Things to see in Versailles
Versailles is one of the major tourist hot spots in France. The main attraction being The Palace of Versailles within it, the Gardens, art Fountains, Grand and Petit apartments, Hall of Mirrors, Chapel, Le Hameau, etc.
(Source: Dimitry B.)
The Palace of Versailles was built during the reign of King Louis XIV (1643 – 1715), found in Île-de-France region of France.
Palace of Versailles (Source: Chris Brown)
It is witness to some of the historic events, one of them being the signing of the Peace Treaty on 28 June 1919 with Germany and its Allies to officially end the First World War. This took place at the Hall of Mirrors.
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The most famous room at Versailles is the 71m-long (233-ft.) Hall of Mirrors. Begun by Mansart in 1678 in the Louis XIV style, it was decorated by Le Brun with 17 arched windows faced by beveled mirrors in simulated arcades.
(Source: Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles)
Once inside the Palace, suggest to pick up one of the many free audioguides available at the entrance to help you tour the vast interior of the palace. The main highlights of the Palace are at the second floor, but before you go there be sure to visit the Chapel, where Louis XVI mairred Maire Antoinette in 1770.
The Palace boasts of its superb surroundings, spread across 247 acres are the beautiful Gardens of Versailles created by landscape artist André Le Nôtre who built it with a Garden of Eden in mind.
Gardens of Versailles (Source: HarshLight)
The Palace is generally open from Tuesdays until Sundays and all French holidays (9AM-5:30PM November-March). Be sure to keep an entire day for this excursion. Long queues, long walks are all in the agenda but its worth the effort. There are bikes and battery-powered golf carts available, if you are not keen on walking, plus if you care to visit Marie Antoinette' Hamlet - Le Hameau, the mini train is a popular choice.
Tickets: One Day Pass (all inclusive) €18 except on Grandes Eaux Musicales days : €25. Château-only tickets also available : €15, reduced fare €13, under-18s and under-26s (EU only) free. Grand Eaux Musicales are held on weekends and French holidays.
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Beating the queues: when you arrive in Versaille you may see people handing out flyers about tours and pointing you in the direction of a tour office. For once actually take them up on their advice and it is worth buying the "all-access" pass to Versaille
By buying the tickets in advance you avoid the long queue at the ticket booths, however there is a 30-40 min wait at the gate to enter, at the point where your luggage is scanned as well, before allowing entry, if you are a student, with your student ID and EU passport, you can go straight through the main entrance without waiting in line for entry.
The Grand Eaux Musicales is a beautiful garden composed of a number of fountains, largest of which is the Neptune Fountains (consisting of individually 99 fountains).
Versailles: Neptune Fountains (Source: David Blaikie)
If you wish to contact the Palace of Versailles directly, their phone number is 01-30-83-78-00.
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Traditionally, it has been a place where France has lodged important guests, though de Gaulle wanted to turn it into a weekend retreat. Nixon once slept here in the room where Mme de Pompadour died. Mme de Maintenon also slept here, as did Napoleon. The original furnishings are gone, of course, with mostly Empire pieces there today.
Versailles - Grand Trianon (Source: Versailles - Grand Trianon)
The Petite Trianon and its park is associated with the memory of Marie Antoinette. Unlike the Grand Trianon which was Mansart's, the Petite Trianon was designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel.
The Petite Trianon (Source: Resident on Earth)
Tickets rates and timings are discussed as above in the Palace of Versailles section.
The Academie Du Spectacle Equestre is an equestrian arts academy created within the Royal Stables of the Palace. There are more than 30 horses in the stables (which have been properly restored to their 17th century glory) and most of them Lusitanian. the academy is run by Bartabas and he hires horse riders from around the world to train here and then perform for the shows.
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In the late 17th century the three wide thoroughfares that fan out eastwards from place d'Armes in front of the chateau - av de St-Cloud, av de Paris and av de Sceaux - were separated by two vast stable blocks. One stable block called the Grandes Ecuries (Big Stables) is the stage for the prestigious Acadamie du Spectacle Equestre.
(Source: Lonely Planet)
(Source: Pascal Vuylsteker)
Address: 1 av Rockefeller Grandes Écuries
Telephone: 01 39 02 07 14; advance ticket reservations: 0 892 681 891
Demonstrations are conducted Tuesday to Thursday, and Saturday and Sunday, at 11:15am. There's an additional presentation every Saturday and Sunday at 2pm.