Chateau of Versailles outside of Paris - July 2008

When we came to Paris in 1999 we took a guided tour to Versailles but the tour was relatively short and we missed seeing alot of Versailles. In 2006 when Susan came to Paris for the apartment hunting trip we went unaccompanied and spent most of the day on the grounds, but still did not see everything we wanted to. So we took one final trip to Versailles in July, saw a few things we had seen before, went to those areas we missed in our previous trips and then stayed into the night for a water fountain show.

In our 2006 trip to Versailles there was large construction equipment in the front of the chateau as they were in the midst of restoring the entrance and the gate. Now all of those trucks are gone and you can see the gate restored to its original glory.

As Louis XIV got older and his children, wife and mistresses died before he did, he turned more and more to religion. His private chapel was built in that era and even though we could not walk into it, you can see how beautiful it is.

The next ten pictures are from the Grand Dauphin and Dauphine's apartments. The Grand Dauphin was the eldest son of Louis XIV and was in line to be his heir but he died a few years before his father so the next king was actually his grandson.

In one of the main rooms of the chateau there is a large room containing a huge picture on the wall, you can see how large it is when you compare the size of the people to the painting, they are dwarfed by it. Not only do you have the huge painting in the room, but the ceiling is completely covered in an elaborate painting as well.

Susan really likes this room as it has lots of beautiful red marble, gold trim on the doors and the large statue of Louis XIV in the middle.

The famous Hall of Mirrors is quite an attraction and it is hard to get a picture without it being filled with people. In the 1600's mirrors were very expensive and to have a room over 200 feet long filled with mirrors was an extravagance. The Hall of Mirrors is also famous for being the site where the treaty ending WWI was signed.

Versailles as seen from the gardens. While we do not have a good picture of the Versailles gardens, they are potentially even more beautiful and impressive than the chateau itself.

There are a number of water fountains in the gardens, this is one of the larger ones.

The Grand Trianon is still on the grounds of Versailles but perhaps a mile or so away from the chateau. It was built in the late 1600's as a sort of refuge for Louis XIV where he could get away from the hectic life at court.

Not far from the Grand Trianon is the "Queen's Hamlet", a group of buildings that represented a small village where Marie Antoinette could pretend to be a simple farm girl with her attendants.

During the summer at Versailles they have different types of shows. We went on a day where they have all of the fountains turned on in the evening and then follow that up with fireworks. At the beginning of the show there are bubble machines that spew bubbles throughout the gardens.

Tom is standing in fron of one of the fountains right at the beginning of the show.

The gardens behind Versailles not only have flowers, plants and fountains but they also have numerous statues. A particularly attractive statue is shown here, made even nicer by the lights shining on it.

Obviously a bit darker here as this was near the end of the show but this gives you a sense of what we saw for much of the night of the show.