Versailles

28 01 2012

magnificent golden gates shining in the morning sun

What visit to Paris would be complete without a trip to Versailles. A short train trip from central Paris, Versaille is of course famously the former residence of Queen Marie-Antoinette.

The queues to get into Versailles were phenomenally long and move incredibly slowly – and we had already purchased our tickets in a small shop in the adjacent town. I won’t bore you with the pictures of cobblestones, pigeons, and the queue, all taken as we tried to maintain enthusiasm as we waited to get in. You are never alone in Versailles – a sentiment I believe shared by Marie-Antoinette!

But Versailles is definitely worth the wait. It is grand – gilded and carved marble relief, the ceilings painted with spectacular tableaux. The sharp edges of the marble staircase are worn smooth and rounded, from the feet of many traipsing up and down inspecting the rooms – it would be interesting to know how much of the wear is from tourists and how much already existed. The rooms are set up as they were in the times of Royalty with amazing furniture.

The gardens are also magnificent. Neatly manicured forests, geometrically perfectly clipped hedges, vast reflecting ponds, fountains with elaborate statues. And of course Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon, the private houses of the King and Queen, also set in the gardens. Much smaller and much less gilded and gaudy, they are none-the-less, still luxurious and beautiful.

If you would like more information on Versailles, and some fabulous photographs without tourists in them (!) I can recommend the following books:

Versailles

and

The Palace of Versailles

main entrance

queues waiting in the courtyard entrance

Room of Thrones

Hall of Mirrors

ceiling detail

ceiling detail

Napoleon's throne

gilded detail of the roof

Grand Trianon

Petit Trianon - Marie-Antoinette's favourite

courtyard inside Petit Trianon

kitchen

Folly at Petit Trianon


If you liked this post you might also like some more posts from France…..
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Caves of Lascaux
Notre Dame
French menus
Standing Stones of Carnac
Les Grottos en France
The Louvre
Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Streets of Paris
Arc de Triomphe
Napoleon’s Tomb
Galeries Lafayette


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15 responses

28 01 2012
Versailles | Five-star backpacker | Scoop.it

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28 01 2012
anorwen

Wow, looks so crowded! Is this in the peak season?

28 01 2012
Mudmap

This was in early May 2011, so not quite peak season but heading into it. We arrived fairly early in the momring as we had been warned about the queues – but apparently everyone else had the same idea! Versaille queues were probably the longest and slowest we encountered with the possible exception of the Catacombs.

28 01 2012
Bama

When I was in Paris in 2007 I did not manage to go to Versailles. So, like what you said in this post, my visit to Paris was not complete, yet. I wish I can come again to this magnificent city and visit Versailles.

28 01 2012
Mudmap

Sounds like you need another visit! I know I do! There are so many amazing things to do and see, it is difficult to fit them all in in one journey and not be overloaded by the experience.

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