Although a monarch hasn't lived in the Palace of Versailles since the French Revolution, this UNESCO World Heritage site remains a testament to five centuries of France's rich history. In 1682, Louis XIV transformed his father's hunting pavilion into the nation's center of government. The decadent palace has since been converted into a museum attracting more than three million visitors each year. Located in the countryside, 40 minutes from Paris, the opulent 17th-century château boasts 2,300 rooms across 75,532 square yards—the equivalent of about 15 and a half football fields.
However, there's more to the grounds than the extravagant royal residence and its enchanting gardens. The grandeur lies in the subtle accents and little-known history scattered throughout the estate. Uncover secret passageways and unique perspectives of the Sun King's powerful estate with these never before seen glimpses into the historic epicenter of French royalty.
Versailles: The Great and Hidden Splendors of the Sun King's Palace by Catherine Pégard will be published in September 2017 by Vendome.
- Nat Geo Expeditions