Palace of Versailles is located about 16 kilometres south-west of Paris and is easily accessible by train. It is advisable to be at the Palace as soon as it opens at 9am, and please be PATIENT. I can’t emphasize this enough because the queues stay absolutely long all day until early evening. Visitors can get put off by the long snaking queues especially during spring and summer time, therefore it’s best that you book the tickets online or get a Paris Museum Pass. My sister and I had the Paris Museum Pass, and we queued at a separate line. Our queue time was not short (45 minutes) but I bet it was much shorter than others who came without any bookings or passes.
Transformation of a Hunting Lodge
Who would have thought that the Palace of Versailles started off as a hunting lodge? Louis XIII was charmed by the site and had purchased land in that area to build a small brick and stone lodge in 1622. Over a period of ten years, he enlarged the lodge and expanded his residence. Louis XIII died in 1643 and was succeeded by Louis XIV.
In 1662, Louis XIV, also known as The Sun King, moved his royal residence from the Louvre Palace which was the centre of constant political turmoil, to Versailles. He expanded and transformed the palace, and the result of which is what we see today.
Versailles is undeniably overwhelming in its opulence and scale. Sadly, we were there only for a day and there is a whole lot more of the Palace which we didn’t get a chance to explore. So do get a map of the Palace and plan carefully what you wish to see in the Palace.
Here are some of the magnificent highlights of the Versailles:
The Marble Courtyard
Frescos in the King’s Grand Apartment
The Hall of Mirrors