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Palace of Versailles
Unveil the French legacy of almost five centuries at the Palace of Versailles
Undoubtedly the most celebrated and incredible part of the palace is the Hall of Mirrors. Commissioned by King Louis XIV, the Hall of Mirrors is the best specimen of French elegance and style and most importantly the symbol of the power of the king. The king got it built to express his dominance over every visitor and the place still serves to amaze and astonish its guests. The 73-meter long gallery comprises of 17 arched windows each adorned with 21 mirrors. Reflection of light beams from a total of 357 mirrors is a sight to behold. The hall is also decorated with beautiful Statues and busts, its ceiling was painted by Charles Le Brun depicting 30 scenes from the early reign of King Louis XIV. Also, Hall of Mirrors was the historic place where the famous Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919.
The magnificent monument with overwhelming architecture is perfectly complemented by the equally majestic exteriors. The manicured Versailles garden sprawling on an area of 250 acres is Europe's largest palace garden. Its breathtaking scenery with spell-binding landscape comprising of geometric paths, lush lawns and regal fountains will remain etched in your memory for long. Find a place to admire the explicit beauty of the garden or walk around to capture incredible sights.
The early 19th Century brought some significant changes to the Palace whose status as a royal residence was denounced by Louis-Philippe d'Orléans, the new king of France. Passionate about history, the king decided to convert it into a museum and adorned it with a priceless collection of paintings, sculptures, engravings that give you a glimpse of French history. Though the plan of the king to build a grand museum ended with his rule, the building still contains some great excerpts from the French history.
How to Get Tickets?
There is an entrance fee to the palace while those with age below 18 years (and 26 years for EU residents) are allowed free access to the palace and Trianon. You can buy the tickets at the entrance itself but if you wish to evade waiting in the long queues then buy tickets online through this website. There is also an option of 'skip the line ticket' that gives you priority access to the palace. There are different tickets that allow access to different parts of the whole palace estate. The entry to the estate is free on first Sunday of every month from November to March. Also, the access to the gardens and park is free except during musical fountain shows and musical gardens. Entry to the gallery of coaches is also free.
How To Get Around?
There are many things to see in the palace hence plan your trip according to time and the season. Stroll around the estate and relax in the gardens if you have time with you or otherwise you can even complete the palace visit in 2-3 hours with the aid of a proficient guide.
What Should I Wear?
There is no dress code to the palace, therefore, you may wear what you like. Though the Palace may seem warm, certain areas like the gardens get windy by late afternoon. Hence bring long sleeved shirt or sweater along. Do wear comfortable footwear as you will have to walk a lot and wear ample amount of sunscreen.
Best Time to Visit
The Palace is open from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm except on Mondays. The best time to visit it would be during summers or the springtime (April to October) when the temperature is moderate. Plus, there are a variety of musical fountain shows that take place on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If you wish to avoid crowds, then plan a visit early morning when the palace opens or late afternoon so as to enjoy the spectacular shows in the evening.
Will I Need a Guide?
The palace estate is spread over a large area that can be best explored with the help of a guide. He would make your tour much more interactive and informative answering all your queries and briefing you about the rich French history. You can explore the palace on your own as well, taking in its extravagant beauty. The tickets to the palace come with audio books that can provide you apt information about the place.
How To Get There?
The Palace of Versailles is located 12 miles away from the center of Paris city, hence the best and cheapest option would be to take a train. You will have to reach the nearest RER station via metro from where the RER C train will take you to Versailles station. Thereafter, take a short walk (approx. 13-minutes) to reach the Palace.
Please note that flash photography isn't allowed inside the palace. Also, selfie sticks are prohibited. There is a security check at the entrance of the building. As the place is too crowded you need to keep your belongings secure from pickpockets.