The Palace of Versailles is among the finest achievement of French architectural design of the 17th century. When the château was built, Versailles was a country village. Today it is a sizeable suburb of Paris, some 20km (12 miles) south-west of the capital.
The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. As a result, Versailles is famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime.
© Chateau de Versailles/Christian Milet
Initially, Versailles was planned to be an occasional residence for Louis XIV and was referred to as the "King's house". Accordingly, much of the early funding for construction came from the king's own purse, paid for by revenues received from his appanage as well as revenues from the province of New France (Canada), which, while part of France, was a private possession of the king and therefore exempt from the control of the Parliaments.
For the visitor the highlights are the Grands Appartements, the Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors), the Appartement de la Reine (the Queen's apartments), and, of course, the gardens, which are open daily from 0800-2030.
© ATOUT FRANCE/Martine Prunevieille
RER C: To get to the palace of Versailles, make sure to buy a "Paris - Versailles Rive Gauche" ticket (zones 1-4) (T+ ticket is not valid for this journey).
SNCF Trains: Arrive at Versailles Chantiers station from Paris Montparnasse
Arrive at Versailles Rive Droite station from Paris Saint Lazare
Train schedule on www.transilien.com
A13 motorway, exit Versailles Centre
Paying car park at the Place d’Armes, Allée de Bailly, Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon
Daily (except Mon)
There are several admission tickets: choose yours depending on how much time you have and the places you would like to see.