The Palace of Versailles started out life as a hunting lodge in what was then a small country village 12 miles south west of Paris. The gardens of Versailles span across 800 hectares and comprise 200,000 trees, 50 fountains and a 5.57km canal. They’ve been inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List for a reason.
More than just a palace, Versailles has important historical significance in French history and it is considered a symbol of the power – and corruption - of the absolute monarchy of France.
As well as being the home of the royal family, Versailles was the political centre of France during Louis XIV’s reign and had many government offices. The royal family lived here until they were forced to return to Paris when a mob attacked the palace during the French Revolution in October 1789. It now serves as a popular tourist attraction, with people arriving in droves to tour the stunning gardens and beautiful palace.
The sprawling chateau is the first thing you’ll see as you enter through the huge iron gates. Intricate patterns of foliage are spread out in front of the chateau like a beautiful maze. Bright green hedges and well-manicured lawns line the pathways, which lead up to the famous cross-shaped Grand Canal. There are also dozens of fountains and statues scattered throughout the site, and there is even a ‘Musical Fountains Show’ from April to October where the water features are set to music.
The inside decor features sparkling chandeliers and painted gold ceilings. It also holds more than 300 mirrors, glass doors and marble walls. This spectacular room was designed to celebrate the political, diplomatic, economic and artistic successes of France.