I had read throughout the internet that if there is one palace to see in France, it is the Palace of Versailles one of UNESCO world heritage sites and home to the government and three reigning kings. As the Palace was only a 30 minute train ride plus a 10 minute walk we decided to make the trip out of Paris.
I and DD are always late and I think by the time we got our things together we arrived in the town of Versailles in the afternoon. As we walked from the train station to the palace we seemed to be following a procession of other people headed in the same direction. The rather large gates open onto a massive courtyard revealing the front of the palace which glistens in gold and blue.
Included in the standard admission price is an audio guide for the inside of the palace. The audio guide is detailed and crammed with a lot of information, perfect for those that wish to take their time exploring the palace. I only really listened to a few areas, after 5 days of museum visiting I was losing steam and really wanted to see the Hall of Mirrors and the colossal gardens that took 40 years to complete (I am an outdoor person).
The Palace of Versailles is a popular tourist attraction and wandering inside the walls of the palace was chaotic, almost shoulder to shoulder with strangers in most of the rooms. My post of the inside of Versailles is here.
To fully appreciate the gardens of Versailles one needs to know that the area was just woodlands and machinery merely did not exist to transform the woodlands into the King’s dreamed up plans. Wheelbarrows and carts were used to dig up the garden beds and numerous fountains. You also need to know that it takes almost 1 hour to walk from one end to the other, i can imagine a lot of secret rendezvous meetings went on in those gardens.
The orangerie a collection of trees was empty when we visited the Palace as the plants during winter are transported to a green house. The trees are almost two hundred years old and were sourced from various parts of Europe, only the best for the king!
Below is a photo of the really large Apollo Fountain. Apollo is seared on his chariot- all very dramatic. Look at those trees perfected planted, measurements were obviously very important back then.
Okay so to give you a fair idea of the massive scale of these gardens, i would like to point out to you the gardens continue past the rectangle water body and this is just one section. The Gardens span in 3 cardinal directions from the rear of the palace.
Below is the Latona Fountain
The perfectly shaped lake known as Grand Canal is manmade, a creation by Andre Le Notre in the late 1600’s. The King of Venice sent two gondolas. It is now home to beautiful white swans and visitors are invited to enjoy the rowing boats.
I highly recommend either bicycles or golf buggies to get around the gardens especially when you are time constrained. At the rear of the palace there is a hire place for the buggies.
Below is the Ceres Fountain and Ceres is seated on a bed of corn stalks.
The town of versailles is 30 minutes southwest of Paris, take the RER C Train and disembark at the last stop Versailles or Rive Gauche. To exit the train station turn right out of the train station, then left at the first boulevard and walk 10 minutes until you reach the Palace, you will not miss it! The ticket office is to the left after entering the gates, makes sure you the head right first to check out the palace, we headed left and missed the right side of the palace .
The main palace including the hall of mirrors, the king and queen living quaretrs and other cool stuff is 15 euro
The Trianon Palaces and Domaine de Marie Antoinette is 10 euro.
The Gardens are free in winter
The Golf Cart hire is 30 euro per hour
A free audio guide included with the admission price is jam packed with information to the Chateau.
Lastly a video produced by Fashion House Dior….
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