Versailles is a suburb city ten miles west of Paris. It can be enjoyed with a tour from Paris. A Paris Travel can arrange a group or private tour to Versailles.
The reason most travelers visit the town of Versailles is to discover the Palace of Versailles.
Before the palace was built, there was a small royal hunting lodge (built by Louis XIII in 1624) which would eventually become the center of the new palace. Louis XIV pulled together the trio of the famous architect Louis Le Vau together with the brilliant landscape architect Andre Le Notre and interior decorator and painter Charles Le Brun to begin a full renovation and expansion of the chateau.
Louis XIV wanted to move the political power and absolute monarchy from Paris to Versailles and he accomplished this. From 1682 when Louis XIV moved from Paris to Versailles until the royal family was forced from the palace in 1789 at the beginning of the French Revolution, Versailles was the seat of the royal court and government.
Louis wanted to take away much of the power of Parisian nobles. By making it a requirement that many of the noble families spend time each year at Versailles, Louis was able to keep them from developing their own centralized government. Court life was a day of elaborate and precise ceremonies all centered around King Louis XIV. The Palace of Versailles housed 20,000 nobles.
After the death of the Louis XIV in 1715, the five-year old king Louis XV, the court, and the government returned to Paris. During the reign of Louis XV, Versailles underwent transformation, but not on the scale that had been seen during the reign of Louis XIV. When the king and the court returned to Versailles in 1722, the first project was the completion of the Salon d'Hercule, which had been begun during the last years of Louis XIV's reign but was never finished due to the king’s death.
Much of Louis XVI’s (born at Versailles) contributions to Versailles were largely dictated by the unfinished projects left to him by his grandfather Louis XVI. Shortly after he became king, Louis XVI ordered a complete replanting of the gardens with the intention of transforming the jardins français to an English-style garden, which had become popular during the late 18th century. In the palace, the library and the salon des jeux in the petit appartement du roi and the decoration of the petit appartement de la reine for Marie-Antoinette are among the finest examples of the style Louis XVI.
When you visit Versailles, there are different areas which should not be missed.
1. The Palace – important to see the Hall of Mirrors (designed by Mansart), the King’s Grand Apartments (built in 1670), Chapel (built under Louix XV)
2. The Gardens – Grand perspective from Hall of Mirrors; designed by Andre L Notre; Charles Le Brun did the drawings for many of the statues and fountains; Mansart built the Orangerie; there are more than 400 statues in marble, bronze, or lead
3. The Grand Trianon – designed by Jules Hardouin Mansart, this is a small palace which is done in an elegantly proportioned Italian style. Louis XIV would escape here to relax and get away from the formal etiquette of the court of Versailles.
4. Petite Trianon and Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet – Louis XVI gave this to Marie Antoinette in 1774. This was her escape and people could only visit with invitation from the queen.
A Paris Travel can arrange group and private tours to Versailles.