Twelve miles southwest of Paris (as measured from the "Kilometer Zero " medallion in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral) is the Palace of Versailles - seat of French power since 1682. Begun as a hunting lodge in 1623 by Louis XIII, and after many embellishments, it soon became the symbol of the Absolute Monarchy in old France. Following the French Revolution, Versailles fell into disrepair until Napoleon began restoration efforts in 1810. Today, as the Museum of the History of France, it plays host to approximately five million visitors per year (five million and two once we arrived). Versailles is still used for State functions and joint sessions of the French Parliament. With all of the hoopla about how beautiful this palace is, we just had to pay a visit to see how we could have lived if only we had saved "a little more money." We have to say , Versailles lives up to its reputation. What an elegant place! Having visited several palaces during our adventures, we have to say that the European monarchs certainly knew how to live, especially when spending other people's money.
Even from a distance, Versailles is an impressive looking building.
How would you like to have this gate at the entrance to your driveway?
The central courtyard is bigger than many baseball stadiums.
Visitors to the Palace would wait in this reception room before being brought to see the Monarch.
In rooms that did not have frescoed ceilings, there were very elaborate ceiling panels.
The chapel within Versailles was more impressive than some cathedrals we had visited in other parts of Europe.
Wall paintings are huge!
The Salon de L'Abondance is an antechamber to the King's apartment.
Orginally used as a room for the King's Guards, the Mars Room became a ballroom for evening receptions.
Formerly a King's bedroom, the Apollo room became the Throne room.
Called the War Room, the Monarch and his/her advisors would plan strategies for waging war.
The Council Study is where day-to-day activities of the state were discussed.
The Queen's sitting room.
Some of the Monarchs were voracious readers as evidenced by the collections in their own libraries.
This bedroom for the Queen is fabulously decorated.
Perhaps the most famous room is the Hall of Mirrors.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.