Palace of Versailles is one of the must-visit sites in Paris, France. Also known simply as Versailles, it is actually a royal chateau that is located in the Ile-de-France region. The chateau itself is today located far away, around 20 kilometers, from the center of Paris. However, it is an important historical building which had been the center of France political power during the reign of Louis XIV. The palace is also the symbol of absolute monarchy by French people because it was the place where Louis XIV resided during his reign.
History Palace of Versailles
The earliest document where the name of Versailles was mentioned is a charter of the Abbey of Saint-Pere de Charters. Versailles came to people’s knowledge again in 11th century when it was developing into a country village with one castle and one church named Saint-Julien. The area kept developing and reached its peak the 16th century when Louis XIV officially made it as his official residence. Unfortunately, a war rose and when Louis XIV was forced to move out from the palace, the place was forgotten with only a handful of people living there.
In 1575, a Florentine named Albert de Gondi bought the area. After the purchase, he managed to invite Louis XIII, the future king at that time, to several hunting trips in surrounding forests. Apparently, Louis XII was very impressed with the site so that he ordered to construct a hunting lodge near the palace in 1624. After several years visiting the palace, Louis XIII decided to own the area by purchasing it from Gondi family and made some enlargements to the chateau.
Later, as we all know by now, Louis XIII’s predecessor, Louis XIV expanded the chateau and built the Versailles Palace. The architect hired was Louis Le Vau who was collaborated with artist Charles Le Brun to create the masterpiece. The Baroque style used for this palace then became a trend and as followed by many European palaces in that era. Andre le Notre was the gardener who was in charge of creating a charming garden for the palace. However, this first part of construction was still far from finish.
After the death of Le Veu, Louis XIV ordered the palace to be enlarged until three times of its size. It was architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart who was given the royal task. The orangerie, the northern and southern wings, the Grand Trianon, and the Royal Chapel of Versailles were parts that were done under Hardouin-Manzart supervision. During the reign of next Louis, some additions such as the Petit Trianon and the opera were added.
Palace de Versailles is a very big palace with some notable parts in it. Surely you need to take a thorough tour and see all parts of the palace. However, if somehow your schedule forces you to choose only some, here is the list of most notable rooms in the palace.
The Hall of Mirrors
The Hall of Mirrors was constructed during Louis XIV’s reign. It is said that this room is the most notable contribution of Louis XIV for the palace. The room contains seventeen mirror arches which are placed parallel to seventeen arcaded windows which look out to the famous Versailles garden. Since each mirror arch holds 22 mirrors, then the total mirrors in the room are 357. Now you know that the name of the room describes exactly just what you will find there.
Chapel of Versailles
The chapel in Versailles was constructed from 1689 to 1710. Built in Baroque and Gothic styles, the chapel bears features that are similar to many cathedrals in that era. Colored marbles, gargoyles as exterior, and carved pillars are some features adopted by the chapel.
The Grand Apartment
This apartment was Louis XIV’s apartment. By this only, the historical value of this apartment is already high. This is added by the facts that the apartment has a remarkably beautiful ceilings which were painted by Charles Le Brun and his team.
This is the room where Louis XVI celebrated his wedding to Marie Antoinette. Made entirely from wood, the Royal Opera in Versailles is known as the most acoustically theater in the world. The Opera can hold around 700 audiences in it.
If you have the chance to see the garden of Versailles, your eyes will be pleased with such a visual beauty. Located on 250 acres of land, the garden has numerous fountains which enhance its aesthetic and brings freshness for its visitors. Try to visit the palace on Sunday since you will have the chance to see some fountains putting a show. One of the most notable fountains is the Fountain of Apollo where you can see the sun god driving a chariot of horses out of the surface. There is also Fountain of Latona which is dedicated to the goddess Latona.
Looking at its neat and amazing pattern, we all have to agree that Andre Le Notre had done a wonderful job in arranging paths, bushes, flowerbeds, and trees into various geometrical patterns. And if you think pathways are the only route available, you are wrong. There is also a canal built in the garden which is popularly known as the Grand Canal.
Moreover, there are two small palaces in the garden, Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon. These palaces were built as escapes for he king from his daily routine.