For nearly two centuries, the royal palace of Versailles was the political and artistic epicenter of the Western world. There’s no better way to immerse yourself in the complex and majestic history of France than by visiting this lavish scene of its glories and disasters. This comprehensive tour includes the State Apartments, an overview of Louis XIV’s French gardens, and a transfer from and back to Paris.
About the tour
A seat of triumph and humiliation, Versailles saw the radiance of absolute monarchy and the tragedy of fallen royalty, the beginnings of the United States and of the French Revolution, the defeat of France at the hands of Prussia, the return of a World War, Napoleon, and Charles De Gaulle.
History and Luxury at Versailles
Versailles was not only the most influential, but also arguably the most luxurious palace and garden complex in Europe. This collective masterpiece is the sum of work of thousands of architects, painters, sculptors, decorators, and gardeners in the service of the Kings of France—the ultimate vitrine of French savoir-faire. Its gorgeous hand-crafted furniture, fabrics woven with golden and silver threads, crystal chandeliers, and the sumptuous setting of the Hall of Mirrors, served as a model for royal and aristocratic dwellings across Europe. As we stroll through the magnificent State Apartments, built for King Louis XIV at the peak of his power, we’ll discover the fine work of French and Italian artists who made—and benefited from—the glory of Versailles.
Built and altered by several French rulers, Versailles is not one, but many palaces. Originally a small hunting lodge, it was upgraded by Louis XIV to the magnificent palace, conceived as the seat of government and as a structure to magnify the royal power. Later on, various parts of the palace were added, removed, or refurbished by the successors of the Sun King, up until the Revolution.
The Monarchy in Nature
An extension to the opulence of the Palace of Versailles, the spectacular park covers a surface of more than 3 sq. miles. Most of these vast gardens, created by Louis XIV’s landscape designer André Le Nôtre, follow the traditional French style, featuring geometric shapes and neat lawns, about 400 statues and fascinating fountains. A place of enjoyment, the gardens were also meant to embody the royal power; they reflect its evolution over the course of centuries. Flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, and groves resonate with different reigns and personalities of the royal residents of Versailles.
Behind the great history, another story was taking shape, one more intimate and nuanced—that of the everyday. In Versailles, the slow transformation of trends and tastes is ingrained in each element of design—from embroidered silks to the world-famous gardens.