What to Wear When Exploring the Palace of Versailles

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Jet-setting across the seven seas, or simply swapping neighborhood spots, What To Wear When is your weekly column for shopping inspiration.

Paris is for the arts, the fashion, the romance, but Versailles—the city that lives on the outskirts of the French capital in the Île-de-France region—is for the royal history. More accurately, a history that’s inextricably linked with the Palace of Versailles (aka the number-one tourist attraction for which the city is known). For an estate that’s as vast or as decadent as the château and its sprawling garden, its beginning is, surprisingly, humble, existing simply as King Louis XIII’s old hunting lodge in the 17th century. It wasn’t until his son Louis XIV expanded it and established a court (a hierarchical society that comprised between 3,000 and 10,000 people) and government in 1682 that it transformed into the Kingdom of France. With its extravagant Hall of Mirrors and the stunning Royal Opera theater, the 2,300-room, 721,206-square-feet palace was the residence for a succession of kings until the French Revolution.

In other words, it’s a landmark designed for the crown (it has, after all, been listed as a World Heritage Site for 30 years), so when Princess Grace of Monaco was invited by the Baroness de Rothschild to a gala in 1973 to celebrate the restoration of the palace, she pulled out her finest: her tiara, beautiful jewels, a floor-grazing gown, and a sweeping cape. Do the same for your upcoming trip to the royal city of France, with sharp tuxedo capes, satin pumps, and crystal-embellished purses (though maybe bring a pair of flats for navigating the palace’s labyrinth of a garden).

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