Our next big excursion was to the Palace of Versailles which is located just outside of Paris in Versailles (a wealthy suburb of Paris) in the Ile-de-France region. My husband was looking forward to this more than anything else we had planned the whole trip, so we were thrilled when we got such a beautiful day to go there. If you don’t know about this history of Versailles and the French Revolution you can go here to learn more, but it began as hunting lodge for Louis XIII in 1624 and overtime it became one of the largest palaces in the world. During the reign of Louis XIV and Louis XV there was much expansion, including the amazing gardens. During the French Revolution (1789-1799) the royal family (of Louis XVI) left Versailles and ultimately Versailles became a museum, historical site and is still used for political functions to this day. For many people the idea of Versailles is synonymous with Marie Antoinette when she was Queen of France through her marriage to Louis XVI, and her extreme opulence, spending and extravagance, while the financial situation of France was rapidly deteriorating. It is believed that at Versailles Marie Antoinette said the famous words “Let them eat cake!” upon learning that the peasants had no bread, but this has never been proven. Going to Verailles today is a glimpse into the lives of the former royal families, and the palace is exquisite and wildly over the top.
You have to get comfortable because you’ll be on your feet a lot during this trip! 10 hours in our case!
The hall of mirrors is so amazing, it was originally built for the sole purpose of impressing people, and it does!
You can tour the apartments and bedrooms of the former King and Queen.
Every ceiling had elaborate painting and decor.
I can’t tell if the beds are really short or if they are dwarfed by how huge everything else in the room is.
We spent a lot of our day in the gardens, the grand canal and exploring the grounds. I can’t even explain how enormous, detailed and elaborate all the gardens are. The grounds are so beautiful and perfectly kept. We rented a boat, bikes and a golf cart and we weren’t even able to see half the gardens.
Boating on the Grand Canal.
There are various shuttles that will come by to take you to different areas of the palace to tour the multiple complexes; the gardens, the main palace, the farm land, 2 smaller palaces and Marie Antoinette’s hamlet. We chose to rent bikes and spent a couple hours riding around the property, all the way out onto the farm land and the edge of the grand canal.
Lavender gardens at the Grand Trianon, a smaller palace on the grounds where the king and his guests could take light meals away from the strict etiquette of the court in the main palace.
Hameau de la Reine (the Queen’s hamlet) is a fantasy-like village of the past consructed for Marie Antoinette as a place of leisure for her and her friends.
The gardens of Versailles are so fantastic and absolutely immaculate. They take up over 800 hectares and are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Besides boating the grand canal, the gardens are what I enjoyed most at the Palace of Versailles.
I know ten hours seems like a long time to spend there, but there is so much to see! We were lucky that the weather was s gorgeous and we seemed to time the day right, everywhere we went it was like we just missed the crowd or were right before the crowd. We went back to the hall of mirrors later in the day because we wanted to see it when the sun was shining in and we basically had the whole place to ourselves.
I wasn’t super excited about this trip going in, it was more Ryan’s thing and he loves history. After going I would definitely recommend it to anyone going to France, I enjoyed it immensely and would go back in a heartbeat.
After a very long day and a couple long train rides to get back to the apartment, we had a quick dinner and crashed at our apartment with a glass of wine. We still had half our trip left at this point! It’s crazy how much there is to see and do. Part four coming up!