The Palace of Versailles is a famous historical monument located about 20 kilometres southwest of Paris, France. It is renowned for its grandeur, history, art, and culture, and it continues to be one of the most important cultural landmarks in France and the world.
When was Versailles built?
Louis XIII originally built the Palace of Versailles as a hunting lodge in 1623. However, the palace as it is known today was largely built during the reign of his son, Louis XIV, in the late 17th century. Louis XIV began expanding the original building in 1661, and over the course of several decades, he transformed it into one of the most extravagant and opulent royal palaces in the world. He commissioned several architects, including Louis Le Vau and Jules Hardouin-Mansart, to redesign and expand the original building into an enormous palace complex with a symmetrical layout and a large formal garden. The palace's construction was completed in 1710, although modifications and additions were made over the following centuries.
How long did it take to build Versailles?
Construction on the Palace of Versailles and its gardens lasted 40 years or so.
Who lived in Versailles?
Over the years, the palace was home to several generations of French kings and queens, including Louis XV and Louis XVI and their respective queens, Marie Leszczyńska and Marie Antoinette. Each monarch left their mark on the palace, adding their own touches of art and architecture to the complex.
What important events took place at Versailles?
The palace was also the site of several important historical events, including the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, which marked the end of World War I. The treaty was signed in the famous Hall of Mirrors, one of the palace's most famous and stunning rooms.
On December 2, 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of France in the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, but the ceremony was followed by a grand reception at the Palace of Versailles.
In 1815, after the defeat of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna was held at Versailles to redraw the map of Europe and restore stability to the continent.
In 1871, after the fall of Napoleon III and the end of the Second French Empire, the National Assembly voted to restore the monarchy and offered the throne to the Count of Paris. He was officially proclaimed king in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.
What happened to Versailles during the French Revolution?
During the French Revolution, the palace was abandoned by the royal family and became a symbol of the excesses of the monarchy. However, in the 19th century, the palace was restored to its former glory under King Louis-Philippe, who turned it into a museum dedicated to French history.
Which other buildings and gardens has Versailles influenced?
The Palace of Versailles influenced a lot of architects and other buildings, especially from the end of the 17th century to the end of the 18th century. Britain's most eminent architect at that time, Sir Christopher Wren, incorporated memories of Versailles into Hampton Court. Andreas Schlüter, a German baroque sculptor and architect, did the same when designing the façades of the Palais Royal in Berlin. Many other palaces reminiscent of Versailles have sprung up all over Europe. You'll find these "Little Versailles" in Nymphenburg, Schleissheim, Karlsruhe, Würtzbourg, Postdama and Stockholm. You also find gardens that draw influence from Le Nôtre's gardens, for instance, Windsor Castle, the Gardens of the Mont des Récollets in Cassel and the Royal Gardens of La Granja in Spain.
What part of Versailles is open to the public?
Today, the Palace of Versailles is one of France's most popular tourist attractions, with millions of visitors each year. The palace, its gardens, and its many art collections are open to the public and offer a glimpse into the grandeur and history of the French monarchy.
When is the best time to visit Versailles?
The best time to visit Versailles depends on several factors, such as weather, crowds, and events. Here are some things to consider when planning your visit:
Weather: The best time to visit Versailles is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) when the temperatures are mild, and the crowds are smaller than during the peak summer season. However, keep in mind that rain showers are more common in the spring and fall.
Crowds: The summer months (July to August) are the busiest time to visit Versailles, with long lines and crowds of tourists. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the off-season, such as winter (December to February), when the palace and gardens are less crowded.
Events: Versailles hosts several events throughout the year, such as musical performances, art exhibitions, and garden shows. Check the palace's website for upcoming events that may interest you.
Day of the week: Try to visit Versailles on a weekday, as weekends tend to be busier.
How many people visit Versailles per year?
Over 7 million people visit the Palace of Versailles each year. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in France and one of the most visited palaces in the world. The number of visitors can vary depending on the season, with summer being the busiest.
How much does it cost to visit Versailles?
The cost to visit Versailles depends on several factors, such as the ticket type, the time of year, and whether or not you want to see the palace and gardens. Here is an overview of the current prices as of March 2023:
Palace ticket: €20 (€27 during high season). This ticket includes access to the Palace of Versailles, the Hall of Mirrors, and the King's and Queen's State Apartments.
Passport ticket: €27 (€34 during high season). This ticket includes access to the Palace of Versailles, the Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate, and the Gardens and Park.
Musical Fountains Show ticket: €9.50-€10.50 (depending on the date). This ticket includes access to the Gardens and Park during a Musical Fountains Show, which takes place on weekends and some Tuesdays during the high season.
Musical Gardens ticket: €8.50-€9.50 (depending on the date). This ticket includes access to the Gardens and Park during a Musical Gardens event, which takes place on Tuesdays during the high season.
Free admission: Children under 18 years old, EU citizens under 26 years old, people with disabilities and their companions, and unemployed individuals in France are eligible for free admission to the Palace of Versailles and its gardens.
It's important to note that these prices are subject to change, and there may be additional fees for guided tours, audioguides, and special exhibitions.
What to wear when visiting Versailles?
When visiting Versailles, it's important to dress appropriately for the occasion.
Comfortable shoes: The Palace of Versailles and its gardens cover a large area, so it's essential to wear comfortable and sturdy shoes that will allow you to walk for long periods without discomfort.
Modest clothing: Versailles is a historic site, and visitors are expected to dress modestly and respectfully. It's recommended to avoid wearing revealing or offensive clothing, such as shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops.
Layers: The weather in Versailles can be unpredictable, so it's a good idea to wear layers that can be easily added or removed depending on the temperature.
Sun protection: During the summer, the sun can be intense, so wearing a hat and sunscreen is highly recommended.
What is Versailles famous for?
The Palace of Versailles is one of the most famous landmarks in France and is known for its grand architecture, opulent furnishings, and rich history. It was built by King Louis XIV in the 17th century as a symbol of his power and authority and was the centre of French politics and culture for many years.
The Gardens of Versailles are known for their beauty, symmetry, and grandeur. They were designed by André Le Nôtre and are considered one of the finest examples of French garden design.
The Hall of Mirrors is a grand ballroom in the Palace of Versailles known for its elaborate decorations and its 17 mirrors that reflect the light from the palace's many chandeliers.
Versailles is also famous for its connection to the French Revolution, which began in 1789. The palace was the site of many important events during the revolution, including the signing of the Tennis Court Oath and the storming of the palace by angry mobs.
Versailles is home to many important art and cultural artefacts, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. The palace also hosts many events yearly, such as musical performances, art exhibitions, and garden shows, which celebrate French culture and history.
Is Versailles family-friendly?
Yes, Versailles can be a great place to visit for families. Here are some reasons why:
Gardens and park: The Gardens of Versailles are an excellent place for children to explore and run around. There are several fountains, sculptures, and flower beds to admire and plenty of open space in which to play. The park also has several playgrounds, including one near the Grand Canal.
Family-friendly activities: Versailles offers a range of family-friendly activities, including children's workshops, treasure hunts, and guided tours designed specifically for families.
Musical Fountains Show: During the summer, the Musical Fountains Show is a popular attraction for families. This show features music, water, and light displays set to a theme, and it takes place in the gardens on weekends and some Tuesdays.
Palace tours: Although the palace may not be as exciting for children as the gardens, guided tours designed for families can make the experience more engaging and exciting for kids. The audio guide is also available in a special version designed for children.
Picnic areas: Versailles has several designated picnic areas throughout the gardens and park, making it easy to take a break and enjoy a meal with the family.
Overall, Versailles can be a great place for families to explore and learn about French history and culture while enjoying the beautiful gardens and parks.