The second day of my Paris trip was a lovely day. The weather was beautiful and we headed off to see the famous Chateau de Versailles or Palace of Versailles.
The palace once home to the French monarchy is now more synonymous with the wedding of self-proclaimed deity Kanye West and American “royalty” Kim Kardashian.
The palace is 20km outside Paris so it’s an opportunity for tourists to leave the city and see something different. And by “different” I mean the most opulent extravagant place imaginable. It’s a place that has to be experienced to be believed.
The palace is now open to the public and a merely a symbol of the power the French royalty once had. Versailles was an ornate display of the wealth, power and prestige of the monarchy. Nowadays the palace is a museum dedicated to the “all the glories of France.”
The carriages of the train to Versailles were decorated with images from the palace.
Views of the palace outside.
The gilded palace gates – a ludicrous amount of gold leaf adorns the facade of Versailles! Up close the detail is stunning.
The spectacular main gates. The original gate was torn down during the French Revolution but in 2008 the pain-staking replica was built from wrought iron and gold leaf.
Exterior of the palace
Versailles has 700 rooms, more than 2,000 windows, 1,250 chimneys, and 67 staircases. To give you a sense of its enormity, it is capable of holding 20,000 people!
Needless to say I can’t display all of this but we visited the main building, Le Petit Trianon (Marie Antoinette’s residence when she needed a break from court) and gardens.
The story of Versailles began when King Louis XIII purchased a small piece of land to build a modest country home so he could hunt in Versailles. His son King Louis XIV was the one who made Versailles into a colossal project spanning decades. The entire layout is designed so anyone approaching would be in awe of King Louis XIV’s majesty. He was known as the “Sun King” and Versailles is designed in a way that building and gardens are amplified by the sun. The sun emblem can be found everywhere in the palace as it represents Apollo the god of peace and life-giver.
Like most tourist attractions in and around Paris Versailles offers free admission to almost every gallery and museum for those aged under 26. (Being 26 I had to use my youthful looks to my advantage 😉 )
The beautiful royal chapel where the monarchy once worshiped. The chapel is not open to visitors but you can view it from a balcony.
The ceiling of the chapel
The chapel was a central part of palace life as King Louis was seen as “God’s representative” and defender of the Catholic faith. However the ancient Roman Gods and Goddesses feature far more prominently in Versailles, from the gardens to rooms named after them.
Details from the palace
Views of the garden
I love how the statues look like they’re keeping watch in their hollows! Unfortunately the whole of Paris seems to be on a mad water-saving buzz so none of the fountains were switched on.
Below are an artist’s impression of the grounds, views of the hallways and details of the doors.
The palace is well-equipped for its modern-day role as a museum. Visitors are given an audio guide with different language options.
On entering each splendid room, the audio guide gives a description of the history and function of the room. The salons or rooms are each dedicated to a Roman God or Goddess where appropriate.
King Louis XIV was a great patron of the arts and the salons are adorned with beautiful paintings and also portraits of the royal family.
The red room below is the “Salon de Mars” dedicated to Mars the God of War.
The most famous part of Versailles is of course Galerie des Glaces or “The Hall of Mirrors.”
The hall comprises of seventeen mirrored arches each with 21 mirrors which reflect the seventeen windows in the hall. In the 17th century mirrors were extremely expensive and such a display flaunted the King’s wealth.
Visionary King Louis XIV thought of all the girlos who need to take profilers and selfies and provided with them with them Hall of Mirrors. 😛
My playsuit pictured is from Topshop, it was perfect for the sunny day.
Below is the King’s chamber which faced the rising sun in accordance with his overall theme.
Paisley and baroque fabrics decorate the Kings chamber.
Thosee favoured by the King were allowed visit his bedchamber, admittance was granted in order of rank or standing.
The Queen’s bedchamber.
The Queens bedchamber is part of the Queens Grand Apartment. 19 royal babies were born in this room throughout the reign of the various monarch. It is in this room Marie Antoinette fled through a tiny door into a concealed passage during the revolution.
Marie Antoinette’s escape route
Let’s hope the Royal Highnesses were floral fans-they didn’t have much choice!
The beds are shorter than modern lengths and the royals often slept sitting up! Lying flat was associated with death and wasn’t the preferred sleeping stance!
Below is Versailles’ Hall of Battles. As the name suggests it is dedicated to the conquests of the royals with paintings of war and military throughout.
The various paintings and busts represent war heroes such as Charlemagne and Napoleon most of whom died in action. In 1978 The Hall of Battles was bombed in 1978 by Breton revolutionaries who were incensed by the tributes to Napoleon in the hall.
And finally you may know this lady ….
Versailles is so huge that one post will not do it justice, you honestly need to see it for yourself! For more on my Paris trip just click here. Thank you for visiting my blog as always and don’t forget to check out my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook page here.