VERSAILLES – www.versailles-tourisme.com
Louis XIV had a vision and, of course, the royal wherewithal to transform a hunting lodge into France’s most incredible palace and gardens, official residence of the kings of France from 1682 until the 1789 Revolution. The artistic riches, exceptional gardens, famous collections and smaller palaces, like Queen Marie-Antoinette’s Petit Trianon, are like fantasy come true. Even beyond the splendor of the Sun King’s accomplishment – a long-time UNESCO World Heritage Site – the pomp and ceremony of the city are a treat, such as the nearby forests and the vast vegetable gardens used to fill the monarchs' banquet tables.
Because of the Château de Versailles, the town of Versailles was the capital of France from Louis XIV's reign until the French Revolution.
In history, Versailles is known as a place where important treaties were signed, such as the Treaty of Paris (1783), which ended the American Revolutionary War, and the Treaty of Versailles, after World War I.
Palais de Versailles: the opulent ensemble that includes the Palace of Versailles, the Trianon Palaces, Marie Antoinette’s Estate, André le Nôtre gardens and the park
Musée Lambinet: the museum of the city of Versailles, located in an 18th-century mansion
sweets fit for royalty: the kings and queens may be gone, but the types of macarons, biscuits and chocolates that filled their tables are available right in town
beer: look out for local beers brewed right in Yvelines, the département in which Versailles is located
Agnes Troublé: a fashion designer best known for her self-named brand, agnès b
Also in the Area
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres: considered the well-preserved high point of French Gothic art, especially the degree to which the architecture has been adapted to meet the needs of stained glass
Rambouillet: among other things, there is a castle with gardens, and the Espace Rambouillet, a nature park (guided tree and forest walks) in the heart of an extensive forest (espacerambouillet.fr)
Access from Paris
by road: about 30 min (13 miles)
by train: about 30 min
For more about what to see and do in and around Versailles, including on the “Design & Romance” itinerary, visit www.topfrenchcitybreaks.com