The Palace (or 'Chateau') of Versailles is a theatre with a long and rich history, nestled close to the heart of Paris, France. Construction first began in 1623 by Louis XIII and the opulent structure was used first as a hunting lodge, though it later became the heart of political power for all France. It currently covers 67,000 square meters worth of space (approximately 721,182 square feet) and is nowadays used to present plays, operas and ballet performances by companies from all over the world. One of the most famous events, the Versailles Festival, takes place in the palace once each year between May and July and is an absolutely must for all lovers of high art and culture!
Versailles or Bust
Each year, the Versailles Festival offers a range of productions, ranging from orchestral performances, ballet recitals by some of the most prominent dancers of our age and operatic shows. The Versailles Festival attracts only the highest caliber of musician, artist and performer and they come from all over the world to perform.
This year the Versailles Festival will feature composers such as Handel, Bach and Charpentler as part of Les Voix Royales (The Royal Voices). Also available are tickets to the Orangerie Nights (Les Nuits de L'Orangerie), where performances are set against the impressive and unforgettable architecture of the palace in the open air. Performances include the famous Royal Fireworks as well as several operatic and balletic shows. Finally, for all those who would like to get a little more involved, there are the Fêtes Galantes, in which guests can spend an evening in the Hall of Mirrors in full fancy dress. This is one of the most famous events in the Versailles Festival and firm favorite among regulars.
Visiting the Palace of Versailles
While visiting the palace of Versailles, there are plenty of things to do before and after performances. Not only is it one of the most romantic cities in the entire world right at your doorstep, but there are also the perfectly maintained Gardens of Versailles that are easily accessible and reasonably priced for entry. This garden is one of the finest examples still open to the public of a garden arranged and maintained in the traditional French style. The interior of the palace, too, is lavishly decorated, with sumptuous furniture and rooms completely gilded with rich gold. Several hundred years of some of the most fascinating history is contained within the walls of the palace, and it is worth leaving enough time to explore it fully.
To get the most out of your time in France visiting the Palace of Versailles, make sure to book your Paris rental car well in advance to get the best price and avoid disappointment. Although there are a huge number of events that run for the two months of the festival, some are certainly more popular than others and the busy season for tourism makes securing your reservations ahead of time imperative. It is also advisable to book the rest of your trip around events at the festival to ensure that you can fit in things to do in Paris as well as tours around the Palace itself while not missing out on any of the events or shows that you intend to see.