Palace of Versailles | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Palace of Versailles

Versailles, Ile-de-France, France

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is an opulent complex and former royal residence outside of Paris. It remains one of France’s most iconic national landmarks.

Palace of Versailles history

The Palace of Versailles was originally the hunting lodge of France’s King Louis XIII, but was transformed into a magnificent residence by his son and successor, Louis XIV.

The ostentatious monarch built the Grand Apartment of the King and Queen which included the magnificent Hall of Mirrors before moving both his court and the government of France to Versailles in 1682. And so it remained until the French Revolution in 1789. As a symbol of the monarchical power and authority, the Palace was right at the epicentre of the Revolution.

On 5 October 1789, a procession of women, accompanied by a few men, travelled to Versailles. At this time, the king was hunting at Meudon, while Marie-Antoinette was walking on the Trianon estate. News of the march spread quickly through the town, and the gates of the Palace were shut. The queen, having been alerted, returned to her apartments and the king returned to the Palace. He received a delegation of women, to whom he made many promises.

The women were soon joined by representatives of the rioters, which compromised the safety of the royal family. In the Royal Courtyard, in front of the Palace, the crowd cried “To Paris! To Paris!” The reunited royal family left Versailles on 6 October 1789.

In the 19th Century King Louis-Philippe turned it into the Museum of the History of France. The gardens of the Palace of Versailles, designed by André Le Nôtre at the instruction of Louis XIV, are equally spectacular and took forty years to complete.

Palace of Versailles today

Today the Palace contains 2,300 rooms spread over 63,154 m2 and is owned by the French state. Its formal title is the Public Establishment of the Palace, Museum and National Estate of Versailles.

Since 1995, it has been run as a public establishment, with an independent administration and management supervised by the French Ministry of Culture.There are numerous places to visit at the Palace of Versailles and a range of tour options. Audio headsets are available as are guided tours. When visiting the Palace of Versailles, you can also see Marie Antoinette’s estate and The Grande Trianon.

The historical landmark is UNESCO World Heritage site.

Getting to the Palace of Versailles

There are several ways to get to the Palace of Versailled via public transport. The Versailles Express shuttle offers transport to the Palace of Versailles from the Eiffel Tower in Paris from Tuesday to Sunday. If travelling via bus, The RATP bus line 171 runs between Pont de Sèvres (terminus of the Paris metro line 9) and the Palace of Versailles in 30 minutes without traffic.

By train, the RER line C arrives at Versailles Château – Rive Gauche train station, just 10 minutes’ walk to the Palace. SNCF trains from Gare Montparnasse arrive at Versailles Chantiers train station, which is 18 minutes on foot to the Palace. SNCF trains from Gare Saint Lazare arrive at Versailles Rive Droite train station, 17 minutes on foot to the Palace.

If travelling by car or coach, from the A13 motorway, take exit number 5 (Versailles Centre) and follow the signs for the Palace of Versailles. There are several paying car parks located around the site.

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