Today was our day in Versailles. It turned out to be quite a heat wave day of 28 degrees with blue skies so we were truly blessed to see the Palace in all its glory.
The Palace of Versailles has been listed as a World Heritage Site for 30 years and is one of the greatest achievements in French 17th century art. Louis XIII's old hunting pavilion was transformed and extended by his son, Louis XIV, when he installed the court and government there in 1682. A succession of kings continued to embellish the Palace up until the French Revolution. Today the Palace contains 2,300 rooms spread over 63,154 m2.
Water features of all kinds are found in the French gardens, however today only two were working for the Musical Garden display. One was synchronized to music which was lovely the other operating every 20 minutes, so for the rest of the grounds we had calm surfaces of the water reflecting the sky and sun.
In an attempt to gain some brief respite from courtly etiquette, the kings of Versailles built themselves more intimate spaces close to the main palace. Adjoining the Petit Parc, the estate of Trianon is home to the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon palaces, as well as the Queen’s Hamlet and a variety of ornamental gardens.
We first toured the Grand Apartments.
The ceiling in the Salon of Venus.
The ceiling in the Salon of Aapollo.
The Hall of Mirrors the most photographed of all the palace rooms. Today there were so many people that it was difficult to get a true feel for the room as we were not able to see the lower portion and the mirrors for the people. Perhaps it was the summer day or perhaps that it was the last Musical Garden day of the year was the reason that so many people were here, and it is not peak season.
The Chamber of Madame Victoire
Apollo’s Bath Grove
Water Theatre Grove
We walked through the gardens to the The Grand Trianon which was erected by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1687 on the site of the former ‘Porcelain Trianon’. Commissioned by Louis XIV in 1670 to get away from the arduous pomp of life in the court and to pursue his affair with Mme de Montespan, the Grand Trianon is perhaps the most refined architectural ensemble found on the royal estate of Versailles.
This is the chamber of the Empress
Apartment of the Queen of Belgium
We then toured the Petite Trianon
The Temple of Love
The Queen’s Hamlet, constructed between 1783 and 1786 under the supervision of Richard Mique, is an excellent example of the contemporary fascination with the charms of rural life. Inspired by the traditional rustic architecture of Normandy, this peculiar model village included a windmill and dairy, as well as a dining room, salon, billiard room and boudoir. Although it was reserved primarily for the education of her children, Marie-Antoinette also used the hamlet for promenades and hosting guests.
The Gardener’s House
The Dragon Fountain