Versailles

Regional Overview

At the Center of the Universe

The great French King Louis XIV styled himself as the “Sun King” around which the entire universe orbited. As he immensely disliked Paris, he moved the official administrative capital of the French Kingdom to the Palace of Versailles. For the duration of his reign, Versailles was the center of Europe, not just the city but the entire region, which swelled with palaces and noble estates.

Regional Identity

What to Lookout For

  • The Palaces of the Sun King and his court, e.g. Versailles, Trianon, Saint-Germain-en-Lay, Saint-Cloud, Maisons, Asnières, and Beauregard 
  • The Gardens of Versailles, Trianon, and Marly, some of the best preserved of their style in Europe
  • Medieval centers of power of the old Mantois and Hurepoix regions, e.g., Dourdon and Dreux

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Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel

What is Versailles Region?

Versailles was never an official region per se, but I ascribe to it the ancient regions of Mantois and Hurepoix. Together, they form the southwestern arc of Paris and, aside from the urban sprawl along the Seine, create a heavily forested region scattered with Palaces and villages.

The ancient capital of the Mantois region, Mantes, did not survive the 20th century. However, Dreux served briefly as the center of a minor vassal state under the Counts of Blois and later the French Kings, and it has an old town representing the region. Likewise, Hurepoix is more urban than Mantois, but its ancient capital, Dourdon, survives, even with its medieval castle.

The region’s highlight is the endless count of palaces from almost every century. The most famous are those of Versailles and Trianon. However, it also includes the Palace of Saint Germain, in which Louis XIV was born, and the remains of his favorite palace, Saint Cloud. Though other palaces, such as Fontainbleau, have more exciting interiors, the gardens of Versailles and Trianon are without peer in Europe.

My Subjective Travel Rankings

To understand where the categories come from, see this article here.

9 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Accommodation: 10
  • Transportation: 10
  • Volume/Capacity: 6
  • Infrastructure: 9
  • Interactivity: 10

9 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Context: 7
  • Monuments: 10
  • Quality: 10

5 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Abstraction: 5
  • Tradition: 5

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