Versailles is a great opportunity to travel outside of Paris, whilst still within a reasonable one-hour train ride. We can take a early morning train into Paris arriving before Le Louvre opens. (Traveling to London or Amsterdam, obviously requires a more substantial investment in time)
Château de Versailles
Versailles can be VERY congested
the narrow thresholds between rooms in the Chateau form an endless series of bottlecks
As with most things Paris, weekends are especially congested and Versailles is closed on Mondays
On our first visit, we found the front courtyard consumed by a extraordinary long line snaking ualmost endlessly. We will never wait in that line again and instead decided to include Versailles as a place to stay for two nights.
(we can walk-over and check-out the line late in the day when it is less crowded)
The PARIS MUSEUM PASS includes access to all unguided tours, open according to the season: the “Grands Appartements”, the Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Bedchamber, the Queen’s Bedchamber, the apartments of “Mesdames” Louis XV’s daughters, exhibitions, the Trianon Castle and the Estate of Marie-Antoinette.
Les Jardins du château de Versailles (The Gardens of Versailles)
On the positive side of the ledger, the Gardens of Versailles open at 7:00 (perhaps every day of the year) and often we are there in running shoes with these historic gardens “all-to-ourselves.” If you are a jogger – this is bliss.
Beyond the Gardens, the Grand Canal extends to the horizon (where we can visualize Louis XIV out on a gondella ride)
Being outside of Paris, spacious rooms are available at an affordable price. You can walk from your hotel, down the lane later in the day when the lines are reasonable. However, the congestion inside the Palace is never reasonable, so be prepared to shuffle through small crowded spaces and bottlenecks.
On the outskirts of the grounds, away from the palace, away from the gardens and canal is the Trianon, a private estate where the King could escape from the Palace. Marie Anntoinette made special use of the Trianon and developed a rural style Queen’s Hamlet with farm, dairy and mill
RER C5 to Versailles – Rive Gauche
Chateau de Versailles Station
(Paris Regional RER train system)
Approach to the Palace of Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France
Palace of Versailles (wikipedia)
Travel Guide (wikitravel)
Monty Don’s French Gardens (Netflix)
A wealth of information about the Garden’s of Versailles
Including which plants are used, including how hornbeam is used for the hedges because is grows very tall and can be trimmed very thin (perfect for maze-like hedges)
It shows how the Orange Trees are moved into the Orangerie during the winter
Providing this side of Versailles which we never experience during December