Of all the castles and palaces in France, none is as gilded and as opulent as the Château de Versailles. Once a humble hunting lodge of Louis XIII, Louis XIV subsequently beautified the place and moved the French court and government there in 1682. It continued to be the seat of power of the Dauphin of France until 1789 when the French Revolution commenced with the storming of the Bastille. As for its most famous residents? None other than Louis XVI and his lavish Austrian wife Marie-Antoinette. From her famous words “Let them eat cake” you can see that Versailles sort of looks like a Ladurée cake.
The opulent Hall of Mirrors
I absolutely love the marble flooring of the entrance patio.
Just look at this gilded fabric in the King’s bedchamber.
Versailles embodies classical French art with its magnificent architecture, interior decor and immense gardens. The estate has also been heavily restored in recent years with the addition of special exhibitions (especially of contemporary art), festivities and even masquerade balls. I remember first visiting Versailles more than 15 years ago and though I was impressed, especially with the smaller and much cuter Petit Trianon, it needed a face lift. Now with the restoration, refurnishing and finished gilding, it’s simply amazing. Much work has yet still to be done but Versailles has regained its splendor.
The bedchamber of Marie-Antoinette
Contemporary artist Lee Ufan incorporated this metal arch in the gardens of Versailles during his special exhibition in autumn 2014.
The lavish interior of the Grand Apartment
I think I’ll have my macaron on this table.
From Paris, you can easily reach Versailles by public transportation. Try to arrive early because there are long, I mean LONG, lines. Half a day is enough to visit the main palace but if you’d like to explore the gardens and the Petit Trianon, give it a day. You can also use the extra time to stroll around town.
The apartment of the Mesdames
There are always huge crowds in the palace grounds so arrive early and give yourself enough time to visit it.
Château de Versailles
Read: The opulent hunting lodge of Château de Chambord, France
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Read: A living castle: Château de Cheverny
Read: Château de Fontainebleau, home of the French kings for 800 years