Palace of Versailles

Paris attraction the Palace of VersaillesPalace of Versailles
  • The most visited landmark in France and perhaps the most beautiful palace in Europe.
  • A memorial to mankind’s artistic ability, downfall of French monarchy and dynastical life in French kindgom.
  • Located on the western part of Paris, Versailles is a town in the Ile de France region.
  • Best known for having a vast royal palace and gardens built by King Louis XIV.
  • One of the most prosperous place in the neighbourhoods of Paris.
  • Its’ history galleries are the world’s largest “History Museum” with 18,000 square meters.
  • Included on the World’s Heritage List 30 years ago.
  • The Town of Versailles

    • A place of business congresses, festivals, public administration and tourism.
    • A well-off town of Paris, formerly the capital of the French kingdom.
    • Situated in the western suburbs, on a high plateau occupied by a hill and 17.1 kilometers far from the center of Paris,
    • The capital of the departement of Yvelines .
    • A significant military center with training schools centered at the Satory camp,
    • Became the cradle of the French Revolution

    Short History

    • Louis XIII is the builder of the original Chateau at Versailles which started as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge.
    • The construction of the castle started in 1664 and lasted for 50 years. 15,000 builders worked to build the castle.
    • The architect Louis Le Vau, Andre Le Notre, and painter decorator Charles Le Brun began expansion and transformation of the chateau in 1669.
    • Louis XIV rebuilt this chateau to keep the aristocrates under his control transforming and expanding it and moving the court to Versailles in 1682.
    • On 6 May 1682 the court was inaugurated.
    • In order to show the power of the monarchy, the palace and surrounding gardens were built and arranged with ultimate detail, and became a model for a number of royal places in Europe.
    • The tranformation of gardens to English style was put into practice by Louis XVI.
    • From 1682 to 1789 Versailles became the residence of French courtiers.
    • The chateau lost its role at the time of French Revolution in 1789 and left abandoned but started to gain a new role as a museum in the 19th century.
    • The palace was preserved in a large scale by citizens of Versailles during the early years of the French Revolution.
    • From August 1793 to January 1795 the sale of furniture took place at auctions.
    • The museum became the best example of classic French art in 1797.
    • By the time of Napoleon the museum was closed.
    • Versailles was designed as an imperial palace according to the Constitution in 1804.
    • The emperor resided at the Grand Trianon while other apartments in the chateau were redecorated and arranged for Marie Louise, the empress.
    • In 1830 Louis Philippe start to live at the Grand Trianon and the Chateau witnessed great changes under the direction of Pierree François, Leonard Fontaine, Eugene Charles, Fredeic Nepveu.
    • On 10 June 1837 Louis Philippe transformed it into a National Museum.
    • The palace is still used for political functions. In the Hall of Mirrors has been served Heads of state and in the congress in Versailles the Assemblee Nationale and theSenat meet to revise social affairs.

    Campaigns of Construction

    First constructive campaign

    • Started in 1664 and finished in 1668 witnessing transformations in the chateau and gardens to accommodate 600 guests.

    Second constructive campaign

    • Started in 1669 and finished in 1672 inaugurating with the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.
    • The chateau’s most significant modification was Le Vau’s envelope of the hunting lodge belonging to Louis XIII.
    • The new structure provided new lodgings for the king and other courtiers such as one apartment for the king and one for the queen.

    Third constructive campaign

    • The Palace obtained the look that it has today.
    • Began under the direction of the architect, Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1678 and finished in 1684.

    Fourth constructive campaign

    • Hardouin Mansart and Robert de Cotte worked together to construct the royal chapel.
    • Started in 1699 and finished in 1710.

    Important Events Occured at the Palace of Versailles

    • Served as headquarters during the Franco German War by the Army  of the kingdom of Prussia
    • On January 1871 was declared the German empire.
    • The Treaty of Versailles was signed here on June 28 1919.
    • Used as Headquarters of the Allied General from 1944 to 1945 during the World War II
    • Made Court of Appeal’s seat in 1975.
    • Has become the western suburbs’ main center in Paris playing the role as a judicial centre and administrative centre in 1960s.
    • The centre of thirty academies of the Ministry of National Education in France being itself the largest one of those .

    The Courtiers (From Louis XIV to Lafayette) :

    • Louis XIV, Maria Theresa, the Grand Dauphin, Madame de Montespan, Madame de Maintenon, La Grande Mademoiselle, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Turenne, Saint Simon, Marie Leszczinsk, Mesdames, Madame de Pompadour, Madame Du Barry, Cardinal de Fleury, Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Madame Royal, Louis XVII, Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Laperouse, Madame de Polignac, Axel de Fersen, Madame Campan, Jacques Necker, Lafayette.

    Appartments in detail

    The demonstratives are the Hall of Mirrors, the Trianon Palaces and the gardens.

    Grand Appartement du Roi:

    • Used for court functions with 7 rooms (salon de Diane, salon de Mars, salon de Mercure, salon d’Apollon, salon de Jupiter, salon de Saturne, salon de Vénus)
    • Included the salon de l’Abondance (Hall of Plenty) and the salon d’Hercule     during the reign of Louis XV in the 18th century.
    • Le Brun decorated the appartements.

    Grand Appartement de la Reine:

    • The configuration changed when the Hall of Mirrors was constructed in 1678
    • Used as abodes of Marie Therese d’Autriche (the wife of Louis XIV), Marie Leczinska (the wife of Louis XV), Marie Antoinette (the wife of Louis XVI), Princess Marie Adelaide (Louis XIV’s grand daughter-in-law)
    • Included 7 rooms later such as chapel, chambre, grand cabinet, salle de gardes, antichambre, oratory and petit cabinet.

    Appartement du Roi (King’s Private Apartments):

    • Resided by Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI.
    • Arranged originally and used for ceremonies.

    Le Petit Appartement du Roi:

    • Modified by Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI.
    • Used by the King privately.

    Le petit appartement de la Reine:

    • Modified by Marie Leszczynska and Marie Antoinette.
    • Used by the Queen privately.
    • Arranged originally for Marie Therese (the wife of Louis XIV)

    Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors):

    • The most famous chamber in the Palace.
    • Decorated with chandeliers and fine art.
    • Boasts with 17 tall windows ,and mirrors with arches on the walls.
    • The most visited room in the chateau.
    • Inspired a number of copies all around the world
    • Used for the courtiers’ ceremonies

    La Grande Galerie (The Grande Galerie):

    • It has also been here that the presidents of France keep on receiving the official visits since then.
    • Used as a passageway, a meeting and waiting place by the courtiers and people.
    • The treaty of Versailles was signed here on 28th June 1919 ending the First World War.

    Chapels:

    • The current chapel was built by Louis XIV.
    • Represent one of the best exemplifications of French Baroque architecture.
    • Five chapels were built since the construction of the Chateau.

    L’ Opera:

    • Built by Louis XV, completed in 1770, and used for wedding ceremonies.

    The Grand Trianon:

    • Built  by Jules Hardouin Mansart in 1687.
    • The architecture of the building was influenced by Italian architecture.
    • Well known for its’geometrical gardens in French style.
    • Marie Leszczynska, Marie Antoinette, Princess Palatine, the duc de Chartres, the duchesse de Bourbon were the courtiers spent time here.

    Petit Trianon (the Queen’s Palace):

    • Built in Greek style by the architect Jacques Anges Gabriel as a masterwork.
    • Surrounded by gardens and clearly seen from all sides.

    Marie Antoinette’s Estate (The Queen’s residence):

    • Used privately by Marie Antoinette where noone could approach without permission.
    Palace of Versailles MapPalace of Versailles Map by Frommers

    The Architects of the Palace of Versailles

    Anne Lacaton, Claude Parent, Elisabeth Lemercier, Jean Nouvel, Jean Philippe Vassal, Kazuyo Sejima, Oscar Niemeyer, Philippe Bona, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Sir Norman Foster and Tadao Ando.

    The Layout of the departments

    • The Ground Floor (consisted of the billiards room, the grand staircase, the guards’ room and the warming room)
    • The First Floor (consisted of  the Queen’s bedchamber, living room, and the cabinet of movable mirrors)
    • Mezzanine (consisted of the library, the room of the first lady’s maid, the bathroom, and the room of the lady-in-waiting)
    • The Attic (consisted of  the King’s Bedchamber, the King’s antechamber and the cabinet)
    • The King’s Interior Apartments (consisted of the bedchamber of Louis XV, cabinet des Chiens, cabinet des depeches, the bath chamber, the clock room, the dressing room of Louis XVI, the dining room used after hunting, the games room of Louis XVI, the gold plate room, the King’s interior cabinet, the library of Louis XVI and the porcelain dining room)
    • Apartments of the Dauphin (consisted of the dauphine’s bedchamber, first antechamber, second antechamber, drawing room, library, large study and private study)
    • Mesdames’ Apartments (consisted of Madame Victoire’s bedchamber, first antechamber, second antechamber, interior chamber, large chamber, library, and Madame Adelaide’s bedchamber, large chamber and hoquetons salon)
    • Apartments of Marie Antoinette (consisted of the cabinet of the Meridian,the Billard Room and the gilded study)
    • The Apartment of the Marquise de Pompadour

    The Queen’s Grand Apartment (consisted of the Queen’s chamber, the antechamber of the Grand Couvert and the Nobles Salon)

    Statistical Information about the Palace

    • Surface area of roofing : 11 hectares
    • Floor space : 51,210 m2
    • Number of windows : 2,153
    • Number of rooms : 700
    • Staircases : 67
    • Paintings in the museum’s collection : 6,123
    • Drawings in the museum’s collection : 1,500
    • Engravings in museum’s collection : 15,034
    • Sculptures in the museum’s collection : 2,102
    • Pieces of furniture and objets d’art : 5,210

    Gardens of Versailles (The Orangerie):

    • Versailles ‘ marvellous gardens and park covering about 1200 hectares are nearly as remarkable as the castle.
    • Built for the courtiers’ recreation.
    • Among the best examples of French Garden planning.
    • Designed, elaborated and enlarged by the gardener Andre Le Notre.
    • Contains around 1,300 fountains, waterfalls, a large number of statues, sculptures, and water parterres.
    • Gardens consisted of  Dauphin’s Grove, Girandole Grove, the Encelade Grove, the Obelisk Grove, the Star Grove, the Queen’s Grove, the Grove of Domes, the Grove of Apollo’s Baths, The Green Round Grove,  the Grove of the Three Fountains, the Grove of the Arc de Triumph, Walls of Greenery, the King’s Garden, the Ballroom, the Chestnuts Room, the Grand Canal and Swiss Ornamental Lake.

    Names of the Fountains of Versailles:

    • Bacchus Fountain, Ceres Fountain, Flora Fountain, Latona fountain, Mirror Fountain, Saturn Fountain, the Apollo Fountain, the Dragon Fountain,the Neptune Fountain, the Nymphs’ Bath, the Pyramid Fountain.

    Visitors’ Information

    Getting to the town and the Palace of Versailles:

    • Gardens are open 7:00 to 19:00 every day for vehicles, 20.30 for walkers.
    • It takes about 35 minutes to reach Versailles by train. (The line Versailles Rive Gauche is the closest one to the Palace.)
    • The easiest way to get to Versailles palace and avoid queue is to buy the ticket directly from the Chateau Versailles web-site. You may go directly to the A access if you had your tickets in advance.
    • Going on a bus tour is the best way to discover Versailles.
    • The most famous places in the Palace are Hall of Mirrors, Grand Apartments of the King and Queen, King’s bedchamber, apartments of the Prince, apartments of Mesdames the King’s daughters.
    • The Chateau is open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on the French public holidays). Open 9:00 to 18:30 (May to September) , 9:00 to 17:30 (October to April)
    • The gardens and the park and are open from 7:00 in summer and 8:00 in winter but closed in bad weather.
    • Exploring all the palace in one day is impossible.
    • The Palace is open 9:00 to 18:30 every day but closed on Mondays.
    • Trianon Palaces and Marie Antoinette’s Estate are open 12:00 to 18:30 every day but not on Mondays.

    Staying in the town of Versailles

    There are various options of acommodation, as well as camping. Lodging is not as expensive as Paris [Check hotels in Versailles from www.booking.com and accommodations from the Versailles Tourism Office (www.versaillestourisme.com)

    Food and Drink Facilities in the town

    • A number of good places could bee seen while visiting.
    • There is a Cafe in the Chateau, 2 restaurants in the Formal Gardens, some buffets serving snacks and fast food.

    Quotes about the Palace of Versailles

    • “We have three properties where we actually tore down the clubhouses and built new ones. At the one at [Versailles on the Lakes in] Oakbrook Terrace we even have a home theater room. We put in the latest exercise equipment and a demonstration kitchen, where we have classes.” Tony Rossi
    • “As a consequence of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the officer corps of the old army became part of this class, as did that part of the younger generation who, in the old Germany, would have become officers or civil servants.” Gustav Stresemann
    • “What Louis-Philippe did at Versailles is good. Having accomplished this work, is to have been great as a king and impartial as a philosopher; is to have made a national monument of a monarchical monument; is to have put an immense idea in an immense edifice; is to have installed the present in the past: 1789 vis-à-vis 1688, the emperor at the king’s home – Napoléon at Louis XIV’s; in a word, it is having given to this magnificent book that is called French history this magnificent binding that is called Versailles.” Victor Hugo
    • “Dance is very, very old. With Louis XIV at Versailles is where ballet started.” Neve Campbell
    • “I would point out that Japan’s proposal at the Versailles Peace Conference on the principle of racial equality was rejected by delegates such as those from Britain and the United States.” Hideki Tojo
    • “Graces and cupids form what is most perfect in the most beautiful and most magnificent works of art at Trianon.” Felibien

    Facts about the town of Versailles and the Palace

    • Arrondissement : Versailles
    • Canton : Chief town of 3 cantons
    • Density : 3,344 /km² (8,660 /sq mi)
    • Department : Yvelines
    • Elevation : 103–180 m (340–590 ft)
    • Insee/Postal code : 78646/ 78000
    • Intercommunality : Communaute de Communes de Versailles Grand Parc
    • Land area : 26.18 km2 (10.11 sq mi)
    • Mayor : François de Mazières
    • Population : 87,549 (2006 census)
    • Region : Ile de France

    See more photos | See the video

    Palace of Versailles Map and Street Tour:

    (Please put the yellow man icon on the map to see original photo of the place and start street tour…)

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    (Text Source: ‘paris4travel‘)

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