Versailles Palace in Paris

Versailles Palace in Paris

The breathtaking, mesmerizing, incredible Versailles Palace is a beautiful construction that is composed of a palace, gardens and other areas that had different use over the history. No one will stay indifferent in front of such luxury and beauty, that was built to impress the king’s guests and now impressing thousands of modern tourists that visit it each day.

Versailles was a village near the city of Paris, without a particular importance. However Luis XIII came to Versailles for the first time in 1607, on a hunting trip and discovered the beauty of this area. He came back to Versailles on several other occasions in 1617 and 1621. He liked this area so much that he built the first hunting lodge in 1623, which was a really modest building for a person of his status. During the period between 1631 and 1634 construction works were carried out on a larger scale, which laid foundations for the complex of the Versailles Palace we know today.
During the reign of Luis XIII the palace grew from a simple hunting lodge to a chateau, but during the reign of his son Luis XIV the construction of the incredible Versailles palace complex began. Like his father, Luis XIV fell in love with the surrounding area and decided to undertake a colossal project of constructing an incredible palace on these grounds. He was so fascinated with this project that he became the main architect. From 1682 onwards, the Versailles Palace became the main residence of the French Court and here the entire aristocracy of the country and the whole administration of the country was moved.
Luis XIV had commissioned works on the palace for 50 years and spent around 100 million Livres (French gold coins). However, the work on the palace was not finished before his death in 1715. During the reign of his successor Luis XV the palace was at first completely abandoned between 1715 and 1722, when the young king returned to the palace. He undertook large construction works on the palace, decorating the façade of the palace and building the Opera house where even Mozart performed as a child. Seeking the privacy, he also ordered numerous small apartments to be built inside the palace as he did not feel comfortable in large impressive chambers of the palace built during the reign of his predecessor.

The reign of Luis XVI marked the end of the royal dynasty in France. Luis XVI was an educated man and even played an important role in the American War of Independence. Unlike his predecessors, he was deeply in love with his wife Marie-Antoinette of Austria and even gave her the Petit Trianon, the villa within the Versailles complex which was built by Luis XV for his mistress Mme de Pompadour. However, over time the discontent of the people with the royal family grew steadily. One of the reason was Marie-Antoinette’s incredible expenses and love for luxury that made her unpopular among the people. Both the king and the queen where escorted by the revolutionists from the palace to Paris, where they were executed 4 years later.

Nowadays the Versailles complex represents a museum and is composed of numerous attractions: the Versailles palace, Trianon estate, mesmerizing gardens of the palace and the Coach Gallery in front of the palace. It is important to mention that the area of the palace and the gardens is so vast that one may need an entire day in order to visit it, or maybe even two.

Interesting facts
Luis XIV (1638-1774) was the king of France for 72 years, which is the longest reign in the history of France.

Tsar of Russia Peter the Great visited the Versailles Palace on two occasion during his stay in France in 1717. At this time the palace was neglected as the government moved to Paris.

On January 5, 1757, Robert-François Damien, a servant to the court, approached the king Luis XV and his guards as they were passing through the palace and stabbed the king with a pen-like knife between the forth an fifth rib. The king thinking he was just pushed or elbowed reached for the wound and realized he was stabbed. The assassin was tortured in order to give away the accomplices, but it turned out he acted on his own. He was tried and executed in March.

Even though King Luis XV did not live exclusively in the Versailles Palace, here he died suffering the symptoms of smallpox.

On December 3, 1777, Benjamin Franklin arrived to the Versailles Palace together with other two American diplomats seeking help from France. Luis XVI helped the American Independence Wars by sending troops to the Americans and entering the war with England.

Marie-Antoinette, the queen of France and the wife of the King Luis XVI, was very unpopular among the people for her large expenses and luxurious way of living. Cardinal Rohan fell in disgrace with the queen, but wanted by all means to regain her trust. He met a certain lady called Mme de La Motte who convinced him to be close to the queen. She persuaded the cardinal to act as an intermediary for the queen in a purchase of a diamond necklace. This necklace was by no means an ordinary necklace, since it was made of 650 diamonds and the price of which (astonishing 1.6 million golden coins) even the queen refused to pay on several occasions. The cardinal received the necklace and gave it to Mme de La Motte who disappeared with it. Since the payments was agreed in 4 instalments the queen refused to pay when the jewelers asked for the first installment. Even though the queen was completely innocent and even though the tricksters were all arrested, the queen became even more unpopular with the people.

Ticket prices for the Versailles Palace
Versailles Palace Passport
A so-called Passport is a ticket that allows the visit to: the Versailles Palace, the Trianon estate, temporary exhibitions, palace gardens, the Coach gallery.
Passport price is 20 Euros (€).
Two days Versailles Palace Passport
Includes all of the attractions as the Passport ticket but is valid for two consecutive days.
Two day Passport price is 25 Euros (€).
Versailles Palace ticket
Includes the visit to the palace and the temporary exhibitions inside the palace, the visit to the gardens of the palace and the visit to the Coach gallery.
Versailles Palace ticket is 18 Euros (€).
Trianon estate ticket
Includes the entrance to the Trianon estate, the temporary exhibitions within the estate, the gardens of the palace and the coach Gallery.
Trianon estate ticket price is 12 Euros (€).
Free entrance for all categories: Individuals under 18 years, individuals with EU residence younger than 26, disabled individuals and one companion.

(!) It is important to mention that the visit to the Gardens of the Versailles Palace and to the Gallery of Coaches is completely FREE of charge, no matter whether you decide to visit other attractions of the palace. The reason for this is that most tourists are interested in visiting the palace, since it is one of the most well-known attractions of Paris. These two attractions are also included into all ticket prices in order to make the offer a bit more consistent even though the entrance is completely free.
(!) The ticket office is on the right side in front of the entrance to the palace. Do not make a mistake of waiting in line for the entrance before first buying the ticket. The typical queue in front of the palace is composed of people that have already bought the ticket. In case you wait in the queue without a ticket, you will have to exit the queue in order to buy a ticket and then wait again.
(!) The audio guides are completely free of charge, therefore do not hesitate to get one after you enter the palace.
We advise you to check ticket prices and working hours before visiting – check the official website of the Versailles Palace.

Working hours of the Versailles Palace
The working hours of the Versailles Palace are from 09:00 to 17:30h (closed on Mondays).
The working hours of the Trianon estate are from 12:00 to 17:30h (closed on Mondays).
The working hours of the Versailles Palace gardens are from 08:00 to 18:00h.
The working hours of the Coach Gallery are from 12:30 to 17:30h (closed on Mondays).

Photo by Mathias Reding on Unsplash

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