What started out as a humble hunting lodge built by Louis XIII is now one of the greatest achievements in French Art of the18th-century. What is seen today are the transformations done by his son Louis XIV when he moved the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Château de Versailles is a must see when visiting France and only half an hour from Paris by train. The first Sunday of the month is also free entry. If I lived nearby I would go every chance I could just to walk through the gardens!
The gardens are just as beautifully crafted as the palace. When Louis XIV commissioned the gardener with the design and layout of the gardens he said they are to be treated just as importantly as the Château. Let’s just say the gardener sure did meet the brief! The gardens took forty years to complete as they had to lay out the flower beds, the Orangerie, the fountains and the Canal where there were once only trees, grasslands and marshes.
Hidden away in the gardens is Marie-Antoinette’s estate and it truly is an escape. Its very rural and cottage like, yet it still feels like something out of a fairytale. The contrast between the royal wealth and art of the palace to the cottage rustic feel of her estate is amazing and makes the experience of visiting Château de Versailles fulfilling and complete. No one could come here without an invitation from Marie-Antoinette herself. Here we saw ducks swimming around in the ponds, fish and even an otter.
It takes a full day to walk through the gardens, Marie-Antoinette’s estate, the Grand Apartments of the King and Queens, the Hall of Mirrors and the battle hall wing. There is so much to stand in awe of from the detailing on the floors, the marble walls, the furniture and of course the paintings and carvings on the ceilings.