Grandeur and opulence of Versailles

The Château de Versailles was originally a humble hunting lodge of brick and stone when built in 1623 for Louis XIII. Later it became a Royal palace for Louis XIV and one of the most beautiful achievements, an epitome of classical French art and symbol of royal tyranny.

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The Grand Apartments most ostentatious design element is the Hall of Mirrors. This spectacular ‘Grande Galerie’ served as a passageway and meeting place for courtiers and visiting public. The 73 metre hall has seventeen arches set on marble pilasters. Opposite the windows which are decorated with 357 mirrors are heavily gilded sculptures of mythological figures and an ornately decorated barrel vaulted ceiling.

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From the central window of the Hall of mirrors visitors can look down on the Water Parterre, two large ornamental pools decorated with four bronze reclining statues. The design and layout of the surrounding gardens took forty years to complete. It took enormous work to complete the gardens and a massive amount of earth was required to be shifted to lay the flower beds.

The works included moving a large number of statues and fountains, creating the Orangerie and the canal which replaced the existing woods, grasslands and marshes. The sculpted lawns of the Orangerie and a circular pool are framed by les Cent Marches, or hundred steps, two monumental staircases. The Orangerie’s three galleries overlooking the Parterre take advantage of the natural slope providing protection for the 1,055 trees in boxes, some over 200 years old. These trees from Portugal and Italy are a mix of oleanders, pomegranates, oranges and palm trees that are moved inside in winter.

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We also visited the State Apartments, the King’s private apartment and the Queen’s bed chamber. In the chamber we saw the secret door Marie Antoinette escaped through when Versaille was stormed in 1787. In the Chapel of Versaille we visited the alter where Marie Antoinette married Louis XVI. Finally, one of the palace’s grandest interiors, the Royal Opera, constructed of timber and painted to resemble marble. This produced excellent acoustics and the Royal Opera could hold 1,336 spectators.

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We also viewed some very famous furniture. Like the desk of Louis XV where with a single turn of a key lock all of the drawers and the roll top of the intricate carved writing desk. It was the first of its kind with gilded trim and built in clock and a hidden button revealed a number of secret compartments.

We visited the clock room where Louis XVI indulged his passion for sciences and geography. The clock, a monument of art and science shows the time, day, month, year and the moon’s quarter. On top the crystal globe shows the planets revolving around the sun. The Porcelain dining room is where forty guests of Marie Antoinette would have their society supper and Louis XV had his supper after a hunt.

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Versailles was a highlight of our time in Paris. We were impressed by the art, the statues and huge murals. We were in awe of the history, the spectacular and extraordinary beauty of centuries of grandeur and the opulence of Versailles. This grand palace has to be seen to be believed and is well worth a day to take in the splendour.

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We do recommend getting skip the line tickets. We paid for our Behind the scenes tour and were taken into some areas not seen by the general public and it included entry before the majority of the tourists enter.

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Versailles011After we finish the tour inside, we got out to the gardens. The gardens and fountains are huge. You can board little trains or hire a golf buggy and ride boats on the lake. This day’s tour was the best money we have spent on a tour to witness the sheer glut and excess. We had our breath taken away with the vast gardens and massive chateau, it was truly awe inspiring.

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Have you visited Versailles or seen a place that was as opulent and grand? Is Versailles somewhere you would like to visit?

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40 Responses

  1. Sounds like you did Versailles right! I thought the entire site was stunning, but didn’t love Versailles the way I thought I would. I did not take a tour, and as a result, I felt like I didn’t really get a feel for the history and significance of certain rooms and artifacts. I learned a lot more reading your post than I did actually visiting Versailles itself! I definitely need to go back and do it right. Either way, the chateau and grounds were gorgeous! Thanks for this post. 🙂
    Beth | Adventuring the Great Wide Somewhere recently posted…Bavarian Charm in Leavenworth, WAMy Profile

  2. Versailles is such an interesting part of France’s history, did you get to see Marie Antoinette’s hamlet in the grounds?
    Suze The Luxury Columnist recently posted…Batty Langley’s – Quirky London Boutique HotelMy Profile

  3. Connie Reed says:

    Can you even imagine living in that kind of opulence? We were supposed to visit Versailles when we were in Paris for our daughter’s wedding twelve years ago. Unfortunately, the only day we had open was Monday, and it was closed that day. Thanks for sharing. At least I got a peek at it now.
    Connie Reed recently posted…Pease’s Candy: Five Generations of Sweet ConfectionMy Profile

  4. evankristine says:

    oh versaille! so beautiful and majestic as always, i miss you! glad you had a good time in there <3

  5. Majesta Zea says:

    I have been to Versailles myself and I thought it was just gorgeous! I have yet to visit another location as extravagant. I hope to go back some time soon!
    Majesta Zea recently posted…Is SweetMy Profile

  6. Linda Bibb says:

    I’ve been to Versailles twice but have yet to explore the gardens, which are over-the-top impressive. If I were living in the area I’d definitely ask about a season ticket. There’s so much to see there!
    Linda Bibb recently posted…River Cruise Journal: Romantic Road Excursion to RothenburgMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      I think a season ticket would be a great way to see it all. Although it looks like we saw a lot, we still missed quite a bit Linda and would love to go back again and again and see more.

  7. Sally says:

    Versailles is a place I think you have to visit to truly take in how spectacular it is! My neck hurt from looking up! We had skip the line tickets as well through a tour however on a particularly busy and hot day we were still left outside sizzling in the sun so for us the best bit was getting outside into the gardens, I would have liked more time though to explore. Historically an amazing place to visit and you reminded me of some of the facts that I didn’t take in as I was too hot haha!
    Sally recently posted…5 Ways I Saved Money At The SnowMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Funny you mention your neck hurt, those ceilings were just amazing weren’t they Sally? We were lucky that is was a mild day when we were there.

  8. Bryna says:

    I didn’t love the Palace of Versailles as much as I thought I did. It was definitely stunning but when I went it was way, way too packed with people. I almost felt like I was back in Japan on a train during rush hour! But it was very beautiful, and the gardens took my breath away! Also the Queen’s Hamlet was very pretty too. Great photos!
    Bryna recently posted…A Wine Amateur’s Top 3 Wineries in the OkanaganMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Bryna we were so lucky when we went, there were queues outside but our tickets allowed us to enter in front of them. A little way into the tour we could see the crowds gathering inside, but most areas were ahead of them and also allowed into areas restricted to the general public. It was the best way to see around.

  9. Emma says:

    Beautiful pictures, brought back lots of memories from visiting Versailles. It’s such an amazing place.
    Emma recently posted…Mama Shelter Istanbul ReviewMy Profile

  10. Liz says:

    Opulent is really just the word to describe Versailles. I haven’t been there but the pictures remind me a bit of Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria. It looks really grand and steeped with history; I should visit it next time I’m in Paris.
    Liz recently posted…Road Trip from Vienna to Salzburg: Soaking in Austria’s Gorgeous LandscapeMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Opulent is the first word that comes to mind for Versailles. I haven’t yet been to Schonbrunn Palace but as I loved Versailles so much I will add it to our plan for Vienna in December, thanks for the recommendation Liz.

  11. Versailles seems like the epitome of opulence like many of the European castles and grand residences we like to visit. We’ve been to Paris twice but never made it to Versailles. Beautiful photos and thank you for a wonderful virtual tour. I’m so glad they actually allow picture taking compared to other places like Neuschwanstein.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted…Snorkeling with Sharks and Stingrays in MooreaMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Mary I hope you do include Verailles into a trip to Paris as it is really worthwhile, especially if you enjoy seeing the grandeur of European style. I was pleased they allowed photos too, I had no idea that Neuschwanstein didn’t allow them.

  12. Versailles is one of those places in France which deserves that extra day to spend in. It’s just absolutely amazing! I love the grounds and the garden, we had our lunch by the lake there but I didn’t see the trains nor the buggy. 🙁
    Pinay Flying High recently posted…Doha | Tap Brunch at The Cellar Will Tap Away Your Food CravingsMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Yes, it was a wonderful place to spend the day. There was a train outside as soon as we exited to head down to the gardens, but we walked and enjoyed strolling in the sunshine.

  13. I went to Versailles many years ago and it was a great experience. The lavish interiors are a must see in my opinion. When I visited it was rainy, cold and windy (and it was summer). Therefore, we couldn’t enjoy the gardens that well.
    Ruth – Tanama Tales recently posted…The Tufa Towers of Mono LakeMy Profile

  14. Beautiful photos! Have you been to Fontainbleau? I’d highly recommend it, it’s as sumptuous as Versailles with less crowds.
    Jennifer (aka Dr. J) recently posted…Ten Things to Do on a Weekend Citybreak in CorkMy Profile

  15. Versailles has been on our list for at least ten years….How much was the tour? And how much time did you spent there (including tour and wandering around in the area)?
    Natascha from Westwards recently posted…Hiking in the Alps from Chamonix to Nendaz: A variation on the Haute RouteMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Natascha I truly can’t recall the cost. I don’t think they overly expensive but we did have our transport from Paris included. We were there most of the day Thank your for your comment.

  16. How spectacular. Gordon got out there but I didn’t make. It is so opulent, and your photos are beautiful
    Paula McInerney recently posted…Skiing in Australia is DifferentMy Profile

  17. Karen says:

    Gorgeous photos! Yes, I have been to Versailles, but many years ago. I’d like to return with my husband. I know he’d enjoy it too.
    Karen recently posted…Historic Macau Part 1: Churches and TemplesMy Profile

  18. Your post reminded me of the time my husband and I visited the Château de Versailles. However, your photos are so much better than the ones we took [we were just starting to learn about photography at the time].

    There is just so much to see and do there. It is definitely a feast for the eyes. The ceilings were by far my favorite.
    Constance – Foreign Sanctuary recently posted…Back to the GrindstoneMy Profile

  19. Natalie says:

    Great photos. Still haven’t made it to Versailles, but the inside of it (especially the hall of mirrors) reminds me of the Palais Garnier which is my favourite building in Paris.
    Natalie recently posted…Airbnb: When Things Go WrongMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Natalie we were captured in the atmosphere for almost a whole day there, just loved it. We missed Palais Garnier (only saw the outside) so will be high on our list next visit. Thank you for your comment.

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