✈ Europe | Versailles

Catch up on our grand European adventure:
Rome | Pompeii | Florence Part I | Florence Part II | Paris

During our stay in Paris we decided to take a day trip over to the Palace of Versailles. It’s just 10 miles from the city and is easily reachable by train.

Well…easy if you can navigate the train station. In our case, we raced over to the Gare d’Austerlitz to catch the RER train only to find that there were no ticket agents on duty that morning. So we flitted from machine to machine trying to buy our tickets. We couldn’t use any of our cards and it wouldn’t take bills. Turns out – you had to go upstairs to get your cash changed to coins, then come back down stairs to buy the tickets and find your track. Thankfully after a semi-rude encounter with a worker who insisted she knew nothing and was just on the maintenance crew, a passerby took pity on us and swiped us through the gates!

Since we’d missed the earlier train, this one was caught was packed with people heading to Versailles. A band of really talented musicians wandered through the cars serenading the riders.

When we arrived, we rushed along with the rest of the herd toward the Chateau. Walking up the street, all you can see is the golden gate and decorated rooftop of the palace glittering in the morning sun. Once there, we were ushered into a winding line to wait to be let in.

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The Palace of Versailles is a royal chateau in the Île-de-France region of France. In French, it is known as the Chateau de Versailles. It’s commonly just called “Versailles”.

Versailles has been known as the epitome of indulgent luxury for centuries. It’s a place of queens and kings and pure decadence. I mean, this place is definitely over the top!

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We started by touring the Chateau. The ceilings, wall paper, fireplaces, and enormous canopied beds were all amazingly luxe. Marbled floors, impressive pillars, and gold in every direction you glance.

There is a stunning chapel and the sparkling Hall of Mirrors which has 357 mirrors in total. It was in this hall where Treaty of Versailles was signed following World War I. Grand celebrations and balls were also held here.

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| the two-story Royal Chapel, designed after Sainte-Chapelle in Paris  |
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 | the chapel |

versailles5warhall  | The Hall of Battles |

As you walk through this jaw-dropping home, it’s easy to see why the French grew angry and resentful about the unfair and undeserved privileges enjoyed by aristocracy and began a fiery revolution.

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| entering the Hall of Mirrors |

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| the Hall of Mirrors |
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| The Queen’s Bedchamber, where she also gave birth to the heirs to the throne |

Mom and I actually walked through the palace twice. The first time we were jostled around so much by the large tour groups that we could barely enjoy a thing since we were way too busy pushing our way through the crowds just so we could breathe again. Seriously folks, it was pretty overwhelming.

Thankfully, the beauty of the place does provide a bit of distraction if you have to battle throngs of tourists. Our second pass through was much calmer and we could really take in the beautiful surroundings without being trampled.
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After our visit at the palace, we explored the grounds that sprawl over nearly 2,000 acres. The gardens are perfectly manicured with flowers, grand fountains, and statues.

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From there we headed to the far end of the estate, where the Trainon Palaces and Marie Antoinette’s hamlet can be found. It’s so calm and peaceful this far from the Chateau that it completely makes sense why Marie Antoinette made this her little escape.
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The Hamlet was built for Marie-Antoinette in 1783, so that she and her ladies-in-waiting could entertain themselves with the charms of country life.
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| The Farm was home to varied livestock such as cows, goats, sheep, chickens, etc. |
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| The Malborough Tower was the point of departure for fishing outings and boat rides. |
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The Petit Trianon was a gift to Marie Antoinette from Louis XVI when he became King.
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| the Queen’s music room, view of the Temple of Love from the Petit Trianon.|

The Grand Trianon is an elegant residence designed by Jules Mansart in 1687. The pink marble structure is edged by geometric, pastel gardens. The large windows and bright decor give the home an airy, playful vibe – even though it’s still very fancy.

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The Grand Trianon was used mainly for hosting family visitors. Following the beheading of Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI in Paris, this residence and its pink arches were left abandoned. Years later, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte reopened it and made it his personal home.
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Although the Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens in Florence, Italy, blew me away, Versailles is really something special too. If you get the chance to explore this lavish and regal complex – do it! It’s definitely a place where the past comes alive.

Up next… London!

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