While I could spend most of my time staring at the beautiful buildings in Paris and just chillaxin’ while eating too many carbs and reading at cafes, I felt like it was time to see the outside of Paris. I didn’t have to wander far though because the city of Versailles is about 40 minutes away from Paris by train, making it the perfect, quick day trip.
Still, Versailles costs time and money, so Is It Worth It? Let’s take a look.
If You’re a History Nerd, It’s Worth It
Versailles is where you’ll find the famous Palace of Versailles (or Château de Versailles), the huge, lavash domicile of France’s then-monarch. Perhaps the most famous of the royal heads are King Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette. Throughout the tour, you don’t really learn a ton about the history, so it’s one of those things where if you know about the history in some detail, you can appreciate your tour of the Palace that much more.
Even if you’re not a history buff, there’s still a lot of stuff to appreciate. Both the exterior and interior are gorgeous.
If You Love Looking at Buildings, It’s Worth It
I’m not much of a history buff myself, but I found the tour of the Palace actually quite fascinating because the interior design and decor were works of painstaking and elaborate art to marvel at.
The entire Palace grounds, including the gardens, are huge. It’s so big, in fact, that you can rent golf carts and bikes, or pay for a little tram called Le Petit Trains which costs 4 euros. If you’d rather save money, you can hoof it, which allows you to stroll through everything at your leisure, but seriously…the place is freakin’ huge.
You can hire day tours to take you through the Palace of Versailles and surrounding grounds, including Marie Antoinette’s estate. And once you’ve seen the Palace, Marie’s place is drab and plebeian by comparison.
The guided tours can be nice if you want to get through everything and also learn tidbits of information that you won’t get from the audio guides. Speaking of, if you waltz in on your own like I did, every ticket comes with an audio device that guides you through most rooms of the Palace with interesting tidbits of background information.
Tips to Know Before Going to Palace of Versailles
- Go early. Prepare for throngs of people who want to take the most random pictures. Palace of Versailles is a very busy tourist destination.
- Use this website to figure out how to get there from your location.
- Be sure to go on the train that heads toward Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche.
- Entrance to the main Palace costs 15 euro, but the entire Palace itself is split into several domains (including the various parts of the gardens and Marie Antoinette’s estate) so if you get the Passport, which costs 18 euro (that’s 3 euro extra), you can have access to them, too.
- Saturdays and Sundays (and sometimes Tuesdays) have special fountain showings, which cost extra.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes if you cherish your feet.
- Depending on where you’re coming from, it might be worth getting the 1-day ticket for unlimited rides on the Metro and RER, which you can buy from any ticket booth. Versailles is located in Zone 4, so that means you have to get a different ticket from the usual Metro one. A roundtrip ticket costs almost 8 euro, and the full-day costs 12 euro. Remember to hang onto your ticket!
- The roundtrip ticket also saves yourself the hassle of getting in line at the train station on your return, which could get packed.
- Bring yummy sandwiches or picnic type food from Paris so you could eat in the garden. There are food options, like Angelina Paris, a super bougie cafe where the to-die for hot chocolate costs almost 9 euro and the desserts cost just about as much.
- More information here.
Bottom-line, if you want something a little different from Paris, Versailles is a nice day trip to look into France’s history and indulge in the extravagance of the Palace’s sights. Versailles itself was meh to me, especially when it came to food.
It’s Worth It: Go!
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