A trip back in time, today we set off for a half day tour of Versailles. From the moment you walk up to the Gold entrance gate and peer into the courtyard beyond you can sense what life must have been like for inhabitants of Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV.
Versailles has a history dating back as far as A.D. 1038. In 1561, Martial de Loménie, secretary of state for finances under King Charles IX, became lord of Versailles. When Loménie was murdered in 1517 during the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, Albert de Gondi, a man from Florence who had come to France along with Catherine de' Medici, bought the seigneur of Versailles.
Versailles remained in the Gondi family who were wealthy and influential parliamentarians at the Parliament of Paris. King Louis XIII was invited by the Gondi’s many times throughout the 1610s to hunt in the large forests of Versailles. After acquiring a piece of woodland in Versailles (1622) for his personal hunting, the King decided to have a small “gentlemen’s Chateau” built (1624).
After obtaining seigneur of Versailles from the Gondi family in 1632, enlargement of the castle commenced, lasting until 1634. Versailles had a population of 1,000 inhabitants, at King Louis XIII death in 1643.
We only spent ½ day at Versailles, I would recommend a full day – as there were many parts of the grounds we did not have the time to explore. Although the crowds were less (as told to us by security staff) during our visit in late April, the flowers were not yet blooming in the gardens.
After our morning in Versailles we stopped for some lunch and much needed rest, before our visit to the Eiffel Tower. The views of Paris from the top of the tower are just breath taking.