Paris has been one of the world’s top tourist destinations for hundreds of years. With tons of museums, including the famous Louvre, great restaurants, iconic landmarks and more – there is something for everyone. You’ve got the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Orangerie, Palais Garnier and the list goes on and on. Sports lovers can see Paris St Germain play football at the Parc des Princes. Or you can see a concert at one of many Parisian venues.
But one place that you should add to your list is Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles – known in French as the Château de Versailles. Nowadays, the trip from downtown Paris can be completed in about 30 minutes depending on traffic.
Situated just west of the French capital, the Palace was built on the grounds of King Louis XIII’s (yes, that’s Louis XIV’s predecessor) 17th century hunting lodge. But King Louis XIV had a miraculous, opulent and extremely expensive vision for his chateau expansion. He built and built and built. And expanded and expanded and expanded. And upgraded the ornamentation every chance that he could.
In 1682, Louis XIV made the importance of the palace official by moving the seat of the government to the site. This effectively made Versailles the capital of France.
So why should people still care?
1) It’s one of France’s (and Europe’s most visited attractions). Around 15 million people visit Versailles each year.
2) It’s huge! The Palace of Versailles has 2,300 rooms spread over 60,000+ square meters according to the Palace’s official website. Add on several thousand more acres of gardens and grounds. (We’re just glad we don’t have to do the upkeep!).
3) The Palace contains dozens of ornately designed rooms, a French Museum, a Royal Opera auditorium and more.
4) The most famous “room” is probably the Hall of Mirrors.
5) The value of the Palace (according to a few internet searches) is 50+ BILLION dollars. We’re unlikely to see a similar structure built in the next century.
6) The Treaty of Versailles famously ended World War 1 in June 1919. The official document was signed in the Hall of Mirrors.
Louis XIV was infamously known as the Sun King. He ruled France for 72 years which is believed to be one of the longest royal tenures in history. He died at Versailles on September 1st, 1715 at the age of 76 years old.
The Palace sells a variety of entry tickets and passes and you can visit for free on select dates.
The Palace of Versailles will also be the site of 2024 Paris Olympics Equestrian event. Horse and rider combinations will compete in eventing, jumping and dressage. This wasn’t by accident. The grounds have a long history of breeding, raising and boarding world-class horses used by French royalty.
And if you’re looking from great prices, check out EuropeTripDeals.com’s Paris travel discounts page. If you spend less, you’ll be able to experience a whole lot more!