A building that witnessed and made the History of France… The Palace of Versailles, set in the Yvelines department, a few miles from Paris, is certainly one of the most visited tourist sites in the region. Every year, no fewer than 7 million visitors roam the Hall of Mirrors or the gardens looking for a part of history to approach.
An oversized cultural venue: over 63,000 sqm of areas scattered around 2,300 rooms including 1000 open to the public, 815 acres of park including 93 acres of gardens… There’s lot to do when one’s come to Versailles for a stroll or know more about history.
Its construction starts in 1623 under the reign of Louis XIII and was only a small hunting pavilion where the king enjoyed staying as he was suffering agoraphobia. Along the years, he buys the surrounding plots until 1631 where large extension works start, supervised by engineer-architect Philibert Le Roy. In 1643, the king dies leaving his 4-year-old son to the power but since he can’t rule, regency is set, and Versailles is no longer a royal residence. It required 18 years to Louis XIV to come back.
In history, Louis XIV and Versailles become inseparable so much Versailles is identified to the king. We must say Louis XIV is the main instigator of the Versailles we know, and made the palace radiate across the world by turning this small hunt pavilion into a summer residence with impressive entertainments in the gardens. The palace also becomes his principal residence in 1682 as well as the court’s and the government’s.
After the king passed away, his successor Louis XV flees Versailles for Vincennes and the palace had to wait for Louis XVI to find its former glory back. Today, France history is celebrated, and the palace keeps preserving traditions such as the Fountains Show and some balls in period costumes.
Good to know: queen Marie-Antoinette used to have her own village in the Versailles garden, the Queen’s Hamlet. Built in 1783, this bucolic village aimed at offering the king’s wife the possibility to escape the heavy rigor of the life at court and to recover. A hamlet of which the Queen’s house has just be renovated and that you can visit again.
Château de Versailles
Billet Château: €18
Ouvert du mardi au dimanche de 9h à 18h30. Gratuit pour les moins de 26 ans résidant dans l'UE.