While studying French history at university I found myself drawn to the history of the Palace of Versailles and one of its most famous residents, Marie Antoinette. Marie Antoinette came to France from Austria in May 1770 as the Dauphine of France and would later become Queen of France. Marie Antoinette holds a certain fascination for many. I think its a combination of the glamour, luxury and tragedy of her story makes her such an intriguing historical figure. Marie has left a lasting impression on the Palace of Versailles, especially in the beautiful Petit Trianon, her country palace and the adjoining hamlet and farm.
The Hall of Mirrors is truly stunning. You cannot properly capture the grander of this room with a camera. Light dances through the hall, coming in from the windows, bouncing off the crystal chandeliers and mirrors, lighting up the room.
The gardens of Versailles have just as long and fascinating history as the palace. There is a wonderful mini museum to the gardens that provides an insight into what inspired the various gardeners and the changes that were made over the centuries. Make sure you leave plenty of time to explore and get lost in the gardens. The gardens are as grand as the palace itself, filled with detailed statues and immaculately maintained lawns.
For me the real highlight of visiting Versailles was Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon. It was here that Marie Antoinette hoped to live a private and simple life with her closest friends. The hamlet was built so that Marie Antoinette and her children could ‘live like peasants’, feeding animals and picking produce from the gardens.
Planning Your Visit
Getting There The train from Paris to Versailles takes approximately an hour and departs regularly throughout the day.
Tickets I highly recommend pre-purchasing your tickets online to avoid waiting in line. There are several ticket options depending on how much of Versailles you wish to see. I recommend choosing the Versailles Passport which grants you access to the Palace, Gardens and Marie Antoinette’s estate.