Palace of Versailles: Tour Overview & Highlights
For nearly two centuries — from the 1680s to the French Revolution —, the royal palace of Versailles was the political and artistic epicenter of the Western world. A seat of triumph and humiliation, it has seen the radiance of absolute monarchy and the tragedy of fallen royalty, the beginnings of the United States and the French Revolution, the defeat of France at the hands of Prussia, the return of a world war, Napoleon, and de Gaulle. There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the complex and majestic history of France than by visiting this lavish scene of its glories and disasters.
- Comprehensive tour of the must-sees: the King’s Grand Apartment, the Hall of Mirrors, and the French gardens.
- Duration: 2,5 hours (optional: car or train transfer from/to Paris, on demand)
- Skip-the-line access with your guide
On week-ends and some week days, we can adjust the tour times, so that you would be able to enjoy the Fountains Show.
- The Music Fountains Day Show:
- All Saturdays and Sundays from April 1 to October 29, 2017, from 11 A.M. to noon and from 3.30 PM to 5 PM.
- All Tuesdays from May 23 to June 27, 2017, from 11 A.M. to noon and from 2.30 PM to 4 PM.
- Exceptional dates in 2017: Friday April 14, Thursday May 25, Friday July 14 (Bastille Day), Tuesday August 15, from 11 A.M. to noon and from 3.30 PM to 5 PM.
- The Music Fountains Night Show:
- All Saturdays from June 17 to September 16, 2017, from 8.30 P.M. to 11.05 P.M.
History and Luxury
Versailles was not only the most influential, but also arguably the most luxurious palace and garden complex in Europe. It is the collective masterpiece of thousands of architects, painters, sculptors, decorators, and gardeners in the service of the kings of France, a window into French savoir-faire. Its gorgeous hand-crafted furniture, fabrics woven with golden and silver threads, crystal chandeliers, and of course the sumptuous setting of the Hall of Mirrors, served as a model for royal and aristocratic dwellings across Europe.
Built and altered by several French rulers, Versailles is not one, but many palaces. Originally a small hunting lodge, it was upgraded by Louis XIV to the magnificent palace, conceived as the seat of government and as a structure to magnify the royal power. Later on, various parts of the palace were added, removed, or refurbished by the successors of the Sun King, up until the Revolution.
The Monarchy in Nature
An extension to the opulence of the Palace of Versailles, the spectacular park of Versailles, covering a surface of more than 3 sq. miles, was created by Louis XIV’s “landscape designer” André Le Nôtre. Most of these vast gardens follow the traditional French style with geometric shapes and neat lawns, hosting many beautiful sculptures and the crown gem: the sumptuous fountains. As places of pure enjoyment, the gardens were intended to embody power, following its progression over the course of generations of sovereigns. The flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, and groves reflect these reigns and personalities, each so similar yet so different.
Behind the great history, another story was taking shape, one more intimate and nuanced… that of the everyday. The evolution of trends, tastes, and styles is ingrained in each design element, from embroidered silks to the world-famous gardens.
Come follow the paths of these two interlaced stories and discover Versailles in all its splendor and frailty.