Paris to Versailles 8H

Your private English speaking guide and driver will meet you in the lobby of your hotel for a full day tour to Versailles.

A believer in the divine right of kings, Louis XIV wanted to move the court away from Paris to establish a centralized government that he would be able to control as an absolute monarch. In 1661, the king hired architect Louis Le Vau, landscape architect André Le Nôtre, and painter- decorator Charles Le Brun. He ordered them to transform a hunting lodge into what became one of the largest and most sumptuous royal palaces in the world.

Louis XIV began moving the court to Versailles in 1678. On May 6, 1682, the court was officially established at the Château de Versailles. The palace was the home of kings, the center of power in France and the standard of culture for Europe until the French Revolution in 1789.

See the magnificent Hall of Mirrors where the Treaty of Versailles was signed many years later to end World War I, the King’s Wing, the Opera House, ballrooms, the throne room and much more.

Your choices for lunch are La Flotille in the royal park on the Grand Canal, or the veranda of the elegant Trianon Palace, a Gordon Ramsey gourmet restaurant as seen below.

The château continued to expand, and the extensive gardens also expanded. Enjoy a walking tour of the magnificent gardens and the Domaine de Marie-Antoinette. See the Grand and Petit Trianon Palaces and the Hamlet of the Queen.

After your tour you will be returned to your hotel.


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Paris to Vaux le Vicomte, Barbizon and Fontainebleau 8H

Your private English speaking guide and driver will meet you in the lobby of your hotel for a full day to visit two extraordinary chateaux South of Paris.


Vaux le Vicomte

The magnificent 17th century chateau, the envy of Louis XIV, now privately owned by the Count and Countess Patrice de Vogüé, is renowned  as  the  forerunner  of Versailles. Fouquet, then Minister of Finance under King Louis XIV, ordered this magnificent chateau to celebrate his glory. With no financial limit in mind, Fouquet used the creative genius of the forerunners of the time.

Vaux le Vicomte is a combination of three exceptional features: magnificent architecture by Louis Le Vau, sumptuous decorations including famous works of art by Charles Le Brun, and breathtaking landscaping and gardens designed by Le Nôtre. Fouquet, a patron of the fine arts, made of his chateau a rendezvous for the greatest creative figures of the time, such as La Fontaine, Molière, and Corneille.

To his demise, on August 17, 1661, Nicolas Fouquet offered a splendid feast in honor of the King, who, on discovering Vaux le Vicomte, proclaimed, “How high can this man rise!” and sent Fouquet to prison.

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Following this, you will be driven to Barbizon, a lovely village in the Fontainebleau forest where Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Forest Notes and where numerous realist painters including Corot, Millet Rousseau and Daubigny gathered during the Barbizon School period (1830-70).

You can have lunch here and visit the art galleries




After lunch, you’ll visit the Château de Fontainebleau and its park including the Great Gallery of Francis I, the Salle de Bal (Ballroom) of Henry II, the private apartments of Anne d’Autriche, the Hunting Gallery, the boudoir of Marie-Antoinette, and the apartments of Napoleon.

Preferred by the Kings of France since the 12th century for its rich hunting grounds, the residence of Fontainebleau, at the heart of a

vast forest in the Ile-de-France, François I and his daughter in law, Catherine de Medici, both great patrons of the arts, hired the services of Italian artist Benvenuto Cellini in 1527 to enlarge what was then just a modest fortified château, to create a new court that would rival the Medici family in Florence and, according to Vasari, to establish it as a “new Rome.”, making it one of the most prestigious royal residences and one of the jewels of French art, as much for its architecture as for its decoration and gardens. The impressive Louis XV staircase is one of the highlights of the tour. The palace was Napoleon’s favorite residence and houses the Napoleon Museum. Surrounded by an immense park, the palace combines Renaissance and French artistic traditions.

After your tour you will be returned to your hotel.