This Versailles Private Tour is an extended version of the Introduction to the Splendors of Versailles. It includes a skip-the-line tour of the main palace (the Grand Apartment and the Hall of Mirrors), a walk through the royal gardens, and a tour of Marie-Antoinette’s Estate (the Petit Trianon, the gardens and the Hamlet).
The visit starts with the main palace, œuvre of the “Sun King” Louis XIV. For two centuries — from the 1680s to the French Revolution —, it has been the siege of the French royal power and the political centre of Europe. This collective masterpiece of thousands of architects, painters, sculptors, decorators, and gardeners served as a venue to demonstrate French supremacy in arts and economy. Its opulence meant to testify to the richness, power, and glory of the kings of France.
Over time, however, this initial purpose of Versailles, defined by the “Sun King”, became a heavy burden for his successors. The next kings, Louis XV and Louis XVI, leaned towards less pomp and more privacy. In that, they were following the general evolution of values and tastes of their time: over the course of the 18th century, people began striving for happiness, intimacy, and simplicity.
We will observe this transformation as we continue the tour with the park. From the strict geometry of the French gardens and the magnificent ingenious fountains designed for Louis XIV, to the naturalness of Marie Antoinette’s “English-Japanese garden”, the story of the French royalty unfolds in a subtle way.
The best mirror of the change is the contrast between the lavish decoration of Versailles and the exquisite candor of the Petit Trianon, the real kingdom of Marie-Antoinette. In this private estate, she had a barn, a “wild” garden, a pond created just for her. Until today, everything at the Petit Trianon reflects her personality and dreams. This place was a refuge for the last French Queen, an escape from the strict etiquette of Versailles. Here, she said, she could “finally be herself”.
At the end of the Versailles Private Tour, we can either return to the main entrance of the palace or take the exit from the gardens into the city of Versailles.
If you wish to include the option of transfer from/to Paris (by train or with a private car and driver), please let us know by leaving a note at the check-out or by contacting us.