Day 3 of Paris Adventure: Part One- Versailles

Day Three of our Paris Adventure was jam packed!

We started early (ish) with a metro ride out to Versailles. WOW! What a place palace! (Yeah, that’s a golden gate…)

Here’s a brief history of the complex: It began as a hunting retreat for Louis XIII (father of The Sun King, Louis XIV.) When Louis XIV came to power, he transformed the hunting retreat into the grandiose palace complex that it is today. He hired Andre LeNotre to design the grounds (LeNotre also designed Le Jardin des Tuileries.) The construction of the complex took nearly 40 years; once it was inhabitable, Louis XIV moved the seat of the French government out to Versailles. As a result of the French Revolution, the government did move back to Paris and Versailles became a museum for the history of France.

Which brings us to present. We started our tour of Versailles in the palace. This was against my better judgment as the sky looked like it was about to open (and sure enough it did right when we got to the gardens) but we asked around and it seemed like the only way to see the palace and the gardens was to start in the palace.

So to the palace! The best way I can describe Versailles is opulent. The scale of the grounds, the scale of the palace, the decor, the accessories, the garden design, the materials used in construction- everything was so riche.

My favorite part of the palace was the first floor. The decor on the first floor was a bit more understated than the rest of the palace. There was a lot of white marble, fine gold details, and natural light.

Versailles Chapel from the First Floor

I loved the floor-to-ceiling windows/doors that opened into the grounds. (These floor-to-ceiling windows/doors were pretty common in France and I truly fell in love with them. If we ever become wealthy, we will definitely have some of these in the home we custom build πŸ˜‰ )

(Apparently I didn’t take any photos of these beauties…epic fail.)

I also really enjoyed the hardware here- you can see that the knobs on the window/doors were custom designed.

There was also a really beautiful hall of statues on the first floor- the whole hall was just white marble, gold details, and windows. Very beautiful.

Ben liked the second floor better than the first. There was definitely a lot more going on upstairs! Each room was so extravagant! The colored marble on the walls and floors, the hardwood flooring patterns, the artwork, the furniture, the fabrics…you can’t help but appreciate the beauty of each element:

And of course there is the famous hall of mirrors:

After our tour of the palace, we made our way to the grounds. As I mentioned above, it started to rain as soon as we got outside. Major bummer. But, as we had gotten all the way to France, and made it to Versailles, I refused to miss the garden tour! So we threw our jackets over our heads, wrapped my pashmina around the camera, and started our very wet, whirl-wind tour of the grounds of Versailles! (Disclaimer: due to the rain, some of the photos are blurry. It did clear up, though, by the end so some of the photos are clear!)

We started in the highly manicured, ornate Parterre gardens:

Isn’t the boxwood hedge ornament amazing!? Can you imagine maintaining this!?

I loved the marble and stone structural elements and ornaments throughout the garden. Just beautiful!

And this is the Orangerie:

Another common practice in French public gardens (as you can also see here) is to grow citrus and tropical trees and shrubs in these large green containers. My assumption is that the maintenance team forklifts these containers to a conservatory of some sort during the cold months and the containers are then brought out and arranged in the garden when it gets warm. If you have the conservatory space, it’s a great way to enjoy citrus trees, no?

This is the view of the city beyond Versailles when standing above the Orangerie:

After the Orangerie, we saw the Bacchus ornamental lake

Some beautiful hedge rows:

The Saturn ornamental lake:

The King’s garden:

Check out these annual beds in the King’s Garden!These were planted with annuals/succulents that grow at home in Richmond! Red and Pink Begonia, sedums, etc.

The Apollo Ornamental Lake:

And my favorite part: Latone Ornamental Lakes area:

There were some beautiful sculptures and perennial borders around this area:

Escargo?

And the roses smelled so wonderfully!

Despite all that we saw, we only toured a small portion of the grounds! You could easily spend a whole day in the Versailles gardens and not see everything (or at least you would need a horse to gallop you around if you wanted to see it all…)

After the garden tour we were soaked and freezing, but it was so worth it! We hopped on the train back to Paris proper to change and then headed to the Louvre–jam-packed day, right!? We’ll be back in the next post to share our Louvre experience!

A tout a l’heure!

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