Versailles Palace © Versailles
The Château de Versailles stands 15 miles (24km) southwest of Paris and is one of France's most noted attractions. Most of the palace was built between 1664 and 1715 by Louis XIV (known as the Sun King), who turned his father's hunting lodge into the grandest palace ever built. The 'Old Château' still exists but is enveloped by the vast white stone façade of the New Château. This lavish statement of monarchical power was to become a symbol of the excess that would lead to the revolution of 1789. Perhaps the most famous room in the palace is the Hall of Mirrors (Galerie des Glaces) where the Treaty of Versailles was signed, signifying the end of the Great War. Within the palace visitors can also see the former royal bedchambers, the grand staircase and other staterooms, and within the vast landscaped park and gardens are many wonderfully ornate fountains and ponds. There is a small train that ferries visitors from the palace to the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon, former love nests where both the Sun King and Napoleon enjoyed the company of their mistresses.
Telephone: (01) 3083 7800
Transport: Buses, trains and the metro all go to Versailles from Paris.
Opening times: April to October: Palace is closed on Mondays and open every other day from 9am to 6:30pm; Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate closed Mondays and open every other day from 12pm to 6:30pm; Gardens open daily 8am to 8:30pm; Park open daily 7am to 8:30pm. November to March: Palace is closed on Mondays and open every other day from 9am to 5:30pm; Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate closed Mondays and open every other day from 12pm to 5:30pm; Garden and Park open every day from 8am to 6pm.
Admission: There are a number of different ticket options. The Versailles Passport, allowing access to all areas, costs €18 (and €25 for a two-day pass); a ticket for just the palace costs €15 (€13 reduced).