Versailles: A History


A Palace fit for a Museum

Not to get all Kanye West in here but Buckingham Palace you are pretty cool but the Chateau of Versailles is the best. Gold? You got it! Way too many rooms? Check! Homes away from home? Of course! Versailles really is a place to get lost in. And as grand as it is, it hasn't always had the most peaceful of histories. 

Humble Beginnings (Not Really)

It started out as a hunting lodge for Louis XIII but Louis XIV expanded it to make it his primary residence. By 1682, he had moved the court from Paris to Versailles. Upon moving in, Louis XIV started changing it to the palace that we recognize today.

The Hall of Mirrors

It was almost completely gutted out

During the French Revolution, the National Assembly ordered the selling of items from the Palais de Versailles. Everything from furniture to curtains were taken from Versailles. Some were kept for museums and Versailles became the holding place of other confiscated pieces destined for museums. But it never became a museum and instead became a hospital for injured soldiers for a short amount of time. Can you imagine the king's apartment?

Changes still continued after the kings

After Napoleon was able to bring ownership of Versailles back to the emperor, Louis-Philippe made some major changes and expansions. He built the Galerie des Batailles which is a collection of paintings commemorating famous French battles. Both Louis-Philippe and Napoleon did not live in the palace, but they lived nearby in the Grand Trianon. In 1837 it became a museum.

The Gallery of Battles

So what can we see now?

The museum has a variety of rooms, halls, galleries, and buildings open to visit. The most famous rooms are the king's apartments and the queen's apartments, which are a series of rooms where they ate, dressed, lounged, and slept in. The most famous room, other than Marie Antoinette's bedroom, is the Hall of Mirrors which is decorated with gold and crystal. Outside are the gardens and a few more buildings. After a 20 minute walk you can see the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon, both intended to be vacation homes form the palace. Some life if you're vacation home is so close!

Buy tickets in advance! This place is always busy. Be prepared for rain because the gardens in the rain gets cold and not as fun. Also be prepared for constant crowds.

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