Here are top interesting facts about Palace of Versailles:
#1 It is located about 16 kilometers (10 miles) southwest of Paris, close to the settlement of Versailles. It covers an area of 2,014 acres or 87,728,720 square feet (8,150,265 square meters), making it the World’s Largest Royal Domain.
#2 It was decorated with valuable works of art and paintings. For instance, it contains an estimated 5,000 pieces of furniture and 6,000 paintings.
#3 The building is so large that only a small portion of it is open to the public. In addition, many of the rooms are government offices.
#4 The Park of Versailles covers 815 hectares, with 93 hectares of gardens, and includes the Queen’s Hamlet, the Petit and Grand Trianon, the Grand and Petit Canal, an orangery, a menagerie, and the water part of the Swiss.
#6 The original residence was mainly a hunting lodge and private retreat for Louis XIII (who ruled as King of France from 1610 to 1643) and his family.
#7 King Louis XIV chose to move to Versailles in 1682. All the materials used in building and decorating this amazing palace were made in France. Additionally, building Versailles needed approximately 30,000 laborers and was so expensive that it almost wiped out the coffers of France.
#8 The daily routine of Louis XIV was planned out in detail when he lived in here. He had hundreds of servants to carry out numerous duties, like – emptying the Royal chamber pot.
#9 Interestingly, the distance from the kitchen to the dining areas is so big that even with about 200 servants working in just the kitchen, the king frequently ate cold dishes.
#10 Following the death of Louis XIV in September 1715, the court abandoned this building for Vincennes and moved briefly to Paris in December 1715. After, Versailles entered an extended period of neglect.
#11 In 1789, this remarkable palace finally lost its position as the official residence of the Royals. Starting the 19th century, this building had another function – as the Museum of the History of France.
#12 At the outbreak of the French Revolution, the rare collection of remarkable paintings, and some of the masterpieces of art kept at this palace were moved to the Louvre Museum.
#13 In 1962, a decree was issued ordering all pieces of art belonging to the Palace and preserved in French Collections throughout France to be brought back.
#14 A few of the biggest draws at the Palace are the Chappelle Royale, the Hall of Mirrors, and Grand Appartement du Roi.
Hall of Mirrors
#15 It is the most famous room in the Palace and was built by the renowned architect Louis Le Vau, that opened onto the garden. When fully lit, the Hall of Mirrors is illuminated with more than 3000 candles and is covered in more than 357 Venetian mirrors.
#16 Though the Hall of Mirrors is over the top in its grandeur, it was mainly used as a passageway.
#17 The Treaty of Versailles (the most critical of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end) was signed in Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. Moreover, in was in this very room that about 50 years earlier, Germany had declared itself an empire.
#18 The beautiful Royal Chapel is yet another grand form of gothic and baroque architecture. The present Chapel of Versailles was built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart (a French architect whose work is commonly acknowledged to be the top of French Baroque architecture) between 1698 and 1710.
Grand Appartement du Roi
#19 The Grand Appartement du Roi consists of an enfilade of seven fantastic rooms. Each room refers to mythology, including – Salon of Venus, Salon of Saturn, Salon of Mars, Salon of Diana, Salon of Apollo, Salon of Mercury, and Salon of Jupiter.
#20 A restoration initiative was started in 2003 – the “Grand Versailles” project, that required repair and replantation of the fantastic gardens, which had lost about 10,000 trees during the violent Hurricane Lothar on December 26, 1999.
#21 It is one of the greatest achievements in French 17th century art and has been listed as a World Heritage Site for 35 years.
The Palace works every day, from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm, except Monday. The Versailles Park is open every day, from 7 or 8 pm. Besides, its access is free with the exception during Musical Gardens and Musical Fountains Shows.
Tickets can be acquired online or at the Palace ticket office and start around 15 euros for individual ground tours of the apartments. Moreover, for 27 euros you can get a ticket which gives you access to the Palace and all of the gardens.