Now, don’t get me wrong, the palace is impressive and the grounds beautiful, but Versailles is no Buckingham Palace. Rather, it is an enormous shell of a once over the top opulence. At Buckingham, you don’t have to use your imagination… the ornate, goddy, ‘only fit for a princess’ decor is right there, completely functional and intact. At Versailles, yes… there is a fair share of artwork, tapestries and sculptures… but for the most part it has been gutted of its former glory.
But, maybe you are sick of crepes and champagne (I don’t get it) and you just need to feel like you saw something of France besides from chic cafes and the world’s best museums. This was the position I found myself in. Yes, Paris is one of my favorite places in the world, but when I travel I itch to see something new… to cross off another thing from the ol bucket list. If you’re like me… and you’re dying for a quick day or overnight trip from Paris, my suggestion is to go to Loire Valley instead to see a bit more countryside & vineyards (and hopefully a few less tourists).
You’re still going to Versailles aren’t you? Guess we’ve got something in common after all. Well here’s what you need to know:
-Hop the metro towards Versailles Chateau-Rive Gauche. It will cost a few euros and take you an hour or so of a comfortable ride out of the city. When you arrive, follow the hoards of tourists zombie-apocolypsing (yes, I used that as a verb) towards the golden gates.
-The ticket office is to the left. Send one person in your party to purchase the tickets while everyone else waits in the endless winding line. Prepare to wait for an excruciatingly long time before you get in. Like long enough that you’ll be happy if you bring snacks in your fanny pack. or beer. (probably should bring both). You’ll read other blogs that tell you to purchase your ticket online to avoid the lines …but unfortunately this is incorrect. The line to buy tickets moves fast and efficiently. It’s the line to pass through security that is the hold up… And no pre-ordering online can help you there. My tip is that you gauge the line and if it’s too painful then check out the gardens first around the back of the building. There will be no lines and you don’t need tickets. Also speaking tickets- I didn’t purchase the Marie Antoinette house, but if you did, that might be a good place to start if the main palace line is excruciating (which it can be considering you’re waiting in an uncovered courtyard).
-you’re in!! Get a headset (or trusty book) and start following the arrows!
-Outside: They have golf carts to rent for you to cruise through the gardens. This might not be a bad idea if you got the Marie Antoinette house ticket as well — considering the house is probably a 15 minute walk from the Palace. If this hasn’t all been a coincidence and you really are like me, you’ll be tired, hungry and a bit grumpy by now and more inclined to park your toosh on a bench and people watch for a bit.
Afterwards, you’re going to be starving. Stop by the Waldorf Historia adjacent to the palace for a late lunch and to relax. A quick stroll through the gardens behind the hotel and up and through the quaint little city back to the metro. And back to the sanctuary of Paris.