Chateau de Versailles. Day 4 (I)

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France Paris

Chateau de Versailles was originally King Louis XIII’s hunting lodge, and eventually expanded by his son, transforming it into an exorbitant, lavish palace. The palace consists of 4 sections – the main palace, the trianons, the landscape gardens, and Marie-Antoinette’s hamlet.  

The royal chapel in the main palace is where the royal members attended their daily masses and where important events were held.  The marriage of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette was held at the chapel.

The hall of mirrors is the most extravagantly decorated part of the palace.   The hall got its name as it has 17 mirrored arches, and 17 arched doors that overlooks the land-cape garden.  The hall is as grand as possible – red-marbled walls, painted ceilings, rows and rows of chandeliers, and with the reflecting effect of the mirrors, the scale of grandness is doubled.

Throughout the palace, Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos’ work is being displayed.  At the end of hall of mirrors, there is a pair of giant shoes – “Marilyn”. As I got closer, I marvelled at the creativity because the shoes are made of cooking pots!

The queen’s chamber.

The Mars room.

Miniature King’s chamber.

Before the king and queen are wed, they are referred to as “dauphin” (crown prince) and “dauphine” (the woman to wed the crown prince).  They have their own apartment, on the ground floor at the side of the main palace.  

The beautiful garden takes up to 8 sq km, with a stunning 1.6 km grand canal as center piece and many fountains, statues along the way.

The garden is huge and it’s pretty tiring trying to get around the whole place.  But not to worry, there are mini-train services, bike rentals, and golf-buggy rentals available.

The pink-marbled Grand Trianon is a less formal palace build for Louis XIV, as a get-away from the formality of the main palace.  The Grand Trianon is much more modest and cozy in design.

The king needed the Grand Trianon as a get-way, while the queen used the Petite Trianon as a getaway.  The Petite Trianon was originally built for King XIV’s mistresses, and was eventually given to Marie-Antoinette.  The trianon was exclusively for Marie-Antoinette and entrance to the trianon was by invitation only.

Marie Antoinette had more things to help her relive stress -the Queen’s Hamlet- a working farmland that was built on her request.  When I first saw the hamlet, it really felt like the Smurfs’ Village come true, with all the flowers, straw-roofed cottages and animals.

We spent a whole day exploring the grounds.  I am not sure how we did it, covering such a huge place in one day – I think we were aided by the big crowds at the main palace such that we were forced to move fast as we were passively pushed by more people behind us.  Nonetheless, Chauteau de Versailles is one fantastic and impressive place to visit!  (For more photos, click here).

More Info
Tel: +3301 3083 7800
Getting there: take RER C5 to Versailles-Rive Gauche
Admission Fee: 18 Euros
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday, Closed on Mondays.  Apr – Oct 9am – 6.30pm.  Nov – Mar 9am – 5pm.
Inclusive in Paris Museum Pass: Yes.




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