These were only some of the thoughts that crossed my mind as we toured Chateau de Versailles, located a mere 30-minutes outside of Paris. The comments that followed included: “There is so much gold in here.” “700 rooms?! Who needs 700 rooms?” and my favorite comment of the day (provided by my sweet husband), “No wonder this guy was overthrown.”
We didn’t want to go all the way to Paris without checking out a Royal residence; and although we roamed the halls of a 16th century Palace on our first day, we decided that a visit to Versailles was a must. So we turned to Viator and reserved a Half Day VIP Versailles Tour; which included private transportation to the Palace, our entry ticket, and an audio guide. The best part was that we didn’t have to wait in the mile-long line to gain access to the Palace; instead, we were ushered in a side entrance and immediately began our tour.
The Palace itself was massive; large rooms with large fireplaces, grand halls with beautiful stone pillars, gold accents, velvet-draped walls, gold doors, painted ceilings, gold-framed mirrors, marble floors, gold calendabras, hundreds of chandeliers, and luxury throughout — oh, and did I mention the gold? There was SO. MUCH. GOLD. This place was built to impress.
Somewhere along the way, in the midst of the opulence and hoards of tourists, we entered the most famous room in the Palace: the Hall of Mirrors. This magnificent hall has 357 mirrors which span the length of the room on one side, and large, arched, glass windows that line the other. The massive ballroom is filled with over 30 chandeliers which twinkle in the midday sun, and the marble walls, gold candelabras, and parquet floor beckon for an impromptu ballroom dance party. It was as grand as it was beautiful.
After making our way through the maze of rooms within the palace, we walked outside and found a quiet spot in the shade. I have to admit that the Courtyard was one of my favorite areas within the Palace (probably because I had my personal space back). 😉 The massive black and white floor, the beautiful architecture, the bells chiming on the hour, and the impressive golden gates surrounding the palace also had something to do with it.
While outside, we took some time and toured the grounds surrounding the palace. Musical fountains, colorful gardens, lakes, ponds, a large maze, impressive sculptures, and many different walking paths were just a few of the highlights within the 2,000-acre recreational area; and after being crammed inside the Palace with so many other tourists, the wide open space felt welcoming.
Chateau de Versailles is more than just a flashy UNESCO World Heritage site; history buffs, art enthusiasts, nature-loving-gurus, and curious wanderlusters will all find something intriguing about this ornate Palace. And our VIP Half-Day Tour had us feeling like royalty from the moment we stepped through those golden gates.