Versailles is a city in the department of the Yvelines, Île-de-France, renowned worldwide for the Château de Versailles and the gardens of Versailles, designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Located in the western suburbs of the French capital, 17.1 km (10.6 mi) from the centre of Paris, Versailles is in the 21st century a wealthy suburb of Paris with a service-based economy and a major tourist destination as well.
|Mayor (2020–2026)||François de Mazières (DVD)|
|Area1||26.18 km2 (10.11 sq mi)|
|Density||3,300/km2 (8,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+01:00 (CET)|
|Summer (DST)||UTC+02:00 (CEST)|
Versailles is historically known for numerous treaties such as the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution, and the Treaty of Versailles, after World War I.
The argument over the etymology of Versailles tends to privilege the Latin word versare, meaning “to keep turning, turn over and over”, an expression used in medieval times for plowed lands, cleared lands (lands that had been repeatedly “turned over”). This word formation is similar to Latin seminare (“to sow”) which gave French semailles (“sowings”, “sown seeds”).
Versailles is located 17.1 km (10.6 mi) west-southwest from the centre of Paris. The city sits on an elevated plateau, 130 to 140 metres (425 to 460 ft) above sea-level, surrounded by wooded hills: in the north the forests of Marly and Fausses-Reposes, and in the south the forests of Satory and Meudon.
Born out of the will of a king, the city has a rational and symmetrical grid of streets. By the standards of the 18th century, Versailles was a very modern European city. Versailles was used as a model for the building of Washington, D.C. by Pierre Charles L’Enfant.
Historic buildings are scattered in the west part of the town:
- Hôtel de Ville
- Cathédrale Saint-Louis, in the old Quartier Saint-Louis neighbourhood.
- Église Notre-Dame, rue de la Paroisse.
- Hôtel de la Préfecture, a nice façade across the town hall.
- The municipal Library
Versailles’ primary cultural attraction is the Palace, with its ornately decorated rooms and historic significance. The town also has other points of cultural notability; in recent times, its position as an affluent suburb of Paris has meant that it forms a part of the Paris artistic scene, and musical groups such as Phoenix, Air and Daft Punk have some link to the city, as does the director Michel Gondry.
Football Club de Versailles 78 is a semi-professional association football club founded in 1989. Their home stadium is the Stade de Montbauron, which has a capacity of 6,208 people.
The headquarters of the Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University are located in the city, as well as the ISIPCA, a post graduate school in perfume, cosmetics products and food flavor formulation.
Versailles itself (the town) has any number of good places to eat whilst visiting. Once you’ve made it into the palace grounds, it may be far more convenient to eat within rather than hiking back into town, before returning to the Palace. The grounds are also perfect for picnicking in warm and/or dry weather.
A number of options exist:
- Within the Château itself, there is an Angelina restaurant & snack bar near the Battles Gallery. Alternatively, there’s a Café at the entrance to the gardens, not far from the Cour des Princes.
- Within the Formal Gardens, there exists 2 informal restaurants, La Flotille and La Petite Venise, on Petite Venise (from the Château, head back directly through the Gardens to the start of the canal – Petite Venise and La Flotille can then be found to the right).
- Several kiosks serving snacks and fast food can be found in the Gardens (Bosquet du Dauphin & Bosquet de la Girandole), and the Petit Trianon.
Versailles is served by Versailles – Chantiers station.
Versailles is also served by two other stations on Paris RER line C: Versailles-Château–Rive-Gauche (the closest station to the Palace of Versailles and consequently the station most frequently used by tourists) and Porchefontaine.
Versailles is also served by two stations on the Transilien Paris – Saint-Lazare suburban rail line: Versailles-Rive-Droite and Montreuil.