HOW TO PREPARE FOR A VISIT TO THE PALACE OF VERSAILLES

Unfortunately, I did not prioritize well enough to include a trip to the Palace of Versailles during my first visit to Paris. Therefore, when I returned to the city of love on a whim, I was sure to book tickets and drag Sarah along for the journey.

Getting there

The easiest and cheapest way to visit the Palace of Versailles is by train. Depending on where you are staying in the city, the journey should take between and hour and 90 minutes. You will connect to the RER C line from the metro. There are three different trains on the RER C, but you should take the train heading towards Javel, Pont du Garigliano, Issy… The stop to disembark is labeled: Versailles-Château – Rive Gauche. Walking to the entrance of the palace from the train station takes approximately 10 minutes. The entire return journey should cost you 7,1€.

Tickets

You have a few options when it comes to visiting Versailles. The first option {and my personal recommendation} is the ‘Passport’ which includes entry to the entire estate. Price: 20€

You also have the option of a ‘Timed Passport’ which gives you the luxury to pick your entry time {give or take 30 minutes}. Price: 27€

The third option is the ‘2-day Passport’, which by the title you can assume you have entry to the entire estate for two consecutive days. Price: 25€

The ‘Palace’ ticket includes entry to the Palace and the gardens, sans any shows. It also does not include entrance to Trianon Palace. Price: 18€

Should you solely want to see the beautiful pink Trianon Palace, you can purchase a ticket for this palace and the gardens of Versailles. Price: 12€

If you are under 18 or a resident of the EU and under 26, entrance is free for you my friends. For a full list of ticketing options and more, visit the official website here.

What to expect

I had a great afternoon exploring the Palace of Versailles and it’s estate. Every ticket purchased includes an audio guide to the palaces. To be honest, Sarah and I couldn’t even remember whether or not we utilized the audio guides. With most audio guides {I’m not a big museum person}, I only hit ‘play’ when I come across something that seriously stops me en route or intrigues me. I was mostly fascinated with the architecture of the palace and the interior decorating during my tour of the palace.

The gardens were the main attraction for me as we visited on a nearly perfect afternoon in autumn. Access to all of the gardens on the estate are permitted with even the least expensive ticket. If I had to do it over again, I would choose to spend 30% of my time in the palace and 70% walking the grounds. They are massive, so you can easily get lost within the shrubbery.

You can expect the inevitable crowds of tourists, all of whom flock to the palace in the warmer months. Towards the end of our self-guided tour of the palace, we were both dying to get outdoors. As royal as it is, the Palace of Versailles get’s quite stuffy.

I was slightly disappointed {in myself for not doing enough research}, because I did not get to witness neither the Royal Stables nor The Hamlet. The grounds are so massive that it’s not as if you can just stumble upon them either *sigh*. Next time!

Highlights

Some of my personal highlights from the afternoon include:

Hall of Mirrors

The first highlight for me was the infamous ‘Hall of Mirrors’. This is the first image that comes to mind {personally} when I think about the Palace of Versailles. This hall used to be a terrace that connected the King’s apartment with the Queen’s. Once renovated into a hall, the King ordered 357 mirrors to line the entire length; a whopping 73 meters {aka 240 feet}.

One reason this room holds so much significance for visitors these days is that it’s the location in which the Treaty of Versailles was signed on 28 June 1919, ending the First World War. Let’s hear it for world peace everyone {That would be… harsher punishment for parole violators, Stan — and, world peace}.

Gardens of the Château (Les Jardins)

The next image that pops into my mind when I think of Versailles, are the magnificent gardens. The word I can best describe these gardens is: enchanting. They make up 250 acres of the estate, so wear some comfortable shoes. One of the most magical areas of the gardens is the Orangery {pictured above}. There are certain orange trees residing in the Orangery that are more than 200 years old.

All of the gardens on the estate are so well kept and manicured, it almost makes you question whether or not they are real {until you rebelliously touch a plant for reassurance}. The estate contains 11 main fountains, all of which are stunning and intricate. There are so  many paths to explore, it’s easy to get lost without a map.

Grand Trianon Palace

I didn’t realized how huge the estate was until I arrived to Versailles, so it was quite a pleasant surprise to visit the Grand Trianon Palace towards the end of the afternoon.

Commissioned by Louis XIV in 1670 to get away from the arduous pomp of life in the court and to pursue his affair with Mme de Montespan, the Grand Trianon is perhaps the most refined architectural ensemble found on the royal estate of Versailles. – Source

Before I knew the technical name of the palace, I referred to it simply as the ‘pink palace’. I’ll give you one guess as to why… That’s right, the entire structure is built from pink marble and porphyry. Basically my dream home. I mean, if I could afford a palace. Although nowhere near as elegant as the Palace of Versailles, the Grand Trianon pulls her own weight. My favorite room was the empress’ bedroom because, well, it’s… also pink {duh}.

Over to you, have you visited the Palace of Versailles? Did you witness the Royal Stables or The Hamlet?

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