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Travel / Tours / France / Versailles
Visit the Palace of Versailles in France
  Chapelle Royale
  State Apartments
  Hall of Battles
  Grand Trianon
  Petit Trianon


Paris and Versailles (Blue Guides)
(cultural guidebook)
Author: Ian Robertson
Publisher: A & C Black
Date: March 2001
The Gardens of Versailles
Author: Pierre Andre Lablaude, Jacques de Givry
Publisher: Scala
Date: June 2005

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The Marble Courtyard
(the State Apartments are on the first floor)

Statue of Louis XIV
(Louis the Fourteenth)

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As you approach the palace you will see the outside of the Chappelle Royale ("royal chapel") on the right. You can see its interior

Outside of the Chapelle Royale

Inside the Chapelle Royale

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The State Apartments ("Grands Appartements") is the main visitor attraction inside the palace. These rooms were used mainly for official ceremonies and special balls. At the start are several drawing rooms which are named after Roman gods and goddesses: Venus (the goddess of love and beauty), Diana (goddess of nature, fertility and childbirth), Mars (the god of war), Mercury (the god of trade) and Apollo (the god of music). Apollo has particular significance because he also represents the sun, which was the symbol of Louis XIV (known as the "sun king"). Mercury, Venus and Mars have been chosen because these are the planets which (together with the Earth) are nearest to the sun.

Ceiling of the Venus Drawing Room

Mars Drawing Room

The state apartment is decorated with many fine paintings, including portraits of Louis XIV (14th), Louis XV (15th), Louis XVI (16th), Marie Antoinette and Napoleon Bonaparte.

Marie Antoinette

Napoleon's coronation (in Notre Dame cathedral)

It was in the Queen's Bedchamber that the French Queen would give birth to heirs to the throne. Many people would crowd into this room to watch the event.

The Hall of Mirrors, completed in 1686, was a passage through which Louis XIV would go each day to get from the King's Apartment to the Chapel. There are magnificent views of the gardens through the windows. Mirrors are placed on the opposite wall to reflect the light, and a series of chandeliers hang from the ceiling. It was in this room that the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, formally marking the end of the First World War.

The Queen's Bedchamber

The Hall of Mirrors

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Napoleon at the Battle of Wagram

The Hall of Battles

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The "Grand Perspective"
In the foreground is the Fountain of Latona

The Dragon Fountain
(water rises 27m from the dragon's mouth)

Many parts of the gardens are
planted with colourful flowers

The Colonnade (near
the Fountain of Apollo)

Potted trees in The Orangery
(in the far distance is the Pond of the Swiss)

Paths form geometric designs
in the Orangery

Boating on the Grand Canal

The garden is very large - you need several hours to explore it fully. You can save some time and effort by paying to take a "petit train" (a shuttle service, pictured below) to go between the Terrasse du Nord (the Northern Terrace in front of the palace), the Petit Trianon, the Grand Trianon and the Grand Canal. Alternatively, you may enjoy taking a ride in a horse-driven coach, starting and ending in front of the palace.

The "petit train" can take you to
the Trianons or to the Grand Canal

You can take a ride in a
horse-drawn carriage

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The Petit Trianon

The Temple of Love

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Useful websites:
Chateau of Versailles: (location: map)
Spectacles at the Chateau of Versailles (in French):
Les Petits Trains du Parc de Versailles:

Independent travel to Versailles:
Versailles is about 20km south-west of Paris. You can travel there easily using public transport:
- From central Paris take RER Line C (a suburban train) to Versailles-Rive Gauche (the last stop for trains called VICK). Note that you cannot use a metro ticket. Some of the stations from which you can start are Gare d'Austerlitz, St Michel-Notre Dame, Musee d'Orsay, Invalides, Pont de l'Alma or Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel. The journey lasts about 40 minutes (trains leave approximately every 20 or 30 minutes). It is a 10 minute walk from the station to the palace (cross the road after leaving the train station, turn right, then take the next road on the left - Rue de Paris: you will see the palace gates in front of you). Ticket offices at some RER stations sell a return train ticket together with a "one-day pass" entrance ticket for the palace which will save you time queuing at Versailles.
- Alternatively, you can reach the palace by taking an SNCF service (a mainline train) from Gare Montparnasse to Versailles-Chantiers, or from Gare Saint-Lazare to Versailles-Rive Droite. These destination stations are both in Versailles, but are a bit further from the palace.
- To check train times for RER or SNCF services in the Paris region:
- To check for engineering works for RER or SNCF services in the Paris region: (this page is in French only): if you see the word "travaux" next to the line you want to take then this means there are engineering works and you should click on the link for details. Note that there are engineering works on RER Line C between Gare d'Austerlitz and Invalides from 16 July to 21 August 2005, so if you are travelling between these dates you should start your journey from Invalides, Pont de l'Alma or Champ de Mars-Tour Eiffel, or use the replacement bus service to get to Invalides.
- Bus line 171 goes from Pont de Sèvres (at the western end of metro line 9) to Versailles-Place d'Armes

Weather forecast for Paris:

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Tours to France: Travel/Tours/France
Ferry services to and from the UK: Travel/Transport/Ferry
Eurostar services to France from London: Shop/Company/Eurostar

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