Our last full day in Paris started with a day trip to Versailles — just outside of Paris — to visit the Palace of Versailles and ended with a quiet evening wandering Montmartre.
Palace of Versailles
Built in the 1600s, the historic and monumental chateau was the center of royalty, starting as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV expanded it and moved the court and government of France to Versailles. Since then, each of the three French kings lived there until the French Revolution.
When you visit the palace, the grandiose and decorative architecture with its beaming golden gate to welcome the public is just an indication of what kind of people lived there: royalty, of course.
Unfortunately, we were a bit pressed for time and the area was flooded with huge crowds, so we didn’t get a chance to really explore and delve into the background of the place. But I can say it is certainly a must-see if you’re in Paris.
After a long wait to get into the palace — we had to wait for individual groups to fully make their ways into the building before we could proceed — we inched our way in, sandwiched between other human beings.
If I couldn’t look left or right due to a face in my way, I could still look up at the ceiling, which presented me with quite a surprise: The ceiling was decorated with exquisite artwork depicting what looked like Heaven — angels, gods and goddesses floated amid a blue sky that seemed to stretch beyond the ceiling itself.
We then continued shuffling into the King’s State Apartment. This section of the palace includes seven rooms, each filled with intricate golden designs, lavish artwork and other ornate decorations.
Perhaps the most impressive room of them all was the famed Hall of Mirrors. Despite the crowds, the room makes for fabulous photo opportunities, showcasing a wall with multiple mirrors opposite windows looking out to the Gardens of Versailles as well as sparkling chandeliers hanging from ceilings plastered with even more beautiful paintings.
We also made our way to the King’s and Queen’s bedchambers. Though the rooms were gorgeous, the beds looked quite uncomfortable, if you ask me! How a king and queen could really get a good night’s rest every night remains a mystery to me.
We then headed outside to the Gardens of Versailles, a sight to behold. If you exit the palace from the back and stand at the top of the stairs, you’ll see the parterres of grass — carefully designed to focus on curves and symmetry — surrounding pretty fountains, and it seems to go on as far as the eye can see.
I can only imagine what it would be like to be the king or queen standing here and watching a fireworks show light up the night sky.
We perused the garden for a while, soaking in the beauty and magnanimity of it all before ending our time at the Palace of Versailles.