Versailles: A Visual Feast

On our last day in Paris, we took the train (about a 45-minute ride) to the Palace of Versailles, the resplendent palace of Louis XIV of France, the Sun King.

After disembarking from the train, we diverged from the crowd headed to the palace to pick up lunch at a local boulangerie for picnicking in the gardens at Versailles. Toting along our baguette and other fixings, we meandered toward the palace, enjoying the warmest day of our trip thus far. We were happy that signage to the Palace is excellent, so we could easily find our way, even though we had left the crowd.

While our Paris Museum Passes provided us with free admission to Versailles (but not the garden, you should note), it does not allow you to skip the security line. The line was long...very long. We estimate that there were at least 800 people in line. And the nice warmth we had enjoyed earlier became very hot when standing in it for about two hours to get through security. If you're visiting, come prepared to stand exposed to the elements for quite a while. Here is a small portion of the crowd.

But two hours does afford plenty of time for snapping pictures of all the gilded details of the palace as you wait.

We were hot and hungry by the time we reach the security check, and we planned to start with the gardens so we could eat, and then tour the house. But our bag of lunch fixings was not able to go through security, and had to be checked. Touring the house first it was then!

We have toured castles and palaces and many a grand home, but nothing quite prepares you for the overwhelming opulence of Versailles. It is truly difficult to imagine anyone living on such a grand scale. There was even a room where people were invited to watch the king eat.

The famous Hall of Mirrors!

A glimpse of part of the garden from the house. We were headed there next. I suspected this would be our favorite part of touring Versailles, and I was not mistaken. So beautiful!

But before we ventured further, we stopped at the Laduree display for some macarons. Yes please!

To enter the gardens, you must pay for a separate garden admission. But don't skip it, because it's just gorgeous! A must! 

The biggest unexpected delight of visiting Versailles is that throughout the garden, hidden discretely, are speakers through which play beautiful classical music. There is no part of the garden from which we could not hear the music. Just perfect!

And don't leave Versailles without indulging in a sorbet from the charming sorbet truck!

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