A Day at Versailles

A day trip to Versailles is a very long day.  First of all you have to take a train out there.  Or 2 trains if you count the first one you took that was going the wrong direction. But it’s a very nice train and, unlike the Metro, it’s above ground so you can see the countryside. Even if you’re going the wrong direction, the scenery is very nice.  Everything is so green in the springtime and the countryside is beautiful.  It takes about 45 minutes or so to get from Paris to Versailles on the train.  Then you have to walk from the train station to the huge cobblestoned grand entrance to the Palace.  We already had our tickets in hand for a 9 a.m. entry so that let us skip the ticket line and hordes of people and walk right in at 9 a.m. when they opened.  So for a very short time, it felt like we were all alone in the palace.  But the hordes caught up to us very quickly.

 

One side of the palace. This place is so big that it’s hard to get a photo that shows all of it.

 

Walking up the long entrance to the main gate of the palace.

 

This is the front entrance.

 

Inside,, the palace is…well…palatial.

 

And the fabulous staircases.

 

This staircase was constructed entirely of marble. Oh my!

 

This is the famous Hall of Mirrors. The mirrors weren’t great back then but it’s still an amazing room…mirrors on one side and windows all along the opposite wall. As you can see, it’s a very popular room.

 

This room was the king’s bedroom. Some of the rooms are not fully furnished and a lot of them aren’t open to the public.

 

Occasionally a window would be open in the hall or one of the rooms and we’d get a sneak peak into the gardens.

 

This huge hall is called the War Room. It’s lined with mammoth, incredible oil paintings of war scenes from across the centuries. There’s even one of George Washington.

 

Another view through one of the windows.

 

Another view of the fabulous manicured gardens from one of the windows. The palace windows give great birds’ eye views of the grounds because they’re so high.

 

After we had visited all of the inside areas that are open to the public and had some lunch in their lovely restaurant, we went outside to check out the gardens and the grounds.  My goodness that place is huge.  And it sits high on a hill so you can get a good view of the expansiveness of the estate.  We found a little train that took visitors to two other smaller palaces on the estate – – areas where the royals could get away from prying eyes u the main palace. We also saw many fountains, statues, lakes, and the grand canal where they rent cute little boats to visitors.  The grounds of the estate are actually public areas and on our little train journey we saw many cars parked along the roads and people were cycling, eating picnic lunches, and just generally enjoying the out of doors on a beautiful spring day.

 

One of the fountains close to the Palace.

 

Another beautiful fountain.

 

Behind the Palace are many fountains, pools and highly manicured gardens. Beyond them are woods surrounding the mile-long X-shaped Grand Canal.

 

We saw this swan swimming in one of the fountains. When I looked closer, I realized she must have a baby riding on her back. I thought I had seen back-riding babies on swans before, but I don’t remember them being this ugly.

 

After our little train ride, we walked back through the front of the palace and down across the courtyard to where the horse stables are.  There’s a fabulous carriage museum there called The Coaches Gallery with carriages from the 18th and 19th centuries and we went in and saw the dozen or so immaculate carriages they have on display.

 

 

 

A child’s carriage.

 

Royal snow sleighs.

 

A funeral carriage.

 

At 3 pm we attended the corps de ballet put on by the National Equestrian Academy of Versailles in the nearby Palace Stables. The show combined dressage with dancing, singing, fencing and Kyudo.  Unfortunately, no photos were allowed, so the photo below was borrowed from the program.

 

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