Last weekend, my husband and I went on a weekend break to Versailles. We visited the palace and grounds, did an evening walk in Versailles, had diner in a fabulous place and we visited the village where Vincent Van Gogh died… But in today’s post, I will concentrate on our visit to the Palace of Versailles. Why don’t you join me?!
Normally we would have visited Versailles in October, but my husband got sick back then, so we postponed our visit to last weekend. I had bought tickets for a specific date to visit the palace in October, but luckily we could still use them now. We couldn’t make use of the timeslot I indicated (which makes you skip the line) so we had to queue, but fortunately Saturdays in March aren’t overly crowded in Versailles, so it didn’t take us too long to actually visit the palace inside.
Tips on visiting the Palace of Versailles
- There are different types of entrance tickets. One tip… bear in mind the amount of time you’ve got to spend in Versailles. The palace and grounds are really extensive, so if you don’t have a lot of time, I’d advice you to go for the cheapest ticket. If you’ve got the entire day (or even two), there are other, more expensive, ticket options.
- We took the free audioguide, which comes in quiet handy to have some background information on the rooms you visit.
- We only had time to visit the palace and a small part of the grounds. We did go as far as the Trianon, but we didn’t have time to go inside. So if you want to squeeze that all in one day, make sure to arrive early and stay as long as possible. We arrived at about 11am and could stay at the palace until 5pm which just wasn’t long enough!! I guess we could have done a quick visit of Le Trianon, but by that time we were dehydrated and hungry so we opted to take care of our inner selves 🙂 Oh well… a good excuse to re-visit one time I guess 😀
- When you buy tickets online, you can pick a timeslot which might come in handy during busier months of the year! I can imagine that the queue to get inside can be very long…
- Inside the palace, there are not many options to eat. On the grounds, there are several options though.
- Inside the palace, you’re allowed to take pictures without flash.
About the palace and its history
- The Palace of Versailles has been listed as a World Heritage Site.
- The Palace contains 2300 rooms.
- The Palace was lived in by kings up intil 1789, when the French Revolution forced Louis XVI to leave Versailles.
- The Palace of Versailles started as a small country residence, built for Louis XIII, who later rebuilt it. The basis of the Palace as we know it today was laid.
- Louis XIV decided to take on the role of architect himself and undertook major works on it. He extended the Palace greatly.
- After the death of Louis XIV in 1715, the palace entered a long period of neglect.
- In 1722, the young Louis XV returned to Versailles to complete building works and to create more intimate and private spaces.
- Louis XVI was born in Versailles. His marriage to Marie-Antoinette in 1770 was one of the greatest events to take place in Versailles. He spent a lot of his time in Versailles and played an important role in the War of American Independence.
- The Palace of Versailles came through the period of the French Revolution relatively unscathed,
- After the departure of the royal family in 1789, repairs began to the Palace.
- Although the furniture and many of the works of art had been removed, the palace continued to be an attraction, with guided tours still being organised.There were also several rooms dedicated to natural history, physcial sciences, a library and many other collections.
- After the Revolution, Napoleon settled in Trianon.
- In 1830 Versailles was brought back to life when Louis-Philippe ascende the throne as ‘King of the French’.
- During the First World War, the Palace was forced to close, but it was not invaded.
- In 1919, Versaille was once again the centre of the world’s attention, as it was chosen for the signing of the Peace Treaty.
- Because of a lack of fundings, the palace began to show its age and was in dire need of renovation. Recalling the involvement of France in the American War of Independence, the American billionaire John D. Rockefeller made two enormous donations to the Palace for its restoration.
- Versailles regained popularity with the general public, solidly backed by the new head curator, Gérald Van der Kemp, a veritable ambassador to the whole world for the monument.
- In 1999 a terrible storm devastaed the park of Versailles. Thousands of trees were lost but gradually the gardens were replanted, in particular with the aim of restoring Le Nôtre’s original layout.
- The Palace itself also required extensive restoration work including restoration of the Hall of Mirrors, the Petit Trianon, the roofs on the central section of the palace and the Royal Gate.
I must say we were overall impressed, especially by the Palace itself. We are sorry we didn’t have time to do everything, but we will probably go back some time to do the rest of it 🙂
Have you ever visited Versailles? Tell me in the comments! And please do scroll all the way down as there are many more pics 🙂