Located about 20 kilometers from Paris, Château de Versailles was a royal residence of French monarchs for just over 100 years. Versailles is most often associated with King Louis XIV (the Sun King) because he moved the royal court from Paris to Versailles in 1682 and transformed it from a hunting lodge to a grand showcase of French art and architecture. Versailles continued to be the seat of political power until the French Revolution (1789) when the royal family was forced to return to Paris.
Getting Here from Paris. To get to Versailles, you’ll take the RER C train. The round trip cost from Paris to Versailles is 7.10 EUR.
How much time do you need? When visiting Versailles, allot a full day. There’s a lot to see beyond the royal apartments and the hall of mirrors. We recommend checking out these attractions:
Gallery of Coaches
Located in the Great Stables, the Gallery of Coaches showcases majestic ceremonial coaches. These ostentatious horse-drawn vehicles are artistic masterpieces. You’ll see the marriage coach of Napoléon I, the coronation coach of Charles X and the funeral coach of Louis XVIII, among others.
Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet
The Queen’s Hamlet is situated in the park of Château de Versailles, close to the Petit Trianon. Built in 1783 for Marie Antoinette, the Hamlet served as a place of leisure and privacy for her and her friends. The Hamlet is comprised of meadows, streams, a pond, gardens, a farm, rustic cottages and a Temple of Love. This type of model farm, which evokes the feeling of being in the countryside, was fashionable among the French aristocrats at the time.
Wandering through Hameau de la Reine paints a slightly different picture of Marie Antoinette. She wanted her own private space where she could escape prying courtiers and her own structured life. In the hamlet, she played dress up as a young shepherdess. It seems that she sought simplicity, freedom, and peace – all of which are represented in the pastoral setting she created.
This pink marbled palace was built at the request of King Louis XIV as a retreat for himself and his official mistress, Marquise de Montespan. She actually bore him 7 children and was said to have great influence at court. At the single-story château, the King could invite guests and enjoy light meals away from the arduous pomp of court life.
If you’re interested in visiting other castles close to Paris, read next: the Best Castles Near Paris.