Having spent over a year in France, we were finally able to explore one of the country’s most renowned landmarks, The Palace of Versailles.
As the residence of Louis XIV, the Sun King, this palace stands out as one of the most opulent yet refined places in the world.
This review will primarily focus on the experience of visiting as an ordinary tourist on a family trip.
Versailles stands out as one of the most sought-after attractions in France. On one occasion, my wife and I specifically came, only to discover that the place was fully booked for the day.
Recently, we learned that, on the 4th of February, tickets were sold out two months in advance. This particular day happened to be the first Sunday of the month, making it free for French citizens and individuals with a French Visa.
It’s important to note that the visit is also free for individuals under 18. Therefore, it is crucial to reserve tickets on the website in advance to ensure availability.
Otherwise the ticket cost 24 euros in the low seasons and 32 euros for the high season. This gives you access to the castle, all the garden and the Trianon domain.
How long is the visit ?
Each ticket is assigned a specific hour to ensure a steady flow of new visitors entering the premises.
Visiting the Castle and certain parts of the garden typically takes around an hour and a half on average. This implies that if you explore the entire estate, it may extend beyond two hours.
Although the place is quite spacious, it is not as vast as Le Louvre, which, to be honest, bears some similarities.
When should I go ?
We would highly advise you to go during autumn, spring, or summer if you want to really enjoy your walk in the garden of Versailles or even go to the Trianon Domain, which is quite far and requires a small train.
We went in February, and it was grey and too cold to really appreciate the garden, which was under construction at the time.
How to get there ?
A notable aspect I find appealing about Versailles is that locating parking is not a challenge, and traffic flows relatively smoothly if you pick the right time.
However, it’s worth noting that parking is not inexpensive. On our recent visit, arriving around 10:50 AM and leaving at 1:30 PM, the parking fee amounted to 15 euros.
The positive part is that the parking is at the gates of the Palace and there are tons of spots for you to park.
Typically, there is a facility for storing your stroller; however, since this facility was closed, small strollers were permitted inside.
There are several restaurants and cafes with reasonable prices inside, and Angelina is one of them. Despite the basic menu, the food remains affordable for this type of venue.
Additionally, there are a few stores offering high-quality souvenirs. From my recollection, I don’t recall seeing better souvenirs, although they come with a slightly higher price tag.
While Versailles is indeed a palace, the atmosphere closely resembles that of a museum. The experience is not far removed from visiting the Louvre. As you explore, you’ll encounter numerous paintings adorning the walls and an abundance of sculptures reminiscent of the work of Rodin.
Similar to the Château de Champs-sur-Marne, you will also have the opportunity to explore living quarters, including those of residents such as Louis XIV and Queen Marie-Thérèse d’Autriche, at Versailles.
The Royal Chapel, known as “la chapelle royale,” is another striking feature. In general, the entire complex resembles more of a small city than a traditional palace.
We were unable to explore the domestic quarters or the guest rooms, leaving us to ponder whether the site has been transformed into a contemporary museum.
Galeries des glaces
The Hall of Mirrors, or “La Galerie des Glaces,” stands as one of the most awe-inspiring spaces in Versailles. This grand gallery, adorned with 357 mirrors and captivating chandeliers, exudes opulence and magnificence.
Commissioned by Louis XIV, it served as a prestigious venue for receptions, festivities, and diplomatic events. The ornate architecture, intricate gilded moldings, and breathtaking view of the gardens through the mirror reflections contribute to the unparalleled splendor of this iconic space.
Stepping into the Hall of Mirrors is akin to stepping into a realm of timeless elegance and historical significance, making it a highlight of any visit to Versailles.
8.8 out of 10
Our visit to the Palace of Versailles was generally positive. We appreciated the initiative of France to offer free admission one day a month to places like Versailles or museums, providing an affordable outing for humble families.
In contemporary times, recreational activities can cost hundreds of euros. Although the Palace of Versailles is expansive, a visit takes only around an hour and a half.
While this duration seems slightly brief, considering the at least two-hour round trip to get there, I believe the optimal time to visit would be during the summer. This allows for more time to explore the gardens and the Trianon Domain.
For a photographer, Versailles is an ideal location for fashion photography. Of course, the presence of numerous visitors means these images can’t be used commercially, but the experience is still immensely enjoyable.
Le Château de Versailles
Official Website: https://www.chateauversailles.fr