Viking River Cruise: Versailles
The Viking Spirit arrived in Conflans at 11:30PM, so when we woke up, we were already moored. Our tour today was the Palace at Versailles, which departed at 8AM - other passengers opted for shopping in Conflans.
We initially stayed with the Viking Tour Group, however due to the immense crowd that day and because the group was moving so slowly, we split away and took the grandparents on our own tour. We were able to move more quickly through the Palace, and then we visited the Trianon area and the immense gardens.
Versailles Facts & some History:
- The site of the Palace was first occupied by a small village and church, surrounded by forests filled with abundant game. It was owned by the Gondi family and the priory of Saint Julian. King Henry IV went hunting there in 1589, and returned in 1604 and 1609, staying in the village inn. His son, the future Louis XIII, came on his own hunting trip there in 1607.
- After he became King in 1610, Louis XIII returned to the village, bought some land, and in 1623-24 built a modest two-story hunting lodge on the site of the current marble courtyard.
- The palace was largely completed by the death of Louis XIV in 1715.
- The eastern facing palace has a U-shaped layout, with the corps de logis and symmetrical advancing secondary wings terminating with the Dufour Pavilion on the south and the Gabriel Pavilion to the north, creating an expansive cour d'honneur known as the Royal Court (Cour Royale).
- Flanking the Royal Court are two enormous asymmetrical wings that result in a facade of 402 metres (1,319 ft) in length.
- Encompassing 67,000 square metres (721,182 sq ft) the palace has 700 rooms, more than 2,000 windows, 1,250 fireplaces and 67 staircases.
- Versailles covers 2,014 acres, including 230 acres of gardens.
- The palace is a Monument historique and UNESCO World Heritage site.
- In 2017 the Palace of Versailles received 7,700,000 visitors, making it the second-most visited monument in the Île-de-France region, just behind the Louvre and ahead of the Eiffel Tower.
Versailles Hall of Mirrors ('Galerie des Glaces')
This picture is of the famous "Hall of Mirrors", where the World War One conclusion treaty was signed.
Imagine, if you will, that Louis XVI actually lived in this incredible Palace!
This is the most famous room in the Palace, and it was built to replace a large terrace designed by the architect Louis Le Vau, which opened onto the garden. The terrace originally stood between the King’s Apartments to the north and the Queen’s to the south, but was awkward and above all exposed to bad weather, and it was not long before the decision was made to demolish it. Le Vau’s successor, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, produced a more suitable design that replaced the terrace with a large gallery. Work started in 1678 and ended in 1684.
Versailles Royal Family Residence
This picture gives you a much better view of the Royal Family residence building. The building on the right side of this image is the Royal Chapel, the tallest building of the Palace where the royals prayed. Didn't seem to work too well for them, as they were both beheaded during the French Revolution.
Salon of Mars
The Salon of Mars was originally meant to be used for the guards which is why the room was dedicated to Mars, the god of war. Due to its position it was natural that the Salon of Mars should also be included in the evening soirées. During these occasions it was used as a ballroom where there would be played music and danced. There used to be two canopies on either side of the fireplace that were intended for the musicians. This particular salon is rich with paintings and portraits.
Salon of Venus
This salon was used for serving light meals during evening receptions. The principal feature in this room is Jean Warin's life-size statue of Louis XIV in the costume of a Roman emperor. On the ceiling in a gilded oval frame is another painting by Houasse, Venus subjugating the Gods and Powers (1672-1681). Optical illusion paintings and sculptures around the ceiling illustrate mythological themes.
- The Viking Paris & the Heart of Normandy Overview & Guide Our Viking River Cruise from Paris to Rouen, with various ports of call, click here to read more.
- Day One in Paris The first day in Paris was a bus tour to some of the world famous locations, click here to read more.
- Vernon, France The town of Vernon is home to the famous artist Monet, click here to read more.
- Day Four on the River The shoreline along the Seine is beautiful, and we passed the Viking Neptune returning to Paris, click here to read more.
- Rouen, France Since the Viking Spirit arrived in Rouen at mid-day, we had free time the remainder of the day to explore. Very walkable and historic and we had a fantastic dinner there. click here to read more.
- Tour of the WW2 Invasion Beaches This day trip tour was very interesting to me, and if you are a history buff, this tour would be in your wheel-house, click here to read more.
- Les Andelys, France Quaint little village with a historic castle high above the village and the Seine River. click here to read more.
- Versailles, France The Palace of Versailles is a beautiful and historical site, and we enjoyed the tour. Click here to read more.
- Paris, France The Viking Spirit arrived back in Paris at 7PM, so we headed off to have a nice dinner ashore and show my in-laws some additional Paris sites, click here to read more.
- Our Thoughts on Viking River Cruises Our perspective on Viking River Cruises, plus a few pros & cons to consider. Click here to read more.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are Affiliate Links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, that we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. So we would appreciate any click throughs, if you are inclined.
Note: All images on this page are the property of Just Traveling Thru, LLC unless otherwise noted.