Versailles...visualize this...this should make you all smile

Bonjour!

So, someone posted they didn't like Versailles in the overrated museum thread...

it wasn't me, but I thought I would share with all of you that have been there ...Why I wasn't impressed by the grandeur I had heard about!

Read Thoroughly...

So I had read all about Versailles, heard stories of the wonder of Versailles. Saw breathtaking pictures I was soooo looking forward to this side trip!

I arrive May 2004...as I'm making my way to the Hall of Mirrors I hear my mom muttering(who has been here before) ..oh dear, oh dear ....

what do I see...as I enter the "Hall of Mirrors"

no statues, no mirrors, just wooden subflooring all over the famous floor and low and behold hanging from ceiling not the beautiful chandileers BUT $7.00 Home Depot Aluminum shop lamps!

let me re itinerate...no floor, no mirrors, no statues, no chandleirs, AND a cover for the cieling!

Yes, folks...the word any tourist dreads besides the word strike...is RENOVATION!!!!!

no where, anywhere in any literature did it say the Hall of Mirrors was under construction...

anyway, that's my experience with Versailles and to top it off the fountains weren't working and even though it was spring (a freezing spring) not a flower in sight...

I know..... I need to go back!

Posted by BG
Albany, CA, USA
1409 posts

Gee it's too bad about your experience, but I have known the Hall of Mirrors was under construction for a couple of years. Several websites have mentioned it, and I believe the official one for the Palace had this information. I informed friends who were going to Paris during the renovation to not go there. I also knew when it re-opened recently - have to keep on top of things!

Posted by isailtheseas
nolongeravailable
102 posts

ahhh thanks BG,

i'm not a newbie traveler I do my homework thoroughly and I certainly keep on top of these things....

this experience was 4 years ago and I can assure you at that time no one said the actual Hall of Mirrors was under renovation. Not even at the ticket counter, not on the website and not in Rick Steves book

AND yes I heard it was all put back together....It reopened in 2007 after undergoing a 3 year renovation..perhaps they tore the Hall of Mirrors apart earlier in 2004 than they expected and failed to notify all channels!

Posted by BG
Albany, CA, USA
1409 posts

OK -- I heard about the renovations after 2004, for sure. Must have been an emergency thing!?

Posted by isailtheseas
nolongeravailable
102 posts

whatever it was...the hall was horrible...

The exact date escapes me, but it would have been between May 1 and May 8

it's not like I wont ever go back, but I thought it was interesting to share the story as you just never know...

it's all about going with the flow anyway, our 45 days had only a 2 or 3 glitches and Versaille was one of them!!!

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7820 posts

I was at Versailles in August 05, and July 07, and both times the hall of mirrors had some tarping and scaffolding up,, but I could still clearly see enough of the hall to imagine how grand it was, frankly it was the "sea of heads" that ruined the view more then anything else, and there is nothing one could do about that.

Anyways, I didn't just go for one thing, I went for the whole experience, and , it was my third and fourth time , LOL.

I also ended up at St Chapelle when the altar and altar wall was completely covered, shame, but it didn't ruin my visit.

I do agree that going to Versailles is nicest May- Sept ,. when gardens look their best and weather is decent.

Posted by Denise
spokane
46 posts

The Hall of Mirrors was partially covered when we were there in June 2006, but we felt the visit was still really worth it. Just seeing the opulence, and hearing "the story" again was worth the price. And if going inside isn't your thing, the walk out to the farm is worth your time....even in 90+ degrees! We had also read Rick's tip about buying our tickets into the palace at the train station...it was cheaper, and we got to go in a side entrance, and avoid the blocks long tickets line at the palace.

Posted by Neil
Lake Forest Park, WA, USA
364 posts

The Hall of Mirrors was unavailable for viewing in July 2006 also. But that wasn't the most memorable part of the visit on a very, very hot day. Evidently all of the bathrooms were out of order. Did I say "all?" Wait, I misspoke...there was an operating WC at the food service kiosk/cafe a frog march away from the chateau. With some VERY long lines of people assuming frantic visages.

Sans context, I will say this..if you are ever at Versailles especially on a hot day, take advantage of the golf carts. You can't possibly cover very much of the substantial property without one, and if you have kids it's a fun thing to do.

On the subject of "renovation", nothing can top Rome in summer of 2007. The entire city was covered with scaffolding. Meh.

Posted by Iain
Edmonton, AB, Canada
668 posts

We had a similar experience in August 2005, BUT we knew ahead of time, I don't remember now where we got teh information. We did not now that the fountains only work on certain days. Renovations happen all over Europe. It is better that they do that than let history decay. They do not knock buildings down and replace them with concrete and glass like we do in North America.

On teh same trip we found the astronomical clock in Prague, St. Stephens in Vienna, the clock tower in Venice and I am sure other places, all under the wrap of renovations. As rick says, plan to return!

Iain

Posted by Sarah
Hays, Kansas, USA
16 posts

This happened to me also! I was there in April of 2004. the morning we went we waited 2 hours outside Versailles in line-- there was an electricity strike. My friend and I almost gave up but right before we left they let everyone in. I was very disappointed that we didn't get to see the Hall of Mirrors in full glory... ugly floors... extension cords....
And then to top it off we were told that our pass didn't allow us to enter the gardens. We were on a very tight budget and couldn't afford to pay extra to get in, so all in all, it was a disappointing trip!