I read about Versailles over the web before my visit and wondered if the palace was just over-rated and over-hyped. My perception was totally wrong. I was blown away by the opulent palace filled with priceless pieces of antiques for most of the rooms. There were a lot of moments when I gawked in awe inside the palace. When I thought the “WOW” moment was over, I was wrong (again!). The garden was even more impressive. I would advice a visit to the colorful garden in autumn or summer instead of winter.
I’m bad in history, but a quick read of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette is very useful before your visit because Versailles is not just an ordinary palace, but it is a symbol of absolute monarchy as well.
Versailles is closed on Monday and easily reached with the train to “Versailles-Rive-Gauche” station in REC-C line. Just follow the crowd from there on, because everyone is walking to the same attraction.
A few facts that I picked during my research and reading:
-The palace and gardens are set on 19,262 acres, and the total site is larger than the island of Manhattan.
-Construction of the palace, based on existing records, cost $2 billion in current day dollars.
-The Hall of Mirrors contains 17 large chandeliers and 26 smaller ones each made of solid silver.
-The Queen’s bedchamber was one of the largest rooms in the private apartments because protocol required her to give birth in public. During the birth of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s first child, the doctor panicked when 200 courtiers pushed into the room.
-The signing of The Treaty of Versailles, ending World War I, was signed in the Hall of Mirrors.
-In 1685, 36,000 people and 6,000 horses started the construction work of the 500 meters long palace, which took altogether 50 years. When Chateau de Versailles was completed, it could accommodate up to 5,000 people, including servants.
-Louis XV of France was born in the Palace of Versailles. The chateau also served as the birth place of King Louis XVI, apart from his and his queen, Marie Antoinette’s residence. Together, they ruled over France for many years, till they were overthrown.
-The chateau is one of the largest palaces in the world. It has more than 700 rooms, 2000 windows, 1250 fireplaces, 67 staircases and more than 1800 acres of park.