Château de Versailles

I’m just gonna say that after visiting Château de Versailles (Palace of Versailles), every castle/palace I saw in Europe thereafter paled in comparison. The place was grand, opulent, extravagant, golden, ornate – insert any similar adjective here. See for yourself!

Palace of Versailles Louis XIV
Entrance marble staircase

So this was the home of Louis XIV in the 1600’s. Apparently he hated the Louvre Palace, and so he built himself a palace in Versailles then moved there with his entire court.

Louis was called the “Sun King” because he wanted everyone to know that he was the center of things. This motif was repeated throughout the entire place – even his bedroom was right in the middle of the palace.

Palace of Versailles Map

Palace of Versailles Chapel
Palace Chapel, where the court had mass every morning.

You might think that living in a palace this grand would be the best thing ever. However, the building was made of stone, had no heating, plumbing, etc. The winters were so cold that some ladies of court would light small fires under their skirts to warm up while attending mass. Unfortunately, that solution didn’t work so well when they got lit up!

I walked through so many rooms that by now, forgot what each one was. But I’m kind of proud of myself for matching 99% of the pictures with its correct room! Thanks official website.

The King’s Apartments

Hercules Salon

The first salon of the King’s Grand Apartment, the Hercules salon was actually the last to be created, at the end of Louis XIV’s reign. From 1682 onwards, the chapel of the palace occupied its location and served until 1710, when it was replaced by the present chapel.

Hercules Salon Versailles

"The Apotheosis of Hercules" Hercules Salon Versailles
“The Apotheosis of Hercules” – François Lemoyne

Lion Hercules Salon Versailles

Abundance Salon

On evening soirees, the Abundance Salon was the place of refreshments, where a buffet served coffee (very expensive and prized back then), wine and liqueurs. It was also the antechamber of the Cabinet of Curiosities or the Rarities of Louis XIV – the king liked to show his guests silverware vases, gems and medals.

Abundance Salon Versailles

Abundance Salon Versailles

Venus Salon

On evening soirees, tables were set up covered with baskets of flowers, pyramids of fresh, rare fruit such as oranges and lemons as well as crystallised fruit and marzipan.

venus salon versailles

There were statues of Louis everywhere. I mean, when you’re the king…

Diana Salon

The Diana Salon served as a vestibule to the Grand Apartment and in Louis XIV’s day, on evening soirees, as a billiard room. Diana = the goddess of hunting, also alluded to the fact that Louis XIV was a great hunter.

Louis XIV Diana Salon Versailles

Diana Salon Versailles

Mars Salon

Mars is a planet but also the God of War. This room was originally meant to serve as the guard-room for the parade apartment. It was later reserved, at evening soirees, for music and dancing, so that it was commonly known as the “ballroom”.

mars salon versailles

Apollo Salon

Dedicated to the Sun God, god of the Arts and Peace, with whom Louis XIV identified, was the most luxurious of all.

apollo salon Versailles

Versailles Apollo Salon

The King’s Chamber:

The King’s Bedroom

It was in this chamber that Louis XIV lunched en petit couvert (in relative privacy) and the ceremonies of the King’s rising and retiring took place every day. It was likewise in this chamber that Louis XIV died on September 1, 1715 after reigning for 72 years.

Versailles King's Chamber

Versailles King's Chamber Louis XIV Statue

The Council Study

This did not take on its present form until 1755, under Louis XV, when it was created by combining two rooms, the King’s Study where Louis XIV held his ministerial councils for financial and state matters and the Terms Study, a more intimate room to which Louis XIV retired with his family or inner circle in the evenings after supper.

Versailles Council Study

The Queen’s Grand Apartments:

The Queen’s Chamber

The chamber is the main room of the apartment, the one where the Queen spent most of her time.

Versailles Queen's Chamber
“Pillow talk” came from the time when the queen + friends would chill on their beds, draw the curtains (to keep warm), and chat.

The antechamber of the Grand Couvert

It was in the Queen’s antechamber that the public meals were held, whose sumptuous ritual attracted a large crowd.

Versailles Queen's Apartment antechamber of the Grand Couvert

Versailles Queen's Apartment antechamber of the Grand Couvert

And finally, what we’ve all been looking forward to:

The Hall of Mirrors:

War Salon

The decoration, completed by Le Brun in 1686, glorifies the military victories that led to the Peace of Nijmegen.

war salon louis xiv statue
“Triumph of Louis XIV” – Antoine Coysevox

war salon Versailles

The Hall of Mirrors

The Grand Gallery (La Grande Galerie) was used daily by courtiers and visitors for passing through, waiting and for meeting people. It was only used for ceremonies on exceptional occasions, when sovereigns wanted to lend splendour to diplomatic receptions, or distractions (balls or games) on the occasion of princely weddings.

Versailles Hall of Mirrors

hall of mirrors Versailles

hall of mirrors Versailles
Economic prosperity is demonstrated by the 357 mirrors that decorate the seventeen arches opposite the windows, attesting that the new French production of mirrors, which at the time were luxury objects, is capable of stealing the monopoly away from Venice.

hall of mirrors Versailles

Despite the number of pictures I took, it’s nothing compared to the many more I would have taken if I saw all of the rooms in the palace! I feel like I barely made a dent after seeing just how many more there’s left to see on the website. Furthermore, a lot of the display is a mere copy of the original because the palace was plundered during the French Revolution. I can only imagine what it must have been like, fully furnished and gilded in real gold, during the hey-day of Louis’s reign.

Palace of Versailles

Which room in Versailles is your favorite? Mine was obviously the Hall of Mirrors!

Thanks for reading!

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  • Kim

    Wasn’t it dazzling? I loved the Hall of Mirrors, but I also really liked the chapel. I think if you wanted to see everything at the Versailles it would take the entire day, and maybe not even then!

    • Ah, I didn’t get to see the chapel very clearly but I saw your picture of it! I agree, Versailles is so amazingly huge that it’d take a couple of days to see it all. Not to mention the gardens…

  • Awe I love Versailles! Some people aren’t fans but what’s not to like? We did have to stand in line fooorever though. Love the Halls of Mirrors but also love the gardens and Marie Antoinette’s Estate too!

    • So I’m super glad that I went as part of a tour group, because our group got in immediately since we had a tour scheduled. But that also meant I couldn’t just wander wherever I wanted…didn’t get to see Marie Antoinette’s Estate but Google pics show that it’s beautiful!

  • Excellent post, very thorough, and a wonderful asortment of images. Thanks!

    • Thank you! I was afraid that the photos were too much! I definitely went snap-happy in there…

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