As I drove up to the majestic gates to enter my palace - yes, palace, I embraced the sight of the ornate golden gates that protect it, topped with a crown for me, the royalty that resides in the palace. Yep, then I woke up.
As I traveled to Versailles, France I went with the express intent to visit the Palace of Versailles and learn about its history. Often as I travel I find it hard to wrap my head around some of the places I visit. As much as I love to immerse myself in the culture of the location, taking myself back to the time period of some of these places is a little difficult. The Palace of Versailles is one of those places. Let’s take a look at a brief synopsis of the Palace, keeping in mind this was from 1631-1789.
Louis XIII built a hunting lodge on the current site of the Palace of Versailles in 1623 and replaced it with a small château in 1631–34. From 1661-1715 Louis XIV expanded the château into a palace in several phases. It was a favorite residence for both kings, and in 1682, Louis XIV moved the seat of his court and government to Versailles, making the palace the “de facto” capital of France. The beginning of the French Revolution caused the royal family and the capital of France to vacate and return to Paris.
Let's talk about the design and elements of the Palace. Home to three kings (King Louis XII, XIV, and XV), and under the rule of one king (King Louis XVI), the estate is comprised of many different elements. The Palace, The Gardens, The Estate of Trianon, The Great Stables, and the Small Stables. Let’s break it down.
The Palace has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for over 40 years, and for a good reason. Being one of the greatest achievements in French 17th-century art. The Palace contains 2,300 rooms and covers over 67,000 square feet. The Palace ceased being a royal residence in 1837 when it became the Museum of the History of France. The Palace is devoted to housing new collections of paintings and sculptures which represent important events and people that were essential to the History of France.
Inside the Palace, you’ll find the Hall of Mirrors, The King’s State Apartment, and The Gallery of Great Battles.
The Hall of Mirrors
The most famous room in the Palace. Situated between the King’s Apartments to the north and the Queen’s to the south, The Hall of Mirrors is the peace room and the war room. It is decorated with 357 mirrors adorning the 27 arches opposite the windows, illustrating that the new French manufacturer could rival the Venetal monopoly on mirror manufacturing, showing economic prosperity.
The King’s State Apartment
Consisting of seven rooms and was used for hosting the sovereign’s official acts. It was adorned with Italian-style decor, with marble paneling and painted ceilings. During the reign of Louis XIV, evening gatherings were often held here. Depicted in the first photo is King Louis XIV bed chamber, and in the last photo is the Queen's bed chamber
The Gallery of Great Battles
The most important of the galleries within the Palace of Versailles. Covering almost the entire first floor of the South Wing it is the largest of rooms. It depicts nearly 15 centuries of French military successes through its 33 paintings. The message is clear, France had built itself over the course of battles against enemies from abroad and within; the country is therefore glorious and at peace and ready to start a new era of prosperity and peace.
This is a very small sample of the majestic Palace of Versailles. Part II coming soon.
When you’re ready to start exploring your trip to France, email, call, or PM me and we’ll make it happen just like you like it.