When I was in high school I had a fantastic history teacher, an Irish woman with a wicked sense of humour.
After an estimated 30 years in the game she was pretty sharp and came particularly prepared on the topic of WW1 and the Treaty of Versailles, because “so help me if any of you pronounce it Ver-sails.” (In case you weren’t aware, it is pronounced Ver-sigh).
So we used to have to chant it three times, every time the name came up.
Versailles. Versailles. Versailles.
The site really came to be known once King Louis XIV made the Palace of Versailles home and the centre of politics in France in 1682, where it remained until the end of monarchy was brought about by the French revolution around 100 years later.
Versailles at this time was a small village and today is an affluent area not too far outside of Paris, I caught a train there and back which only took perhaps 30-40 minutes each way and is connected to the Metro network.
As mentioned briefly, The Palace of Versailles is known for being the location where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, which signalled the end of the war between Germany and the allies.
Another significant result of this document was that the Germans were to pay back the costs which would bring them significant troubles in the years to follow, naturally.
Visiting in the middle of peak season during summer means preparing yourself for the hoards of people which will surely be squeezing their way through alongside you.
This was the view inside the Hall of Mirrors, or Hall of Tourists rather.
You can easily spend an entire day at the Palace, soaking in the luxurious surrounds that ooze from the hundreds upon hundreds of rooms.
There’s touches of gold almost everywhere and the level of detail crafted into everything from the ceilings, to the artwork is amazing.
Just when you think you’re being blown away with what lies inside the Palace, wait until you walk out into the gardens which are equally magnificent – if not more so in my opinion!
The size alone is impressive at over 800 hectares.
I literally spent hours walking around here but there is shuttle buses available to further parts of the grounds and some people were even hiring golf like buggies to get around.
My favourite part outside of the Palace is definitely Marie Antoinette’s hamlet.
Married to Louis XVI, the woman who may or may not have famously attributed to the phrase ‘let them eat cake,’ definitely did however create this wonderful tranquil haven amongst the gardens.
As I left the palace gates that day, I couldn’t help but smile as I heard my history teacher’s Irish accent saying Versailles. Three times, for effect.
I’m so glad I finally got to see the Palace of Versailles and its beautiful grounds for myself, having had the name so profusely ingrained in my memory for life!
An ad for Dior, just before you enter the Palace