The FULL DAY TOUR (8h) will embark you on a journey that will introduce you to the splendor and tragedy of the most famous and largest royal residence in the world: VERSAILLES, the symbol of absolute monarchy for more than a century.
The construction and expansion of the Chateau de Versailles that lasted for over a 50 year period began as Louis XIII ‘s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV (the famous Sun King) transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles, using the chateau to demonstrate its political, economic, military and artistic success .
Your private, licensed driver-guide will pick you up at your hotel (or apartment) in a very comfortable, air-conditioned Mercedes minivan (or similar). On the way to Versailles (the drive lasts about 30 minutes), he will give you an introduction to the history of the palace and the century of the Sun King. Upon arrival, he will pick up your reservation (that the company has done previously) and tickets (NO LINES) and enter with you through a special entrance to start your private guided visit that initiates with the ROYAL CHAPEL, followed by the visit of the KING’S GRAND APARTMENT: This prestigious seven-room enfilade served as a parade apartment. It was therefore sumptuously decorated and was reserved on 3 evenings a week for the court:
HERCULES SALON(Reception and Ball Room),ABONDANCE SALON, VENUS SALON (where buffet tables were arranged to display food and drink for the king’s guests), DIANA SALON(that served as a billiard room.), MARS SALON (that served as a ballroom.), MERCURY SALON (that served as a gaming (cards) room), APOLLO SALON.
The visit of the King’s Grand Apartment will lead you to the magnificent HALL OF MIRRORS (La Grande Galerie des Glaces as it was called in the 17th C, that served daily as a passageway and a waiting and meeting place frequented by courtiers and visiting public), theWAR ROOM, the QUEEN’S GRAND APARTMENT (GUARD’S ROOM, SALON DES NOBLES – when not used for audiences it was used as antechamber to the queen’s bedroom, the QUEEN’S BEDCHAMBER)…
After the visit of the chateau, your guide will take you for a stroll into the GARDENS todiscover the planted architectural patterns and the groves and fountains. Water in all its forms is the favored ornament of the French style gardens: water cascading in some groves (Queen’s Grove, Ballroom Grove, Girandole Grove, Colonnade Grove… )(Latona Fountain, Apollo Fountain, Mirror Fountain…), the calm water of the vast sheet of artificial lakes reflecting the sky and the light such as the Water Parterre and the Grand Canal.
After the visit of the Gardens, it is time for LUNCH (not included in the price – your guide will find a place that will suit your expectations-)
The rest of the afternoon will be dedicated to the visit of the PARK and the private guided visit of its jewels:
The GRAND TRIANON, probably the most refined group of buildings in the domain of Versailles, elegantly proportioned, radiating a sense of coziness, sweetness and grandeur all at once. Louis XIV had it erected to escape the rigid pomp of court life with his mistress Madame de Montespan, Napoleon occupied on many occasions with Marie-Louise before Charles de Gaulle had it restored as a guesthouse for presidents of France.
The PETIT TRIANON and MARIE-ANTOINETTE’S ESTATE (QUEEN’S HAMLET and GARDEN), linked to the memory of the Queen Marie-Antoinette, that’s swept away the old court and its traditions, finding at the Petit Trianon the heaven of privacy that enabled her to escape from the rigors of court etiquette (nobody could come there without her invitation ).
You will find at the Petit Trianon the eclectic and refinement of Marie-Antoinette, an art of living linked to free thinking… She loved this place where she could return (especially at the Hamlet) to the pleasures of more simple pursuits.
At the end of this quite busy, interesting and enjoyable day, your guide will bring you back to your hotel.
Entrance tickets included.
Lunch not included.
The security measures are reinforced in Versailles. The security control may take more time than usual, especially during the high season. The first security check is outside Versailles ground.
Moreover due to the closure in the Palace (works) of the Queen’s bedroom and its four adjoining salons, the route of your guided tours of the Grand Apartments will be modified. It will lead you to explore the salon du Grand Couvert and the salle des gardes du Roi, open to the public and refurbished for the occasion.
Then, you can continue your visit to the Mesdames’ apartments, recently restored and refurnished.