Versailles Tour Guide

Versailles – the city, the historical center, the Palace Travel Guide, the opening hours, how to get there, what else to see in Versailles. Our author’s guide and background information on the palace and its surroundings.

The palace complex of Versailles on the historical map before the Second World War

The palace complex of Versailles on the historical map before the Second World War, transport, stations and streets (MB collection)

Located in the suburbs of Paris, Versailles is one of France’s top attractions. Ancient buildings, original architecture, monuments and main sights of Versailles – Palace and Garden.

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles (Author’s collection)

A visit to Versailles has become almost an “obligatory” element of the program for tourists coming to the country. Versailles is a symbol of royal luxury, a “prototype” of royal palaces for many countries of the world, including Tsarist Russia, a collection of works of art and architectural solutions. Versailles is also the history of state power, its Louis and revolutionaries, the love affairs of imperial persons and the place where military-political treaties were signed.

Versailles Palace guided private Tour from Paris

Versailles Palace guided private Tour from Paris by a car

Versailles City and surroundings

Versailles is a beautiful old city. Usually, tourists are immediately taken by bus to the palace complex, and the city itself remains “behind the scenes”🙂 By the standards of Ile de France, the city of Versailles (Versailles) itself is quite significant, it grew only at the royal residence and court. Its population initially consisted of the military, administrative workers, palace servants, merchants, workers and all those who wished to be closer to the royal court. The “Sun King” even built new premises for the administration – the “Palace of War”, the “Palace of Foreign Affairs” and the “Castle of the Navy”. Louis XIV, a few years after the start of the construction of the castle and the park, issues a decree on the sale of land and approves the plan for the development of the city, developed by the General Intendant of Buildings. Thus, Versailles from the very beginning had a clear urban architecture. The Armory Square (place d’Armes) served as the center, from which the rays went in different directions. The geometry of the city began to have a star shape. On the main street, Paris Avenue (avenue de Paris), opposite the palace, there are old stables.

Versailles Palace guided private Tour from Paris

City center, avenue of Paris. The Palace of Versailles is visible in the distance

This “avenue de Paris”, which can also be translated as “street from Paris”, runs through the City Hall. The City Hall building is very beautiful, it includes a palace and a memorial to the soldiers who died defending the (French) Fatherland in 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. Ancient houses and palaces built in the 17th – 18th centuries are located in all the streets of the Old Town, in the Saint-Louis quarter and in Notre-Dame.

The Cathedral of Saint-Louis was built in 1743-1754 by Mansart of Sagon (grandson of Jules Hardouin-Mansart). The interior contains many valuable statues by the sculptors Pradier and Frost, as well as paintings by Boucher, Dezay, Van Loo.
Of the attractions of this area of ​​the city, it is worth seeing the Saint-Louis market from the time of Louis XV himself, the garden of Louis XIV and the Balbi park.

Versailles city North historical map before WWII

The map of Versailles shows the main sights of the city according to the version of local residents. Look out for the churches, the old market and the train station in Paris.

Versailles city map before WWII

North Versailles city map before WWII (M.B. collection)

Quarter Notre Dame, the main attractions:
– Cathedral of Our Lady (Notre Dame) and the chapel built by Hardouin-Mansart in 1684
– the old Notre Dame market with preserved buildings
– Reservoir Street and its palace Madame de Pompadour (later Marcel Proust, Anatole France and Madame Noailles lived in this hotel)
– Palace and Museum of Lambine
– royal stables (stables of the Queen), built in 1674
– The Queen’s Monastery and other monasteries in the area

This is a corner of the real old France, but the tourists rarely come here. And for the real lovers of the history and WW1-WW2 war, we can combine a visit to the Palace of Versailles and this picturesque corner of the old city. To do this, at your request, we can change the route of the trip from the hotel to the palace through this northern district of Versailles, as well as tell you something interesting about the local objects.