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!
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!!
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.
The Hall of Mirrors was by far my favorite spot in the palace:
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!
After about two hours of wandering and then 45 minutes to enjoy my coffee and dessert, I headed out to the gardens.
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!
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.
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.
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?