When Louis XIV set the architect Louis Le Vau, artist and decorator Charles Le Brun, and landscape architect Andre Le Notre to work on creating the Chateau de Versailles, he had a multitude of purposes. Not least was simultaneously impressing and imprisoning, in a gilded cage, the nobility that gave him such a fright when he was a child living at the Palais Royal in Paris.
This private Versailles tour not only takes you to see the chateau and park that he created, in all their glory, it also provides insights into the psychology that created them. From hunting lodge to the site of the most spectacular festivities, Versailles for over a century was the measure of power and luxury for the entire world, and the Sun King meant it that way.
When we tour Versailles, we suggest starting with a visit at the Palais Royal in Paris, where an attempt to assassinate the royal family set in motion the thought processes that resulted in the construction of the royal chateau in Versailles. Since it is on the way, we then drive through the Parc de St. Cloud, site of another royal chateau, also designed by the same landscape architect, Andre Le Notre. There you will see swathes of the primeval Rouvray Forest that travelers rode through when Versailles was first created, giving you an idea of what travel to Versailles was like in the 17th century.
During the drive, your private guide will explain how Louis XIV wove together many strands of different purposes to create the chateau. Our clients thereby understand what the Chateau de Versailles was all about, before they even see it. When we arrive at the opening, our Versailles tour party enters the chateau using the priority entrance tickets we have procured in advance to beat the dense crowds of other visitors that eventually fill up the chateau to the point of making an enjoyable visit impossible.
We will then take our Versailles tour party through the Royal Chapel and the State Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, and the Apartment of Louis XIV, explaining the function of each, and relating key events that took place in them. The Apartment of the Queens is currently closed for redecoration and will reopen near the end of 2017.
We then take you into the gardens, an essential part of life at the chateau. Our private guided tour will also evoke the decadence of the reign of Louis XV and bring to light how Louis XVI unwittingly scuttled everything that his great, great grandfather had tried to achieve with his creation of the chateau.
After visiting the chateau and gardens we suggest taking a break for lunch at one of our favorite brasseries in all of France, quite near the chateau. Following lunch, we will drive into the park and explore the Grand Canal, Grand Trianon and finally enter the Domain of Marie Antoinette, where her detachment from reality finally put paid Louis XIV’s grand scheme for governing France. The Domaine of Marie Antoinette consists of the Petit Trianon Palace, her English gardens, her theater and her Norman Village.
When you choose Paris Luxury Tours to tour Versailles, we provide an expert guide who is a university-trained specialist in the history and culture of France, and who also has expert knowledge of the reigns of Louis XIV, XV and XVI, as well as the life of Marie Antoinette. More important, our guide shares with you the myriad fascinating quirks of personality of these figures, who defined the history of one of the most important countries in Europe and Europe itself. Our guides speak English as natural first language and they are expert drivers, who drive you safely and comfortably in upscale vehicles.
It is possible to limit your tour of the Chateau de Versailles to just the chateau, to make time available to see something else, such as the Chateau at Vaux le Vicomte, which preceded Versailles (and provoked it). Or you can pair Versailles with something unrelated, such as Claude Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny, or the Notre Dame Cathedral in Chartres.
However there is more than enough to fill an enjoyable day of touring in Versailles, and we consider the Domaine of Marie Antoinette (which requires a whole day tour to include), almost as compelling as the chateau itself. We therefore recommend the full day tour.
For more information or to tour Versailles, please contact us at our US number (631) 600-1120.