DAY 1: THE PALACE OF VERSAILLES The Palace of Versailles is the most renowned landmark, and a prized possession of France. The Hall of Mirrors, the Grand Apartment, the Royal Chapel and other architectural masterpieces of the palace are some of the most renowned artworks of French architecture. In fact, the palace was decorated with an estimated 6,000 paintings and 5,000 pieces of furniture.The grounds of the Palace of Versailles covers over three square miles, including 230 acres of gardens, making it the World's Largest Royal Domain.
The Palace is located just south of Paris. Tourists in Paris always set aside a half day for a visit to Versailles. Believe it or not, the castle can easily hold over 20,000 people ...and it has over 67 staircases! This week we will look at the gardens and a few of the palace's 700 rooms!
DAY 2: THE SUN KING The Palace of Versailles was built in the 17th century for King Louis XIV, The Sun King, who was France's King at the time. He built the palace because he did not trust the people in Paris, and wanted to move his residence away from the Louvre Palace, which later became the Louvre art museum. A ceremony was held for each thing King Louis XIV did, including waking up, and going to bed, which had to be attended by the people. This was his way to control his image among his subjects. In addition, he had up to 200 servants to carry out his duties. The Sun King spent several billion dollars of the money of France on Versailles at a time when almost all the people were very poor.
Eventually an angry mob barged into the palace and captured the queen, Marie Antoinette. The Queen's lavish lifestyle during this time of poverty for others, made her hated among the Parisians. This hatred ultimately led to the couple being sentenced to death in 1793.
DAY 3: THE HALL OF MIRRORS Among the most famous rooms of the magnificent palace are the Hall of Mirrors, and the State Rooms. The Hall of Mirrors has 17 huge mirrored arches opposite 17 windows. Each one of the arch contains 21 mirrors, which makes it a massive 357 in all. The hall is over 240 feet long and over 40 feet high. The ceilings of the hall have intricate paintings and the borders of the wall are decorated with gilded statues. The glass chandeliers that hang from its ceiling, are another beautiful aspect of the hall. The ceiling in the Hall of Mirrors is also spectacular, but many fail to notice it because of the spectacular below it. On the opposite ends of the hall are the Salon of Peace and the Salon of War. The Hall of Mirrors also holds significance for being the place where the historical Treaty of Versailles was signed by the Allies of Germany in 1919 after World War 1. On special occasions, the Hall of Mirrors was lit with 20,000 candles to transform it into a "corridor of light"
DAY 4: THE STATE APARTMENTS
The Grand Apartment of the King and The Grand Apartment of the Queen, were collectively called The State Apartments. The apartment of King Louis XIV was called the Apartment of the Planets. Each of the seven rooms of the apartment was dedicated to each of the then-known planets, and the Roman god associated with it. The apartment was place for parties hosted by the King for the members of his court, which were known as soirées. The decorations on the ceilings mainly represented the heroic actions of King Louis XIV.
The Grand Apartment of the Queen also consisted seven rooms, which were identical to the ones in the Grand apartment of the King. The ceilings on this one were decorated with the depictions of the heroines from the past.
DAY 5: THE GARDENS OF VERSAILLES Louis XIV spent one third of the total building budget of the palace, on the garden fountains alone. There are more than 30 fountains in the gardens of Versailles, the most famous are : the Neptune fountain, the Apollo fountain and the Latona fountain. During Les Grandes Eaux Musicales de Versailles the 50 fountains contribute to the great show of water-jets. The Neptune fountain presents 150 different water effects during this show! The gates of the Palace of Versailles are completely made out of gold. These gates were destroyed by the common people during the French revolution. The restoration of the gates in 2008, cost the French government around 8 million dollars.