Just south of the 7th Arrondissement sits a seat of the French Monarchy, the Palace of Versailles. The palace was initially built by Louis XIII and was used as a royal hunting lodge. Shortly after his successor, Louis XIV took the throne, he moved his residence permanently to Versailles; which, consequently, caused a wave of change and elegant renovations to the 7th Arrondissement due to the fact that it was now a sort of highway to the king. During the 1670s, the palace underwent renovations which included grand apartments for the monarchs whom lived there as well as became the seat of the Royal Court and the French Government. The Palace even welcomed the Austrian Princess and Archduchess Marie-Antoinette, who would later become the French queen, infamous for her flamboyant hair and dresses; not to mention the quote of “Let them eat cake”, all of which lead to her demise, and eventual beheading during the French Revolution.
King Louis XIV had a deep love the Arts and beauty, which was heavily reflected in the decoration and extravagant architecture put into every detail of the palace. King Louis XIV
also had a deep love of himself. The King referred to himself as “le roi sol”, or “the Sun King”, as he believed that the sun rose and set on France at his command. The practical narcissism of the Sun King is still found throughout the intricate décor of the palace, with sun symbols portrayed throughout all the grounds.
From the reign of Louis XIV through Louis XVI, the palace saw a great expansion. Among these expansions were the breath-taking gardens, which have a near whimsical and
fairytale-like setting. Walking through the gardens alone, one could get lost and spend nearly the entire day just reminiscing on what it was like to have been at the French Court of the 18th century.
Moving from the gardens, you will find the Petit Trianon. This small palace, including a fairytale hameau, was a gift to Queen Marie-Antoinette from her husband. The grounds were an escape from the rigid ways of French Court, and maintained a haven for the ill-fated Queen throughout most of her life. This area was a highly privatized place, where the King himself would not visit without a personal invitation from the Queen.
No matter whether your interest and intrigue lies in the architecture of the magnificent palace and gardens; or the history of the multitude of events, or an affinity of prestigious royals, the Palace of Versailles is a must-see, sitting right outside of the French capital.
To get to the Château de Versailles from the 7th Arrondissement, enter the Métro at Invalides, and take the RER C towards Versailles Château.
There are several ticket options for your visit to the Palace, please visit: