TBT - France | The Palace of Versailles
Versailles was magical, to say the least.
It was so magical, that I’m inspired to call my first girl Versailles. And we can call her Vera for short. Perfect, no?
Anyways, Versailles is a great day trip that can be made right from Paris, and I highly recommend you get out there to see the Palace. It’s very easy to get there, too! You can purchase your train tickets from any metro station. The tickets for the palace are available from a ticket information center just on the road outside the Palce. The architecture is stunning and features a wealth of gold trim on most of the buildings, the gardens are perfectly manicured into shapes with flowers and hedges, and the macarons are tasty! It was the perfect day trip to take on a warm summer day in July!
Versailles was originally built as a hunting lodge by Louis the XIII, but was then expanded by Louis the XVI and became the home of the court and the French government. It was during this time that Marie Antoinette lived at the palace, and had her own private estate . Versailles is one of the finest examples of 18th century French Architecture with it’s Grand Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, and the beautifully manicured grounds.
But, before we saw all of that, we had to wait in by far the longest line I have ever waited in. There is a gigantic paved area before you can enter the palace gates where tourists wait in lines that snake back and forth through the giant space multiple times. It was rather warm and sunny at first, so some of our fellow tourists got a bit crafty with the maps:
Although the wait was long, it moved fairly quickly, and was well worth it to be able to see the palace. While we were waiting, my dad went and got us sandwiches. They were fairly simple, just ham and cheese on a baguette, but it was one of the best sandwiches of my life! The bread there is just so crusty and perfect and the ingredients are so fresh.
Just as we finished our sandwiches, we were admitted into the palace and were off to start our tour.
Like many of the other museums and monuments we had visited, they provided you with a head set that allowed for a self guided tour. For the most part, I do enjoy the self guided tours as it’s much easier to hear, and you can go at your own pace. Also, because people are moving around at different rates, you have a better chance of being able to see the object or piece in question because you aren’t at the back of a huge tour group.
The rooms were all very interesting to see and were very lavishly adorned. We moved through the rooms at a decent pace, but stopped for a while in the Hall of Mirrors, which I was so excited to finally see!
I had studied the Palace of Versailles in school and was just dying to see the splendor that was the Hall of Mirrors. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint!
The chandeliers are just stunning and beautifully carved! As soon as I walked into the room, I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped to the floor. There were a fair amount of people in the room, so it was hard to get a good picture. Guess you just have to go there and see for yourself 😉
After the hall of mirrors, we saw the Battle Gallery which is a long gallery with several large paintings intending to glorify French military history.
At this point, we had had our fill of the palace, so we gave in our headsets and set out to view the grounds and Marie Antoinette’s Estate.
We started out at the terrace at the back of the palace, and were in for a bit of a lengthy walk through the gardens. I wasn’t complaining though, as they were beautifully manicured, and made for a lovely walk. There were even some interesting sculptures of trees with portions painted in gold.
By the time we had walked through this grove of trees, my mom was starting to get pretty tired, so she plopped down on the grass while my dad and I carried on to Marie Antoinette’s estate (we later learned that she treated herself to some ice cream while she waited for us).
When we finally arrived, I was slightly underwhelmed at how simple her estate was compared to the grandeur of the Palace. It was still a nice space though, and had some paintings of Marie on the walls. However, if you’re not a huge fan of French history and aristocracy, I would maybe recommend skipping this part. As I write this, I can only vaguely remember what we saw there, so it wasn’t exactly noteworthy.
What was noteworthy, however, were the macarons that they were selling at Angelina’s! They were delicious, colourful macarons in a variety of unique flavours. I had been looking to try a cassis macaron for quite a while, and was thrilled that I was finally able to! Along with the cassis, I purchased apricot, salted caramel, and mont blanc (not sure what this was exactly) macarons.
After my macaron photo shoot and consumption (they didn’t last long, and no I did not share), we leaded back towards the train to Paris. It had been a long day, and we needed to pack up our hotel when we got back. I did however, manage to make one last stop at Laduree to get a small box of macarons for a friend, and one each for my parents and myself.
After marveling at the Eiffel Tower one last time, I headed back to the apartment and packed my bags for England!
For the last leg of our trip, we headed to London to explore the city, Stonehenge, Bath and Windsor Castle. I’ll be putting it all into one post, so stay tuned as it will be the last post from our trip to Europe!
I’d love to hear about your trips to Versailles and what you thought about the Hall of Mirrors!