The Palace of Versailles, also known as the Palace or Castle of Versailles, is the ancient and great royal residence of the Bourbons of France, located in the city of Versailles, in the Yvelines department, located about 20 km west of Paris. When choosing a day for an excursion to Versailles from Paris, one should take into account that it is especially crowded on weekends.
The palace was built at the behest of the young Louis XIV in order to move away from the capital and its citizens, who became difficult to control (especially after the episode of the Fronde). Versailles remained the seat of political power for the Kingdom of France from 1682, when the Sun King moved his court there, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 at the dawn of the French Revolution. Thus, Versailles was the seat of the three kings of France (Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI), who resided there with their courts during the period between 1682 and 1789, with the only exception of the regency years of the young Louis XV from 1715 to 1723. Versailles, in addition to its structure, is known as a symbol of the power of the French monarchy during the period of pre-revolutionary France.
The castle consists of a number of architecturally coordinated elements. It covers an area of 63,154 m and contains over 2,300 objects, of which 1,000 are currently owned by the museum.
The Versailles Palace park covers an area of 815 hectares, versus the 8,000 hectares that it occupied before the French Revolution, with 93 gardens and numerous architectural elements such as the Grand Trianon, Hamau de la Reine, the Grand and Petin canal, the Orangerie and Pie-d’e aux de Suises, which are still among the most famous elements that characterize the palace gardens.
The garden of Versailles has parterres and groves. At the foot of the castle are the parterre d’Eau, du Nord and du Midi, under which is the Orangerie.
The main groves are: bosque de Bains d’Apollon, bosque de la Colonnade, bosque de Dome and Rocaille.
The gardens host music and night games organized at the Château de Versailles Shows from April to October every year.
Six subsidiary structures are located near the Palace of Versailles and represent the evolution of the palace itself: Menagerie, Trianon de Porselan, Grand Trianon, Petite Trianon, Amo de la Rennes and Pavilion de la Lanne.
The Museum of the Palace of Versailles was opened in 1837 by Camille Bacasson, Count of Montalivet on the orders of Louis Philippe under the name “Museum of the History of France”. With an area of 18,000 m2, it is the largest history museum in the world. The museum contains a collection of paintings collected and reorganized by Luigi Filippo according to different historical periods. In order to display them, some of the rooms in the palace halls were turned into a museum.
Currently, the Museum of the History of France is located in the side wings, and the central building (except for the first floor) is a private apartment and apartments of the royal family, which have been restored to their original form.
The upkeep of Versailles is expensive, especially in terms of its huge rooftops, but tourism as well as donations complement government subsidies to keep things going.