The Palace of Versailles is fascinating not only for its opulent, over-the-top decorations, but also for its truly interesting history. We visited during autumn, so the gardens weren’t in bloom, but they were still beautiful. There are several different sites on the palace grounds including the Royal Apartments, the Royal Stables, the Gardens, the Estate of Trianon, and the Hall of Mirrors. It is a quick train ride from Paris to reach Versailles, which is about 12 miles (20 kilometers) outside of Paris.
The original building was a grand hunting lodge that was added to and modified to become the ornate palace that it is today. Over time, additional wings were added to the main palace building and additional salons were added. Although it is interesting to understand how King Louis XIV enlarged the palace starting in 1878 until his death in 1715, it certainly wasn’t without controversy and was a significant factor that lead to the French Revolution in 1789.
As you walk through the Royal Apartments, it is hard to imagine the King and Queen sitting in their beds and receiving visitors. It is even harder to imagine that select members of court and the church would gather around the bed on the wedding nights to confirm the consummation of the nuptials. Walking through the Hall of Mirrors is certainly an experience that we will never forget as the light from the windows that open to the gardens reflect off of the gilded mirrors.
Walking around the palace and its grounds provides a glimpse into a period in time when wealth and arrogance knew no bounds. Versailles should definitely be on your itinerary when planning a trip to Paris and it will take you a full day to fully enjoy all that there is to see.