The Almost Perfect Day Trip from Paris: Château de Versailles

Versailles is a perfect day trip from Paris... if you don't mind heavy crowds

Versailles is a perfect day trip from Paris… if you don’t mind heavy crowds

If you have more than a few days in Paris and you want to see a little more of France, Versailles make a nearly perfect day trip from Paris.  I say nearly perfect, because you have to be willing to battle thick crowds (especially on the weekend when I went) and you need to like old palaces.

I got to the palace at about 9:30 in the morning because I had a slow breakfast and had to figure out my tickets at the train station.  I would do my best to arrive at the Château de Versailles a bit before 9 if I were going to go again, because even though the palace didn’t open until 9 there was already an hour wait when I got there. By the time I got to the palace entrance the line was three times as long. Get there early!

Huge lines at 9:45AM

Huge lines at 9:45AM

I wasn’t too excited about checking out the Queen and King’s bedroom and seeing where they ate dinner (typically with a crowd of onlookers), so I spent the majority of my time in the gardens.  I loved the gardens!!

BUT first…

There were a few places in the Château that I enjoyed despite the crowds, and I even found a nice little corner to escape the crowds.

Gorgeous paintings covered tons of ceiling space

Remember to look up!

The Hall of Mirrors was by far my favorite spot in the palace:

I loved the Hall of Mirrors!

I loved the Hall of Mirrors!

I love chocolate so I was so happy when I found Angelina’s practically deserted around 11:30 on a Sunday so not only did I escape the crowds but I got my chocolate fix!

Angelina's is a great place to escape and enjoy a quick bite

Angelina’s is a great place to escape and enjoy a quick bite

After about two hours of wandering and then 45 minutes to enjoy my coffee and dessert, I headed out to the gardens.

Musical Water Fountain show was pretty, but a little too loud for my tastes

Musical Water Fountain show was pretty, but a little too loud for my tastes

Note: I was able to use my pass to get me into the palace for free, but the only thing I was sad about was that because the gardens had a musical fountain show going on while I was there. I had to pay to get inside!

Lovely gardens from any angle

Lovely gardens from any angle

The beauty of the gardens is that they are so massive that you can easily escape the crowds! I saw many people sitting on steps and benches with snacks they had brought. I think my ideal visit to Versailles would be a picnic in the gardens with family and friends.

Versailles has tons of cute little areas like this

Versailles has tons of cute little areas like this

I didn’t do that because I was traveling solo, but I did snack on a granola bar while I watched the musical fountain show and enjoyed the flowers.

There are beautiful flowers everywhere

There are beautiful flowers everywhere

I loved finding statues and hidden pathways everywhere, and the little restaurants a little removed from the castle were adorable and enjoyable (despite the many people smoking everywhere).

Versailles is easily doable by yourself. I don’t speak French and I was completely alone (other people at my hostel had gone the day before I arrived!) and I still got there without any issues.  Simply take the RER C from Paris to the Versailles Rive Gauche station.  It took me about an hour and 15 minutes.

Once you get to Versailles there are plenty of signs and people pointing you in the right direction. You can also follow the crowd if you get there at about nine like I did. It is about a five minute walk from the train station to the palace.

Another tip is to buy a roundtrip ticket to/from Versailles while you are in Paris so you can easily hop on the train at the end of your day and now worry about rushing to get a ticket before the train arrives.

Check the current ticket prices and consider buying online so you don’t have to wait in a line after you get through security. Even with the Paris museum pass you still have to wait in the huge lines to get through security while the palace is under construction. Also, make sure to grab the audio guides, which are included in the cost of the tickets.

Share your thoughts: Have you been to Versailles? Would you go again? What was your favorite part?

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7 responses to “The Almost Perfect Day Trip from Paris: Château de Versailles

    • My feet were so tired after a non stop touring day before I got to Versailles and then to stand in line to get in AND THEN wander the gardens and palace for a few hours definitely made me ready for a bike, but I didn’t see where people were getting them! If I ever return I will look into Fat Tire tours for sure.

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    • Basically the whole time I was in France I was wishing I had a boyfriend with me to have a simple picnic outside of whatever gorgeous place I happened to be visiting. I had plenty of time to write in my journal, but this country was the only place where I got a little bummed that I wasn’t part of a “we”.

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