Today’s post will be less heavy on words than my first France installment! I wanted to split Versailles off into its own post because although it’s close to Paris, it’s definitely its own destination. We spent half a day on the grounds — about 6 hours — but could have easily spent a few more. If you’re planning a trip to France, I would most definitely recommend a visit to this tres belle palace. Let’s take a peek at why!
Our tickets for Versailles were one of the few entertainment purchases we made while still in the States. We opted for the Passport ticket, which gets you in everywhere (the Main Palace, the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon, and the Hamlet). It was about $58 for two. I used these very specific instructions for getting us from Paris to the gates of the palace. However, I have one major bone to pick with Lauren’s advice, as well as others I read: everyone made it sound as though if you bought your tickets in advance, you’d breeze right in, bypassing all the suckers in line who still had to purchase theirs. NOT TRUE (at least when we went). There was one huge line of people waiting to enter, and then a much smaller line of people who still needed to purchase a ticket (and then join the big line). Anyway, we probably waited for about 45 minutes to enter, so just be prepared, since the line is in full sun!
After making it through the turnstiles, we opted to have lunch before setting off to see the sites. There are several cafes on site that we felt were reasonably priced, and delicious! I think you might also be able to bring food in, but I’m not sure.
When you’re ready to start your tour of the main palace, make sure you pick up an audio guide first. It is included with your ticket price and we really enjoyed it.
We’d recommend moving more quickly through the bottom floor of the tour — it feels more like a museum than the house recreated, and we didn’t find it that interesting. Up the stairs, however, the rooms have been restored to their original purposes and furnishings, and you learn lots of fun tidbits through the audio guide! It was definitely crowded, but I expected that and it didn’t really bother me. The hall of mirrors (above) was stunning, but I think my favorite room was Marie Antoinette’s bedroom, with its lovely flowered wall coverings. It’s crazy to think that all the gold you see in the palace is real – 18k or 24k!
Once we finished the tour (after maybe an hour?), we headed down the back steps to the gardens! There are so many alleys, hidden corners, and fountains to explore. We spent quite a bit of time wandering around – probably close to two hours. A few of our favorites: Apollo’s Bath Grove, the Queen’s Grove, and the King’s Grove. Many of these spots we were totally alone in, so don’t despair if you hate crowds.
There’s not much else I need to tell you about Versailles — you’ll figure it out with no trouble, I’m sure! — but I hope these few pictures will convince you to go if you have the chance! Again, we would have happily spent several more hours here, rented bikes, made it out to the Hamlet and the Petit Trianon, eaten more ice cream, lay in the grass and people watched, etc., so I’d really encourage you to spend the whole day, if you can.
Versailles often came up as a favorite when we chatted with those who had already been to France, so if you’ve had the pleasure of going, I’d love to hear: what was your favorite part? How much time did you allocate, and was it enough?
Up next: Provence!