Palace of Versailles, France

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The Palace of Versailles or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France.

Versailles during the centuries

When the château was built, Versailles was a small village dating from the 11th century; however, today it is a wealthy suburb of Paris, 20 kilometres (12 miles) southwest of the centre of the French capital. Versailles was the seat of political power in the Kingdom of France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved the royal court from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789, within three months after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.

The Château de Versailles, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30 years, is one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful.

In 1687 Jules Hardouin Mansart built the Grand Trianon, probably the most refined group of buildings anywhere in the domain of Versailles, on the site of the “Porcelain Trianon”, which Louis XIV had erected in 1670 to escape the pomp and rigid formality of court life with his mistress Madame de Montespan.

“A little pink marble and porphyry palace with delightful gardens” is how Mansart described it. He closely followed the specifications of Louis XIV, who was deeply involved in the design process. Visitors cannot help falling under the spell of the elegantly proportioned, single-storey palace radiating a sense of cosiness, sweetness and grandeur all at once. Italian architecture heavily influenced the architecture of the building, which stands between a courtyard and garden. A balustrade once graced with vases, statues of groups of children and sculpted figures conceals the flat roof.

Gardens of Versailles

Evolving with the château, the gardens of Versailles represent one of the finest extant examples of the Jardin à la française created by André Le Nôtre.

Inside the Palace

At the entrance
– Free left-luggage office for your stroller, backpacks, suitcases and umbrellas
– Public toilets free of charge, basement level (Gabriel Pavilion)
– Free distribution of audio-guide in 10 languages : English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Portugese, Korean, Russian, Italian.

At the start of the tour
– Two counters selling guidebooks, postcards and souvenirs:
* Upper Stone Gallery (Galerie de Pierre Haute)
* Upper Vestibule of the Chapel (Vestibule Haut de la Chapelle)

At the end of the Grand Apartments

– Salon de Thé Angelina, first floor, also accessible via the Royal Courtyard: restaurant, tea room with sweet and savoury dishes and snacks all day; shop area – Tel: 01 39 20 08 32 –

At the end of the tour
– Two shops selling related products, illustrations (posters, stationery, etc.), jewellery, entertaining items, souvenirs, audiovisual items (CD / DVD)
– Ladurée shop, Parisian pastry shop, range of delicatessen: jams, teas, coffee, macaroons. “Secrets”: candles, home fragrance… Tel : +33 (0)
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