Apr 3rd, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors Pay a Visit to Versailles

They say that you have not been to France unless you have been to Paris, but senior travelers, I will extend that by adding that you have not been to France unless you have been to Versailles. A former hunting lodge on the SW outskirts of Paris that Louis XIV turned into a symbol of power of the French crown, Versailles today is  one of the country’s most visited sites. The Château de Versailles, which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List for 30 years, is one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. It’s quite large…the palace is somewhere between 520,00 and 550,000 square feet.

I have been there several times with groups and I still don’t know how to describe this magnificent structure.  It comes in three parts: the exterior, the interior and the gardens.  Each is a marvel.  Just your arrival at the gilded front gate and very high fence provides an insight into what one will see inside.  The Cour Carré, where the king’s bedroom was located, can be seen from the front gate as well as a huge statue of Louis XIV on horseback in the center of the main entrance area.

The Grand Trianon that Louis XIV had had erected in 1670 provided his escape with his mistress Madame de Montespan from the pomp and rigid formality of court life.  Part of Marie-Antoinette’s estate called the Hamlet, is worth the long walk. The Petit Trianon and its park are historically linked to the memory of Queen Marie-Antoinette. She is the only queen to have imposed her personal taste on Versailles. Sweeping away the old court and its traditions, she insisted on living as she wished. In her Trianon domain, which Louis XVI gave her in 1774, she found the heaven of privacy that enabled her to escape from the rigors of court etiquette. Nobody could come there without her invitation.

Seniors Visit the Most Visited Garden in the World

The Gardens of Versailles are by far the most visited gardens of the world. With an estimated 6 million visitors a year and 250 acres of ground coverage, the largest royal garden in Europe is a remarkable sight for seniors to behold.

So where does one stop describing Versailles… there is so much to take in?  The initial URL above provides information on all aspects of Versailles for exploring the estates.  Do plan to taking a full-day there as you will need it to take in the various parts of the site.

The easiest way to get to Versailles palace and avoid queues is to buy the ticket directly from the Château de Versailles website: it costs a bit more than the usual entrance ticket but includes return railway and metro tickets, an audio-guided tour of the Chapel and Opera House, the King’s and Queen’s State Apartments, the Dauphin’s and the Mesdames’ Apartments, the Coach Museum, Trianons and all the temporary exhibitions. However, you can get to the Palace easily by train and buy tickets for each attraction once there. This may be the best approach if you want to see something in particular or just want to explore the enormous gardens.  I have taken both the train and the bus.  The train is easiest. You can purchase tours and or simply be a walk-in on site. If you ride bikes, then check out this Versailles Bike Tour called Fat Tire. Rick Steves will take you through the palace on this tour. Trip Advisor offers things to see and do in the town of Versailles. Lastly here several tips for your visit.  Alors, amusez-vous bien! jeb

Tags: , , ,

One comment
Leave a comment »

  1. […] is one of the most significant cultural monuments in Austria. The castle was built to rival French Versailles in Baroque beauty and importance but House Hapsburg lacked funds to outdo its rivaling nation, […]

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.