FAVORITE SPOT 5
PALACE OF VERSAILLES
There are plenty of magnificent palaces in Europe but none of them can compete with the former home of Sun King Louis XIV. Prepare to be wowed as you move from room to room, each one grander than the last.
It may come as no surprise that the Hall of Mirrors is my Versailles highlight. Flooded with light, it almost stretches all the way along the front of the palace. 350 mirrors are combined to form 17 huge mirrored surfaces to match the number of windows. The ornate painted ceilings, crystal chandeliers and giant golden candlesticks will take your breath away. I can picture the extravagant parties that would have been held in this space, which must have also provided the perfect setting for the King to exert his power and conduct political negotiations. But it was long after his death that one of the most important political events in history took place here – the Treaty of Versailles was signed here in 1919.
The spectacular grounds are my second highlight. What could be more enjoyable than taking a leisurely stroll along the Allée Royale between the Latona Fountain and Apollo Fountain? There are two châteaus towards the back of the grounds, which gave the King and Queen somewhere to escape from the official courtly duties that awaited them inside the palace. The King took his mistresses to Le Grand Trianon, while le Petit Trianon was Marie Antoinette’s own safe haven.