The Palace of Versailles is the pride and joy of France. It’s grand, excessive, and fit for a King and Queen (that is, King Louis XIII, Louis XV, and Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette). As usual, when I’m in another house, or palace, I mentally rearrange the furniture, nitpick at the decor, and picture myself living in this new space. Versailles is one of the most marvelous, extravagant places you could ever live, but here are 10 reasons why I would never live here.
Despite the 700 rooms, which would nicely hold all my personal guests- friends, family, and various couch surfers- I would not like having to push my way through my own house every day. With over 3 million visitors each year and long lines forming early in the morning, I would feel like an overwhelmed host on more days than not.
Versailles lacks modesty, obviously. Nothing says “I’m richer than you” like a gilded, wrought iron gate, ornate gold roofing, and detailed, gold window balconies. The “less is more” philosophy certainly isn’t alive here, as evidenced by the excess of gold and statue-happy walls.
Frightening floral patterns along with fringe, tassels, feathers, and velvet overwhelm almost every room. It’s just so… 17th century.
Bright green damask wallpaper…. just, no. The faux marble panelling underneath doesn’t help the cause. This room would need to be redone immediately.
When your ceilings are covered with murals in warm, rich tones, you walk through the whole house looking up. At least I would! That means serious neck aches. Plus, chances are high that while you’re walking around admiring your gold crown molding, you’ll stub your toe on the foot of a gold-plated piece of furniture.
One chandelier in a room is tasteful; it becomes the center of attention and often pulls the room together. But 5 rows of over 50 chandeliers? Out of control. Not to mention, the sunlight pouring in through the beautifully arched windows bounces off all the crystals hanging from the chandeliers, which just isn’t ideal- nobody should have to wear sunglasses in their own home.
The poor trees in the gardens have been manicured so fiercely they fail to look natural. Hello, perfect little green gumdrops trees from a fantasy land. The Parterre looks equally whimsical.
As if there’s not enough walking required to get through the palace (there’s over 700,000 square feet of floor space), walking through the gardens to get to the Grand Canal (where I would take a boat ride and feed the swans) takes about 20 minutes. A walk from the palace to Marie’s Estate, which is about 1.5 km away- now that’s another story…. there would definitely need to be golf cart involved.
In the dark of the night, when all the visitors are gone, I can’t imagine having to walk down these huge, statue-lined hallways without freaking myself out a bit. The shadows of statues may play tricks with the mind…
Who in the WORLD needs this much space? Versailles is Europe’s largest château and holds the Wikipedia title of “Worlds Largest Royal Domain” coming in at 87,728,720 square feet or an astounding 2,014 acres, gardens included (god, I would hope so). I would never, ever want to own this much of anything.
Versailles is arguably an icon of monstrous greed, of wealth and royalty taken too far. It is both exemplary and abominable in its extravagance; I was in simultaneous awe and disgust for my entire visit. If you’re in Paris, I wouldn’t miss it. It’s an incredible standing piece of French architecture with a valid, poignant history.
From Paris, take a half hour ride on the RER C, and get off at Versailles Château- Rive Gauche Station. Right across from the train station, I bought the Versailles Passport ticket, which includes admission to every part of the palace, including the gardens and Marie Antoinette’s Estate. (Although, just the palace ticket would have been plenty for 1 day.)Pay 25€, and follow the herd to the golden gates!