• The Gardens at Versailles

Versailles

Every king's dream, Versailles was the residence of French monarchs and the cultural heartbeat of Europe for about 100 years — until the Revolution of 1789 changed all that. In 1837, about 50 years after the royal family was evicted by citizen-protesters, King Louis-Philippe opened the palace as a museum. Today you can visit parts of the huge palace and wander through acres of manicured gardens sprinkled with fountains and studded with statues. Europe's next-best palaces are just Versailles wannabes.