Darlene Foster's Blog

The Palace of Versailles

Posted on: June 13, 2018

Since we have been following the excellent British-American-Franco-Canadian television series, Versailles, set during the construction of Versailles Palace during the reign of notoriously flamboyant Louis XIV, we were delighted to actually visit this French Historic Monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace oozes opulence and is breathtaking.

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I made it to the Palace of Versailles!

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A huge line up to get in. Booking online saved us a long wait.

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Originally his father’s hunting lodge, the young King Louis transformed it, between1661 and 1710, to become this extravagant palace surrounded by stylized French and English gardens. Moving from Paris, he made it the official Royal residence and centre of his government. Every detail of its construction was intended to glorify the king.

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The gilded gates to the palace. Note the Sun King motifs.

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Louis chose the sun as his emblem and symbol of power, and is known as the Sun King.

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King Louis XVI in front of his palace.

The interior of the palace is amazing, filled with art, gold and fine furniture. Louis was a patron of the arts and filled his home with valuable pieces. I love how the ceilings were painted in heavenly scenes.DSCN1854

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The Royal Chapel

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The King’s infamous bedchamber

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The Queen’s staircase

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Marble statues of the king at various stages of his life are displayed throughout.

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An older King Louis XIV. Reigning for 72 years, from 1643 to 1715, he outlived his son and grandson.

The most amazing room is the famous Hall of Mirrors, created by King Louis himself and used to entertain guests and show off his wealth and success. This was also the room where the Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919, ending the First World War. In spite of the many tourists, jostling to get the perfect photo, it was still exciting to be there.

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The Hall of Mirrors

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Standing in the Hall of Mirrors

Time did not permit us to wander around the extensive gardens and exquisite fountains. But they can be viewed from many rooms in the palace, especially from the Hall of Mirrors.

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The fabulous gardens viewed from the Hall of Mirrors

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A glimpse of the spectacular gardens

The only room not packed with other tourists was the Gallery of Battles which traces the military history of France from the reign of Clovis I to Napoleon. Dozens of paintings depict key battles, and the hall contains more than 80 busts of celebrated military leaders. Here I found a painting of a childhood hero, Joan of Arc or rather, Jeanne d’Arc

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Jeanne d’Arc in the Gallery of Battles

From the natural simplicity of Monet’s home in Giverny to the splendour of the Palace of Versailles, we had a glimpse of two very different French lifestyles and a piece of history I have been reading about all my life.

In case you are interested, here is the trailer of the final series of Versailles with King Louis XIV brilliantly portrayed by George Blagden.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p068mfqk

 

 

 

 

72 Responses to "The Palace of Versailles"

I visited the Palace back in 1979 but had forgotten how beautiful it is. Thanks for sharing!!

Glad it brought back some good memories!

Wow, it’s amazing! I’ve never visited this one. Thanks for the lovely photos.

It has been on my list for awhile. Glad you liked the pictures.

What an extraordinary place to see. It’s difficult to imagine what it would be like living in such lavish surroundings! Definitely on my bucket list to see one day.

It was quite something to see!

Oh my word…it is gorgeous! I remember walking around the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, and it just blew me away with its decadence. Versailles is even more mind blowing. I hope to visit it before I move out of this world. Your pictures are wonderful. I feel like I’m there. Thank you for sharing, my friend.

Pleased you enjoyed the pictures. It was not easy to take them as there were so many people there.

I visited once years ago with my aunt, my first and last coach tour! Seeing that vast expanse of cobbles in front of the palace reminded me of two of our fellow passengers, a mother and daughter. Wherever we went daughter worried about her mother’s feet. When we all got off the coach and took in the size of the palace and how far we had to walk across those cobbles, daughter’s first remark was not one of awe but ‘What about mother’s feet?

That is so funny. I do hope they managed the cobbles and enjoyed the palace anyway.

They managed to get back on the coach, but still complaining about mother’s feet. I too would have loved to have had a proper wander in the gardens, our eyes needed a rest from palace interiors.

Wow. Opulence is the right word for that place. It’s so huge and… opulent! Lol. I would love to visit there and gawk a little. The guy sure did think he was pretty grand. Thanks for the tour and the photos, Darlene. Amazing.

One friend remarked that Versailles was the last word in opulence. There is no other word to describe it better. Glad you enjoyed the tour.

Brought back lots of wonderful memories! Thanks Darlene!

Happy to bring back some good memories, Irene.

Whoa, is all I can say. Grandiose, quite amazing!

It was indeed amazing and I’m so glad I got to see it.

Lucky you! As I scrolled through the pics I expected to see the Hall of Mirrors and voila! there it was, even one with you in view.

I do feel lucky to have been able to see this place with so much history. The Hall of Mirrors took my breath away.

Your pictures give an indication of how spectacular it is but to walk around it must have been jaw-dropping. It was interesting that you were able to compare it with Giverny and I know which I prefer. Versailles looks incredible but I can’t imagine living amongst that amount of bling.

It was another time, another era. It is not surprising that no one lives in places like this anymore, and only a very few did then. I too would be more comfortable in Giverny. It was quite something to see.

I enjoyed your tour. We were there almost 40 years ago on a day with fewer tourists. In this age of change, it’s fun to see that nothing changed there.

I don’t think they have changed much but have spruced some areas up. They were in the middle of restoring the Queen’s State Apartment so we were not able to see it. It would have been great to see it without so many tourists.

We brought our distractions with us — two school-aged children and a baby.

Beautiful pics, Darlene – and I agree with Diana – definitely opulent!

Pleased you enjoyed the pictures, Teri.

This all looks wonderful! So much history!!

I love all that history and standing there, I felt part of it. If those walls could talk!!

You do look happy to have made it to Versailles.

So many dreams came true on that trip.

I am yet to visit this beautiful Palace. Lovely pictures 🙂

It took me a long time to get there. So many places, so little time (and money)

I remember being in awe when we visited her nearly 20 years ago now. 🙂

I don’t think it has changed much. I certainly was in awe.

I am very glad that you finally made it to this most magnificent of palaces. We too have been watching the TV series about Versailles and I can’t wait for the next installment, which I think comes out in October. Isn’t it wonderful how the history and blood lines of the European monarchies are all linked together? Once again, we have more to unite us than separate us.

I do find the European history fascinating. We are watching series three on BBC 2 right now. It is so cool to think we stood in those very rooms, xo

Darlene, I’m thrilled for you being in this wonderful palace. Wow, the opulence is amazing. I studied Louis XIV for A-level and we learnt in-depth about Versailles and I always longed to go. Your photos bring it to life and I feel I’m there with you! So exciting. I’m having a lot of fun reading about your adventures in France … delightful post! Happy Weekend! 😀🌺

So pleased you are enjoying my travels. Versailles is a character itself.

Gorgeous photos, Darlene. I imagine it could be a bit overwhelming, but what fabulous memories and mementos. Cute pics of you, too 🙂

Another addition to my bucket list. Love your pics…the opulence is incredible. I have some vague recollection of touring a castle in Germany many many years ago that either copied from Versailles…was influenced by or connected in some way….the hall of mirrors triggered that memory. Not sure, but I still can’t get over the opulence of that era…great post…thanks for sharing!

Many have copied Versailles, especially the gardens. I do hope you get there as you would love it.

Versailles is absolutely beautiful! And you captured it so well in your photos! Would love to visit!

It is stunning! Hope you get to visit one day. I want to return and explore the gardens.

Wow! Your glorious photos do Versailles justice. Thank you for this fabulous virtual tour, Darlene.

Glad you enjoyed the photos. It was a very photogenic place!

It certainly is, Darlene. 😀

Last summerwe visited the gardens of Versailles. It was a hot day and just beautiful.

So you know of what I speak!! I would love to see more of the gardens.

I visited Versailles a lot of years ago and had forgotten how very spectacular it is. Thanks for refreshing my memory. Dom and I are also watching the series Versailles. It is fascinating, isn’t it?

Glad I could bring back some good memories. I am finding the series just amazing. Even more so now I have stood in the same places featured.

Can you imagine sitting in all that splendor for a banquet. Now on the other hand, can you imagine being one of the poor people who had to get all the candle wax off those chandeliers and keep them sparkling?

Yes, the palace would have employed many people to maintain its splendour. For many, they would have been pleased to have a job.

What a fabulous tour Darlene, thanks. I remember visiting the Palace many moons ago, spectacular! The gardens were incredible! I’ll also add, I began watching the series Versailles when it first came out, being that I enjoy history and period pieces, but for some reason after the 3rd episode I stopped watching it. I couldn’t get into it. The characters portrayed didn’t take me in. 🙂

Glad you enjoyed the tour and that it brought back good memories. I am enjoying the series and admire how George Blagden shows the King as he matures and becomes not only extravagant and power hungry but also a troubled soul. You can also see the seeds of the French Revolution starting to sprout.

Oh, I think it should be in its second season now? I bailed halfway through the first.

We are actually watching the third and final season here in Europe. The courts of Europe, The Hapsburgs, the Stuarts, The House of Orange etc are all represented. A fascinating and dangerous time in history. Of course, we know it will all come crashing down eventually.

A really interesting post, Darlene. I have always been interested in this period of history too and would love to visit this palace. It is a bit appalling to see all this splendor at a time when the masses were starving though.

Yes, I did think of that and could see how the stirrings of the French Revolution were beginning to form.

Darlene, it’s great that you were able to supplement a favorite TV series with the real thing. Even though a made-for-TV series can be historically inaccurate, I find they give me an appreciation for the time and events that I can’t get from a dry, old history book – not matter how well written. It’s wonderful that it’s been so well preserved, particularly given the French Revolution. ~James

I realize the TV series mixes fact with fiction, but it still gives you the flavour of the times. From my research, I found out that the palace was stripped of its art and furniture during the revolution but later, under the reign of Louis-Philippe I, the Citizen King, many of the items were found and replaced and the building was restored to its former glory. It is constantly being restored and kept fresh. While we were there, we couldn’t view the Queen’s chambers as they were working on them. It makes history come alive for me.

Wow, that looks incredible! I have always wanted to visit Versailles. It’s on my bucket list. Those photos are stunning.

It is definitely worth a visit in spite of the crowds. PLeased you enjoyed the photos.

Such a good tip about booking online Darlene. Often this is the best travel tip for any of the more popular tourist destinations. I sometimes feel badly for those in the extensive wait line. The palace looks extraordinary even if the Sun King was not giving completely clear blue skies.

It did threaten rain but we never did get wet so we were happy. So glad our friends booked the tickets online for us. I have found this is often best. In fact, some places you can’t get into without booking online. (Alhambra in Granada comes to mind)

Such beautiful photos, Darlene! I love reading about your adventures. No wonder the places you travel to inspire you to write.

I kept thinking how much Amanda would enjoy visiting this palace and what kind of adventure she could have. It was so very beautiful.

Thanks for liking Sally’s interview, Darlene. (Sadly, the short intro.was omitted…) but I was delighted to reciprocate as she’s such a willing, hard-.working friend. Loved all your photos. Eric and I visited Versailles several years ago and also found it fascinating and memorable. xx

I’m glad you enjoyed the post and that it brought back some good memories. Sally is an amazing person.

Beautiful pics. Reminds me of when we visited back in 1987. Still looks exactly the same. So majestic and my favourite was the Hall of Mirrors.

I loved the Hall of Mirrors too. Hope this brought back fond memories.

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