Paris has been home to hundreds of kings and queens and, while the monarchy ended 222 years ago when Louis XVI was executed during the French Revolution, many of its palaces still remain and are maintained and to the public. A couple of weekends ago, Emily and I made the trip to Versailles, just outside of Paris, to visit one of these palaces, the Château de Versailles.
We got there for about 11 or so, if my memory serves me correctly, and headed to the ticket office to get our tickets. Luckily, as with a lot of tourist attractions in Paris, the tour of the palace is free for European Union citizens under 26 years of age, so we just bought our ticket to the gardens and headed up to the entrance. We were greeted with a huge, snaking queue which must have taken us at least an hour. It was very warm despite the cloud coverage, but we eventually got inside and started our tour after a quick rest stop.
It was very busy when we got into the palace, of course being a Saturday, but we managed to make our way through at a steady pace. It was interesting to see all the decoration the same as it used to be, and the paintings on the ceilings were absolutely stunning.
Of course, the best part of the palace was the Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors). This is a room lined on one side with mirrors, the other with windows, and hanging from the ceiling are 46 chandeliers. According to Wikipedia, there are 17 mirror arches, each made up of 21 mirrors, making the amount of mirrors 357 in total. A bit crazy! The Hall of Mirrors is most famously known for being the place where the Treaty of Versailles was signed to end World War 1 on the 28th June 1919.
After finishing our tour through the palace we went out to the gardens. (At the moment there is a special event going on with the fountains in the gardens which is why we had to pay. I’m unsure as to whether you have to pay at other times or not.) The gardens are absolutely huge and just as stunning, if not more so, than the palace itself. I went eight years ago on a beautiful day and it was wonderful. Unfortunately we went on a day which wasn’t as good, but it was still great.
We took a wander down through the gardens, past the fountains and a horrendous temporary art piece. Emily and I each got an ice cream and sat on the grass near the canal. (You can see it in the distance in the photo above!) There were some rowing boats for hire, so we decided to try our hand at rowing for half an hour. Emily absolutely sucked at it (sorry Emily but you did!) so I ended up doing the rowing for 25 of the 30 minutes we were out there. Here is a photo of Emily rowing the boat. She’s pretending to know what she’s doing!
After all my hard work we walked back up through the gardens, past the fountains again, but this time they were on (they were off on the way down) and there was music playing near each fountain to complement the water shows. The fountains there are pretty impressive! One of them is covered in frogs spewing water.
And there ends our day at the Château de Versailles! We had a great time and I probably got a little bit sunburnt (though it’s hard to remember all the little bits of sunburn I’ve gotten over the last month). I definitely recommend it to anyone spending a decent amount of time in Paris (1 week +). If you’re only spending a few days and you really want to go, make sure to get there early, I cannot stress that enough, just so you can make the most of your time. It is entirely possible to do it in one morning, though whether you just spend a few hours or a whole day it is a worth it either way. You can get there by taking the RER C or the SNCF L.
Have you ever been to the Château de Versailles? Let me know in a comment on this post, or send me a tweet at @hlou14!
Until next time,