Places to visit: Chateaux de Versailles
The Hall of Mirrors
Twenty kilometers into the suburbs of Paris stand the grand Chateaux de Versailles. Louis the XIV’s royal palace. Inside this amazing palace you will find yourself steeped in history and luxury only imaginable by kings and queens.
The Hall of Mirrors gets its name from the seventeen mirrors facing the seventeen windows overlooking the great Garden of Versailles. Within each arch there are twenty one mirrors for a total of three hundred fifty seven mirrors decorating the largest room in the palace.
In the 17th century the Hall of Mirrors was used for grand balls and events of the royal court. The famous treaty of Versailles was signed in this hall in 1918 ending World War 1. Louis the XIV wanted to let the world know he was the undisputed and almighty king of France. By creating the largest palace in the world he had shown his absolute power.
Chateaux de Versailles was the largest royal court in the world. At one time it housed 20,000 courtiers. Until the French Revolution in 1789 the palace was a symbol of unquestionable power and influence. The grand apartments are decorated with such lavish opulence that they several were dedicated to the Greek Gods Hercules, Mercury and Apollo. King Louis the XVI was also known as the sun king. Therefore he chose the sun god Apollo salon as his own.
The staff for the palace was unheard of at the time. In order to make a simple meal the kitchen staff was in excess of 2000 workers. The landscapers, maids and servants numbered in the tens of thousands. The palace was an expensive place to run and nearly emptied the royal coffers.
Three other estates were built on the property, the Grand Trianon, a getaway from the courtly etiquette for the king, Petite Trianon which was built for the king and his mistress Madame du Barry. The Petite Trianon later became a favorite place of rest for Marie Antoinette. The third was an entire hamlet built for the amusement of Marie Antoinette. This hamlet is where her and her friends would act out peasant life. In 1789 the revolution brought an end to the lavish lifestyle of the aristocrats. These historical buildings are preserved for your pleasure today. Part of the Trianon palace is now a luxurious Versailles hotel.
To get to Versailles from Paris it is easily accessible by train. A 30 minute train ride will have you out of the bustling Paris city life and transport you back in time to an era where the rich gave rich a whole new definition. One day is not nearly enough to see and enjoy everything this gorgeous place has to offer so you might want to consider staying in a one of the hotels in Versailles.
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