Palace of Versailles

Palace of VersaillesWhen people think of France, they often only think of the shopping streets and the fashion in Paris, the Southern beaches and the vineyards. Those activities are worth looking into, but they do little to broaden your cultural knowledge. France is a country with a very rich history, and much of it happened in the Château de Versailles, or the Palace of Versailles in English.

The Palace was the centre of political power for over a century during the reign of the monarchs Louis XIV (who was the first person to move the court to Versailles and make the Palace his home), Louis XV and Louis XVI. The royals only left the Palace when they had to because of the French revolution. All monarchs who lived there during their time changed the appearance of the Palace during their time to suit their needs and taste. This is one of the reasons why the Palace now stands in such splendour and grandeur, especially considering the amount of money that was spent on it throughout the French monarchy. Estimates speculate that 2 billion US dollars were spent on the monument throughout the period of the ‘Ancien Régime’.

Such estimates are not very well founded and are most likely an underestimate. Add to that the money spent on restoration of the Palace and the amount spent on it altogether throughout history adds up to quite a sum. This fact alone should inspire awe in any visitor who comes to see the Palace. Adjacent to the Palace, there are the Gardens of Versailles, which take up about 800 hectares of land and are an incredibly impressive example of the French Garden style, a very symmetrical and orderly style of gardening. The fountains, which are in operation on weekends from late spring to early autumn, make Versailles even more impressive to see.

If you are planning a visit, it is advisable to travel during that time so that you can see the fountains of the gardens in full play. As mentioned before, Versailles isn’t far from Paris at all and there are direct train connections so you can use the trip to stock up on clothes, shoes, and accessories, as well as pay a visit to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. However, Versailles isn’t very close to any of the other landmarks so it might be complicated to combine the visit to Versailles with the visit to another landmark. You could, however, take a train to Berlin over night, even though they take about eleven hours, or a flight if you can.