A short train ride outside of Paris you will find The Palace Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche. This is a must see, the experience is like no other. The museum compares to the top museums in Paris. The gardens are magnificent and perfectly manicured, beautiful waterfall statues are strategically placed. This is before you enter The Palace. Enjoy! Melinda
Discover the Estate
The Palace of Versailles, whose origins date back to the seventeenth century, was successively a hunting lodge, a seat of power and , from the nineteenth century , a museum. With the gardens and the Palaces of Trianon, the park of the Château de Versailles spreads over 800 hectares.
« It’s not a palace, it’s an entire city. Superb in its size, superb in its matter.»
With 60,000 artworks, collections of Versailles illustrate 5 centuries of French History. This set reflects the dual vocation of the Palace once inhabited by the sovereigns and then a museum dedicated “to all the glories of France” inaugurated by Louis-Philippe in 1837.
Water features of all kinds are an important part of French gardens, even more so than plant designs and groves. At Versailles, they include waterfalls in some of the groves, spurts of water in the fountains, and the calm surface of the water reflecting the sky and sun in the Water Parterre or the Grand Canal.
Visitors looking through the central window in the Hall of Mirrors will see the Grande Perspective stretching away towards the horizon from the Water Parterre. This unique east-west perspective originally dates from before the reign of Louis XIV, but it was developed and extended by the gardener André Le Nôtre, who widened the Royal Way and dug the Grand Canal.
In 1661 Louis XIV entrusted André Le Nôtre with the creation and renovation of the gardens of Versailles, which he considered just as important as the Palace. Work on the gardens was started at the same time as the work on the palace and lasted for 40 or so years. During this time André Le Nôtre collaborated with the likes of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Superintendant of Buildings to the King from 1664 to 1683, who managed the project, and Charles Le Brun, who was made First Painter to the King in January 1664 and provided the drawings for a large number of the statues and fountains. Last but not least, each project was reviewed by the King himself, who was keen to see “every detail”. Not long after, the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, having been made First Architect to the King and Superintendant of Buildings, built the Orangery and simplified the outlines of the Park, in particular by modifying or opening up some of the groves.
These two large rectangular pools reflect the sun’s rays and light up the outside wall of the Hall of Mirrors. Le Nôtre considered light as an element of decoration in the same way as plant life, and his designs combined a harmonious balance of light and shade.
The Gallery of Great Battles is the largest room in the Palace (120 metres long and 13 metres wide). It covers almost the entire first floor of the South Wing. It was designed in 1833 and construction started the same year. It was solemnly inaugurated on 10 June 1837, constituting the highlight of the visit of the Museum of the History of France.
The Hall of Mirrors, the most famous room in the Palace, was built to replace a large terrace designed by the architect Louis Le Vau, which opened onto the garden. The terrace originally stood between the King’s Apartments to the north and the Queen’s to the south, but was awkward and above all exposed to bad weather, and it was not long before the decision was made to demolish it. Le Vau’s successor, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, produced a more suitable design that replaced the terrace with a large gallery. Work started in 1678 and ended in 1684.
This prestigious series of seven rooms were parade apartments, used for hosting the sovereign’s official acts. For this reason, it was bedecked with lavish Italian-style decoration, much admired by the king at the time, composed of marble panelling and painted ceilings. During the day, the State Apartments were open to all who wished to see the king and the royal family passing through on their way to the chapel. During the reign of Louis XIV, evening gatherings were held here several times a week.