Gardens of Versailles 101

family photo caos1This is a little glimpse into the reality of traveling with kids. Most of the time it looks like this, which is fine and can even be fun if you are outside in a 2000 acre garden. Versailles was a good way to kill a day in Paris. Especially with beautiful weather touring the palace was not a temptation. Even if you do not know all the history or hire a guild to walk around and teach you about Versailles, anyone can enjoy wandering around, renting little row boats, or having lunch at a cafe in the gardens (which are surprisingly good and priced very average). Visiting the gardens are free, so just visit and enjoy it. Heres the main things to know about the gardens of Versailles:

luis 13 statue at versailles

 Louis XIV/ Sun King

Since we had a guilded tour of Versaille I am now an expert. The statue just above is at the entrance before the golden gates. This dude is Louis the fourteenth. He inherited the thrown at the ripe ole age of FIVE and lived a long time~ 77 years. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest of any monarch of a major country in European history. He is the man responsible for the lavish palace and gardens of Versailles, the perfume industry in France and perhaps the beginning of the economic recession the eventually led to the French Revolution, quite a legacy. The most interesting thing I know about him is that he had only a handful of baths in his entire life, which probably explains the popularity of perfume.

9 million dollar reproduction fence

At Versaille everything that glitters IS REAL GOLD. There is gold leaf on the entrance gates and embellishing the central palace. This kind of lavish spending became a bit of a problem for starving peasants. During the French Revolution the people tore down the gates (probably cashed in some gold) and for many years there were no gates at all. About 10 years ago France approved construction for replica gates that cost about 8 million dollars! France brings in more money in tourism than any other country in the world so pouring some of it back into popular attractions is a good idea.

all the gold is real gold leaf

dragon fountain 2

dragon fountain 1

apollo rising fountain

Water Problems / fountains that are never on

Louis the 13th fancied him self the sun god apollo and so there are many beautiful sculptures sitting in pools of water. People say they are fountains depicting mythological scenes, especially showcasing the god Apollo. We never witnessed a single fountain turned on because they only turn them on a few times a week and I think you pay extra to see that, or click here to get the idea. At the time they were built the whole plumbing system what quite an engineering marvel, but even back then they never had enough water to activate them all at the same time. And the same pipes and infrastructure is still in place today.

this is what its like trying to do paris with kids

trees all in rows

French Garden Design/ Formal and Ordered

Versailles is full of great examples of classic French garden design. Formal, symmetrical, nature conforming to man.
winter fountain

summer fountain family

orangerie 1

The Orangerie is my favorite part of the garden.

I love the patterned lawns but also I imagine when the citrus trees are blooming the walk through the garden must smell so sweet!


orangerie 4

By the end of the day this is how we all felt.

this is how sophia felt at the end

part of versailes with arch
arch of versailles modern_classic

TIP: Snacking my kids through a long hike or a long day of walking and listening is my best strategy. Sometimes I bring chewy candy that keeps their mouths busy but I also make an effort to pack healthy snacks like nuts and squeeze fruit. These applesauces had funny faces that kept the kids amused for days, but I like them because they are portable and easy to pack.

axel and squeezy fruit faces

Heres a little video about our day at Versailles.