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Versailles

Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Yvelines

Versailles - Tourism, holidays & weekends guide in the Yvelines
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20 kilometres away from Paris, the town of Versailles is world-famous for its Palace, real masterpiece of classic architecture. But Versailles offers many other opportunities to visitors along its streets and avenues. Built in the 17th century straight along from the Palace, the royal town has kept much evidence of its past as illustrated by the numerous mansions, the picturesque Saint-Louis district and the religious buildings, such as the Notre-Dame church and the Saint-Louis cathedral.

The town centre is particularly attractive, with its shops, its restaurants and cafés, and its renowned market, which takes place every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday morning on the Marché Notre-Dame square.

Besides the prestigious Palace of Versailles and its wonderful park, you should not miss visiting the King's Kitchen Garden (Potager du Roi) in the Palace grounds, the Grand Stables built by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, and the Lambinet museum for its collections of paintings, sculptures, ceramics and period furniture.

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Versailles

Located twenty kilometers from Paris, in the heart of Yvelines, the town of Versailles has a worldwide reputation. Bordering the Hauts-de-Seine, it takes place on the outskirts of Vaucresson, Marnes-la-Coquette or Saint-Cyr-l'Ecole.

New city created by the great Sun King, Louis XIV, Versailles was however already populated in the Gallo-Roman era as evidenced by the remains found on the spot. This ancient medieval village flourishes in the 17th century, endowed with its most beautiful attribute, the famous castle of Versailles. Former seat of political power, the city was the cradle of the French Revolution in the eighteenth century. It is thus illustrated twice in history, including the signing of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, marking the end of the American War of Independence, and then with the Treaty of Versailles which marks the end of the First World War.

Particularly touristy today, the Ile-de-France city attracts millions of people from all over the world who want to discover its most famous treasures, but also its elegant and charming architecture.

Things to see and do

Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and listed as a Historical Monument, the Versailles is the largest tourist site in the city. It includes the famous castle, exceptional gardens, the small and large Trianon, or the Hameau de la Reine. Residence of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI, the castle of Versailles impresses with its size and grace. Spread over more than 63,000 m², it bears witness to the French art of its time. It is possible today to admire the apartments of the king and queen, the famous Hall of Mirrors, the apartments of the Dauphin and the Dauphine, or the gallery of Battles. Work of André Le Nôtre, the gardens are divided into delicious groves rich in surprises and statuary. The fountains that made the reputation of the site still flow to the delight of visitors. Dependence of the small Trianon, the Hamlet of the Queen seduced by its simplicity in nature. Haven of peace of Queen Marie Antoinette, it reveals a more rustic decor.

The domain of Versailles also consists of buildings scattered in the city like the Grand Commun, a work of Jules Hardouin-Mansart which today houses the administrative services of the castle, the Great Stable with its museum of coaches, the small stable which houses the National School of Architecture Versailles, the stables of the Queen who host the Court of Appeal, or the police and the chamber of commerce.

Also the work of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the Saint-Louis cathedral was inaugurated in the middle of the 18th century and erected into a cathedral a few decades later. Listed as a Historic Monument, it has a beautiful facade adorned with Doric and Corinthian columns, as well as two campaniles. Inside, you can admire a style in honor of Louis XV, a great simplicity.

The royal chapel of the early eighteenth century with its vaulted paintings of Antoine Coypel is also worth a visit, as the former royal hospital of Versailles, the chapel of the Immaculate Conception, or the chapel Notre-Dame-des -Armées.

Do not miss to admire the Notre-Dame-de-l'Espérance chapel, the Récollets convent, the Saint-Symphorien church, the Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc church or the Notre-Dame church., the oldest of the town and the work of Jules Hardouin-Mansart.

Several monumental statues paying tribute to the greatest men of Versailles are also located on the town like those of Le Nôtre, Hardouin-Mansart, Louis XIV or Ferdinand de Lesseps.

The museums are also very present with that of history of France inside the castle of Versailles, the room of the Jeu de Paume, the Lambinet museum and its collections evoking the history of the city, or the osmotheque, museum located inside the International Higher Institute of Perfume, Cosmetics, and Food Aromatic.

The green spaces abound on the former royal commune, and it is possible to admire the vegetable garden of the King classified Historical Monuments with its nine hectares, Park Balbi, a park also classified English, or the orangery and the domain of Madame Elisabeth. The city has also been awarded four flowers in the contest of towns and villages in France.

Leisure activities

Last nameActivity typeRateCity
Horse-drawn Carriage Ride of Versailles
Entertainment23 € Versailles
Guided Tour of Versailles: The Royal City
Culture and education10 € Versailles

Places of interest

Information points
Leisure centres
Monuments
Natural sites
Performance halls
Transport

Events and festivities

The markets are held on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays in the morning. A very famous Christmas market is also proposed in December with various animations.

At the end of June, La Grande Ambulation is a festive rendezvous that sees the pedestrianization of the departmental road 10 between the castle and Saint-Cyr. On the program, more than 25,000 walkers, rollerbladers, or scooters enjoy fanfares, sports and musical entertainment or the grand parade.

Every summer, it is possible to admire the great waters in music at the castle of Versailles. The event is part of the Versailles Festival, which also offers a show of fire and light, concerts of classical music, Galantes Festivals, the costume ball, or even operas.

From October to November, place at the funfair of Versailles.

The Great Night Waters

Photos

Basin of Apollo before the castle Versailles
Basin of Apollo before the castle Versailles
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Visits, leisure and activities nearby

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