, the glass mirrors on the walls, overlooking their extensive gardens. It makes it easier to see why the proletariat revolted.
Good thing that I was only there to enjoy in these modern times.
Next up were the bedrooms. Yes, you read that right. The king and queen had separate bedrooms. I can’t say I hate the idea…
And the queen’s:
The railing’s are there for a ceremony called the levée, where people would come in and watch the king and queen rise for the day and then again as they go to bed for the night. Now the garden getaways make a little more sense…
I wrote a little bit more about this here: ♦♦
And here’s the door that Marie Antoinette snuck out of on the fateful night the mobs came:
No matter who you are, that must have been terrifying!
After a quick trip to an art gallery in one of the palace wings, our tour came to an end.
After it all, it’s easy to see what draws people to the Palace of Versailles. It gives you not only a glimpse of the past, but how the rich and powerful used to live, and may still live these days. The opulence is equal parts gaudy and mesmerizing. I couldn’t even imagine living in a place like this, with my life put on display for all to see, even if it is in the lap of luxury. It’s a place that must be seen to believe and will stay with you forever.
I know I’ll never forget my short time spent here.