© 2011 Kim The Hall of Mirrors connects the War Drawing Room and Peace Drawing Room.

Day 2: Château de Versailles & Arc de Triomphe

The morning of our second day in Paris we realized that we had visited several major landmarks the day before, and wondered if we were within reach of Versailles. We had visited many castles recently that were modeled after Versailles and we were so close. We had to go check it out, but was there enough time? We had seen it on the train map on Saturday, so I did a little research courtesy of our in-room Wi-Fi. I discovered it was 30-45 minutes by train and that admission to Versailles is free on the first Sunday of the month during the winter season. And, guess what day it was? First Sunday!!

Versailles was originally a hunting lodge and garden for King Louis the XIII (1601-1643). King Louis XIII was married to Anne of Austria. King Louis XIV (1638-1715) was married to Maria-Theresa of Spain and was the creator of the elaborate palace grounds you can tour today. He expanded the original hunting lodge to double its size while adding many more buildings. He wanted it to represent the power and symbol of absolute monarchy. In 1682, King Louis XIV declared Versailles the official residence of the Court and seat of the government. Just to put into perspective how massive Versailles is: there are 2,153 windows, 700 rooms, 67 staircases, 200,000 trees, and 11 hectacres of roofing. One interesting fact about Versailles was that everything entered through one main axis through the very center of the royal palace. You may associate Versailles with Marie-Antoinette and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. This all occurred a bit later in history. Marie-Antoinette was married to King Louis XVI during which the signing of the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1783, acknowledging the independence of the United States of America.

So, we hopped on the Metro to Château de Versailles!

After our visit to Versailles, we headed back to the hotel to get our luggage but the sightseeing is not over just yet. With luggage in hand, our very last stop was the Arc de Triomphe. Napoleon ordered the building of the memorial to the Grand Army in 1806. It is decorated with bas-reliefs that represent significant victories under Napoleon. It took 30 years to build and is larger then the Arch of Constantine in Rome. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was added in 1920.

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