Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is located in the department of Yvelines, in the region of Île-de-France, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southwest of the city of Paris.
- Name: Palace of Versailles
- Location: Near Paris, France
- Built 1634
- Type of attraction: Architectural/Palace
- Ticket price: From $24
From 1682, under Louis XIV, the famous Sun King, until the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI, the Palace was France’s principal royal residence. The Palace was sized to be a Royal residence since the Revolution, so it became the Museum of the History of France in 1837, at the order of King Louis-Philippe. It is located in the department of Yvelines, in the Île-de-France region.
The Palace has many themed areas such as galleries, state and private rooms, fully preserved to testify about French history. Here is the list of most significant areas within a Palace to visit:
The Hall of Mirrors
The entire length of the Hall of Mirrors (73m) pays tribute to France’s political, economic, and artistic achievements following the victory over the three combined forces shown in the War Room. The glorious history of Louis XIV during the first 18 years of his reign, from 1661 to the peace treaties of Nijmegen, is depicted in the 30 painted compositions on the vaulted ceiling by Le Brun, which depict the glorious history of Louis XIV during the first 18 years of his reign, from 1661 to the peace treaties of Nijmegen.
Allegories from Antiquity depict military and diplomatic achievements as well as reforms aimed at reorganizing the realm.
The number and size of the 357 mirrors adorning the 17 arches opposing the windows demonstrate the new French manufacturer’s ability to compete with the Venetian monopoly on mirror production. Such products were considered a tremendous luxury at the time.
The Hall of Mirrors is famous globally for being a place where The Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919.
The King’s State Apartment
This is set of seven rooms, lavishly designed in Italian style and were very popular with people who were coming to see the King. The rooms are the following: The Hercules Room, The Hercules Room, The Venus Room, The Diana Room, The Mars Room, The Mercury Room, and The Apollo Room. Each room has a distinguished design with a specific theme pertinent to their names. They also had different purposes for both the King and the visitors.
The Royal Chapel
This was the last chapel out of five in the Palace to be built and also the last building for Louis XIV. The chapel was dedicated to Saint Louis, the king’s patron saint and a royal ancestor, and incorporated connections to the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, which he also built. The Royal Chapel had daily mass attended by the King and his entourage. The music played during the mass was performed by famous musicians of that time.
The Royal Opera
Inaugurated in 1770 during the rule of Louis XV, it was the largest concert hall in Europe at the time and was also a great architectural and artistic achievement. It was the place of many notable performances, celebrations and parliamentary debates.
Marie-Antoinette’s private chambers
Queen Marie Antoinette had several relatively small rooms behind State Apartments used for her own leisure times and for spending time with court ladies (ladies-in-waiting). The rooms were ornately decorated with every detail take care of and they were renovated several times, in order to adjust the styles to the current fashion at the time. There are several rooms interconnected with a courtyard and an additional apartment on the upper floor. The Gilded Room, The Méridienne Room, The Library, and The Billiard Room are the most famous rooms in Queen’s private chambers.
The Congress Chamber
Completed at the end of the 19th century, to serve as a meeting point of a National Assembly (elected in 1871), the Congress Chamber is still used today by the members of the National Assembly and the Senate when they meet to adopt constitutional amendments or to hear an address by the President of the Republic.
The Gallery of Great Battles
This is the largest room in the Palace (120 meters long and 13 meters wide) and it covers almost the entire first floor of the South Wing. It is one of the most important galleries in the Palace. It depicts nearly 15 centuries of French military successes, from Clovis to Napoleon, through more than 30 paintings.
The other rooms and spaces in the Palace that are preserved monuments to rich French history include: the Madame Pompadour’s Apartments, King’s Private Apartments, The Crusades Rooms, The Coronation Room, and several more.
The Gardens of Versailles
The gardens are an integral part of the Palace complex and they are the landmark and an attraction in their own right. Work on the gardens started in the late 17th century and lasted for 40 years until they took initial shape. Now it is a massive and well-maintained garden with many paths, walks, fountains, statues, Orangerie, and groves.
The estate of Trianon
The estate was built to give kings and queens some sort of privacy and an escape from the hectic life in the Palace. There are Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon palaces built on this estate, together with Queen’s Hamlet and several ornamental gardens in between.
Today, the Palace of Versailles complex is one of the most popular attractions and landmarks of Paris and France. With an incredible number of 2,300 rooms spread over 63,154 m2, the place is an amazing landmark to visit and spend the entire day, easily.
Interesting facts about the Palace
Here are some interesting facts about this amazing landmark:
- The Palace was originally a hunting lodge.
- There was a dress code to visit the gardens attached to the palace.
- King Louis XIV used to live in the Louvre and later on relocated to the Palace.
- Although quite impressive in size, the palace is not the largest in the world, this place belongs to Summer Palace in Beijing, China.
- It was a seat of power for a little over 100 years only – from 1682 to 1789.
- There were originally five chappels in the palace grounds, but four of them were either destroyed or turned into something else.
- The palace was opened t public from the very beginning (1682) with certain conditions. This was unusual at the time.
- It was very costly to maintain it and keeping it operational: more than 35,000 workers worked at the Palace at the peak of its life span.
- The Palace of Versailles is famous as a place where wars finished by signing treaties, the most famous being the Treaty of Versailles, which effectively put an end to World War I.
- The Palace has 700 rooms with a total of 2,153 windows, 1,200 fireplaces, 1250 chimneys, and 67 staircases. For decoration, 6,000 paintings and 5,000 pieces of furniture, and various pieces of art were used.