Today we are going to put our suitcase in four centuries of French history the most sumptuous, four centuries of beauty and splendor in one of the most visited in Europe. I suppose that these assumptions do not want to miss this tour we are going to make the Palace of Versailles, home of great kings and great revolutions. Ostentatious gardens, architectural styles brought to its highest artistic expression, political turmoil and social unrest palace … A place where history sleeps dressed in luxury between its stones.
A half hour from Paris, to the southwest, is the city of Versailles, home to the palace of the same name, the symbol of absolute power of monarchs in France and especially Louis XIV, the principal architect of Versailles that is what it is today. Here is also forged and the French Revolution began, and twenty-four years later he signed the Versailles Treaty that would end the war.
We look to 1623 when King Louis XIII built a hunting lodge located in a box, where the monarch and his entourage spent their leisure time. Liked the place so much that the king commanded that it be expanded, building what is known as the former palace. Later Louis XIV, royal absolutism obsessed with her, wanted to create a palace and an environment unparalleled anywhere in the world. So he commissioned the architect Louis Le Van extending the old building, which was first built in the Hall of Mirrors, undoubtedly the most impressive room of the Palace, where the Treaty of Versailles above.
The Hall of Mirrors measure 76 meters long and has nearly 350 mirrors, and 20 huge windows overlooking the gardens of the palace. All this wrapped in a halo of baroque decoration hardly matched. The construction of this room starts in 1678, completed in 1684 under the direction of Charles Le Brun. Emphasize its statues, its marble busts, decorative painting, and why not, its impressive mirrors. The famous saying “if you break a mirror 7 years bad luck” was conceived specifically for this room because, being mirror an object of luxury in the era Versailles, any servant who broke one of the mirrors needed to replace seven years’ pay.
Flanking the Hall of Mirrors are the Halls of Peace and War. In the Hall of the War we stop at the reliefs Coysevox Antoine, born in Lyon but descendants of Spaniards, in which Louis XIV appears majestic portrayed from the back of his horse. In the Hall of Peace is also embodied the figure of the Sun King, in perfect harmony with the light blue color that blurs the paintings.
Another of the most popular rooms is the Opera House, renowned for its perfect acoustics. An audience made entirely of wood at the end of the reign of Louis XIV (1770). Can accommodate over 700 people seated. An interesting aspect of this room is that it presents a mechanism that allows the floor level with the audience on stage to expand its capacity. This mechanism was specifically used in the wedding of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XV, so that the banquet was held in this same place. Currently used for big concerts of classical music.
Further inland, close to the actual room is the Royal Chapel. This is where listening to Mass every day, Louis XIV. Gothic and Baroque style at the same time, its columns are typical of 1700. The king heard mass from a podium at the same level as the actual departments. Just down the church for ceremonies or events. The entire chapel was filled with courtiers who heard mass standing. Currently highlighted in the chapel a beautiful collection of sculptures.
Behind the Capilla Real, arrived at Royal rooms, exquisitely decorated with embroidery and painting, drawing particular attention to the room as Marie Antoinette remains intact since 1789, the year he had to leave the palace for the sake of the French Revolution.
Already on the outside, the gardens are simply spectacular. We began by visiting the Grand Trianon, a village which Louis XIV purchased and then became his home. It is said that he wanted to flee the stifling protocol of Versailles. It was the favorite of Marie Antoinette. On the left is the Palace of L’Orangerie, where the king had his orange (he was the only person who could grow oranges in all of Paris). The Orange had the peculiarity of being mobile, it could be transported to greenhouses when the weather requires it, allowing to enjoy oranges in all seasons.
In the magnificence of the Gardens of the Palace you can find the Grand Canal, a huge artificial lake to build commanded by the king. In the Grand Canal were sailing galleys of war, which served as the Venetian gondola ride to the royalty. Today you can walk in rowing boats, so I could feed the ducks from the lake.
When and how can we enjoy Versailles?
The Palace of Versailles is open every day except Mondays, national holidays in France or when official ceremonies are held at the Palace. From July 4 to October 31 the palace is open from 9 am to 18.00 pm From November 1 to March 31 the hours are from 9.30 to 17.30 h. The last admission is half an hour before closing.
The gardens are open daily from 7 am until dusk (open at 8 am in winter).
How to get there?
There are 4 options to get to Versailles from Paris.
1) Take the train, take line C and get off at the Versailles – Rive Gauche. The trip takes about 30 minutes at a price of 3 euros. The only drawback is that you leave about 10 minutes from campus.
2) You can also choose to take the public bus line 171 to Chateau de Versailles, a few steps from the entrance of the Palace.
3) If you drive, take the A-13 motorway towards Rouen, then take exit for Versailles – Chateau. You can park your car at the Plaza de Armas, just meters from the entrance to the Palace.
4) And finally, you can take a taxi which will charge about 30 euros.
Here you can find your flight to Paris. and your hotel in Paris.