The Gardens of Versailles

When I went to Versailles, I had vague ideas of trying to see both the gardens and the palace in a one day visit. When I arrived, I found out that the Hall of Mirrors was closed for renovations. Since that is one of the main highlights of this place, I decided that I’d leave the palace for another time and focus on the gardens on this visit. That turned out to be the right choice, as believe it or not, it took much of the day to wander the gardens!

Versailles Gardens (1)

Versailles Gardens covers about 800 hectares – this place is huge. It is mostly done in “classic French Garden” style. Scrupulously manicured lawns and flower beds, a wide variety of sculptures, meandering paths, and giant fountains can be found everywhere. It was very easy to imagine Old World European royalty gossiping or liaising in a corner, bored lords and ladies listlessly wandering around, and the famous Marie-Antoinette thinking her cake thoughts. Even though I didn’t get the chance to see inside the palace, just seeing the outside of it and these gardens, it was amazingly easy to understand why the French Revolution happened. Though…it was also amazingly easy to wonder what it would have been like to have this be my life. There may have been a few “royal poses” photos taken… Versailles Gardens (17)

While there are thousands of people on the grounds no matter when you go visit, it isn’t hard to find a quiet corner in which to relax. But if you’re hoping to get a photo of the famous long view (lawns and fountains stretched out into the distance) without a mass of humanity, you’re pretty much outta luck. Especially if you’re going in the spring or summer, when the flowers are in bloom. But the number of people shouldn’t stop you from visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a beautiful place and well worth a visit. I suggest taking a lunch so that when you do find that quiet corner, you can enjoy a picnic – I’m sure King Louis XIV won’t mind. Have some cake* in Marie-Antoinette’s honour.

*Did you know that the phrase was mistranslated? It should be “Let them eat brioche”. Also, did you know it is very likely she never actually said this famous phrase? Slightly disappointing…

6 responses to “The Gardens of Versailles

  1. Your excellent photos give us a good idea of the scale and beauty of the gardens. When I look at enormous palaces I can’t help but wonder, “What did these people do all day?” We know they weren’t in there washing their own dishes or doing the laundry! I like your line about the French Revolution…

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