During the February school holidays we decided to go to Versailles for the day. A chance to get out of the city and enjoy the Château without huge crowds to spoil the experience. That was the plan anyway. We had been there in the July and the queues on the esplanade outside the Château were so long that we opted for the lesser known Trianon and La Domaine de Marie Antoinette, also well worth a visit. When we were there last week there were no queues to get into the Château, the marble courtyard was nearly empty.
They have recently gilded the gates to the Château and also the dormer windows. Who ever heard of gold window frames? The French Kings bien sur!
We started off our visit on the ground floor in the central part of the Palace. We were guided through the Appartements des Mesdames, built for Louis XV's daughters, princesses Adélaïde and Victoire. The restoration of these apartments was completed two years ago in April 2013.
Here is the bedroom of Madame Victoire. These rooms are very extravagant, but as it turns out they are rather rather low key and discrete as compared to the apartments built for Louis XVI and his entourage.
My favourite part was the pale creamy stone in entrance arcade. Exquisite.
Once we got to the Galerie des Glaces, the hall of mirrors, the place was heaving and it was impossible to take any photos without crowds of people in them, unless you zoomed in to an architectural or decorative detail of which there are plenty!
Or looked up!
I was surprised to learn that back in the 17C the hall of mirrors was mainly used by courtiers and the visiting public as passageway and a waiting and meeting place rather than for special ceremonies. It is so extravagant, it looks like the perfect venue for huge parties.
After the Galerie des Glaces we had to leave quickly as our parking ticket was about the run out. Here is another 'over-everybody's-head' photo. I likes the perspective of bright colours.
We quickly glimpsed Louis XVI's rather fabulous red bed chamber as we squeezed our way through the crowds.
And then headed out of the gates and back to our car, catching a last glimpse of gold as we ran.
The Château de Versailles is open seven days a week. More details can be found on their website, here.