Welcome to the Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles), the home of the French royalty in the 17th and 18th centuries! It's only 12 miles away from the center of Paris, and is a "must see" place for any tourist. The palace is so huge that I decided to dedicate 3 blog posts to it. The 1st post (the one you're reading right now) is about what the Palace's architecture looks like on the outside. The 2nd post is about the Gardens of Versailles, and the 3rd post is about the Interior Apartments of the Palace of Versailles.
First, as you approach the Palace, you immediately see how enormous it is. It's impossible to take one picture that captures all of the Palace architecture all at once (unless it's an aerial photo from above). As you're approaching the main entrance, this is what some of the Palace looks like (it's a panoramic photo, you can click it to expand):
Here is another angle of the front entrance - this is also a panoramic photo, you can click on it to expand to see more detail:
Once you get closer to the buildings, everything gets quite impressive.
The Palace architecture is so beautiful, you can spend hours just walking outside and looking at all the intricate architectural detail on the outside of the Palace, including the golden fence and the golden gate, that are really the work of art, especially when looked at up close:
The golden trimmings are sparkling in the Sun:
Picking through the absolutely stunning golden fence, you get a glimpse of immense structures behind it:
There are also huge statues on both sides of the golden gate at the entrance:
Here is the exterior of Louis XIV's Baroque Chapel at Versailles - it's in the front, right by the entrance to the Palace:
Once you are inside the Palace, after some exploring you can get to the famous Marble Court that is actually right behind that golden fence and golden gate (remember we were picking through the golden gate earlier in this post?). But you can access the Marble Court only once you are inside the Palace.
On these photos you can see why it's called a Marble Court - the courtyard is paved with black and white marble in a pattern that in a way resembles a checker board or a chess board:
Here is a panoramic picture of the Marble Court - you can click on it to see more detail:
There is so much to see at the Palace of Versailles, you can spend a whole day there, and it would still not be enough. I want to come back and explore some more.