One Day Trip: Versailles

Posted by Strainu on March 28, 2008
From Paris

Versiunea română aici.

Transport
Map

It’s not really worth it to go to Versailles by car from Paris (or from anywhere in Ile-de-France for that matter). The roads are always full and parking spaces near the castle are hard to find.

Your best bet is to leave your car at home/the hotel and take the RER (suburban train) C to Versailles. There are 3 railway stations in the city, but any of them will do, as they’re pretty close to each other. Just choose the one closer to your location.

The RER trains are not renowned for their safety, especially in the evening, so you should try to finish your visit before the night falls.

Rating: ★★★★½

Food

The restaurants from the Versailles domain (there are two of them I believe) are quite expensive. If you don’t want to leave the domain, you should pack some snacks or buy them from the cafeteria.

Outside the Court, like everywhere in France, you can find numerous small restaurants with excellent food and wine. If you are on a budget, you can order the “Menu du jour” (Menu of the day), which can cost you from 9 to 20 Euros (depending on the location). Service is usually included, but if you were particularly impressed, you can leave a 5-10% tip.


Rating: ★★★½☆

Sightseeing

Well, that’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? After all, why would you go to Versailles if not to see the Versailles Castle and gardens? And if you’re wondering how much it will cost you, I can tell you that in march 2008, the prices were 13,5 euros for the main palace, 5 euros for the Trianon castle and gardens. The main gardens were free except in the evenings when there are water shows. Of course, there are reductions for kids and combined tickets (16 euros). Be ready for a 1 to 2 hours of queuing (in the low season).

The main castle is impressive at least. You go through the king’s, the queen’s and the children’s apartments, plus the world famous “Galerie des Glaces” (“The Hall of Mirrors”). Once a day, there is a special visit to see the “Royal suite”. In plus, there are many temporary exhibitions, but you have to buy a separate ticket for those. The order of the rooms is clear, there is no chance of getting lost. However, the constant crowding created by the groups is quite annoying.

In order to truly appreciate the gardens, you should visit them between April and September, while they’re still green. It’s still interesting in winter, but the earth and sand trails combined with rain are not fabulous for your shoes.

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Rating: ★★★★★

Alternatives

The only alternative I can think about is the Louvre Museum. If you don’t have the time or the disposition, try any of the Paris Museums + a walk in the city.

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

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2 Comments to One Day Trip: Versailles

  • […] Chenonceaux and Amboise are placed more or less on the route between Tours and Blois. The first castle I visited, Chenonceaux remained my favourite. It was built in the 16th century and it is called “Le chateau des Dames” (The Ladies’ Castle) because it was owned by the wife (Catherine de Medicis) and the mistress (Diane de Poitiers) of the French king Henri II. The castle spreads over the Cher River, so the view is guaranteed from the ball room, which is over 60m long. The domain and the gardens are pretty impressive, although not comparable with the ones at Versailles. […]

  • […] winter views are much less impressive than the palace in a sunny day, I still liked it better than Versailles, which apparently (I’m not 100% convinced) is the original inspiration for this […]

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