Pack Your Bags: Day Trip to Versailles



Versailles is gorgeous.

That's it.

Bottom line.

If I were starving in the 1780's
and had to walk past that place everyday,
I'd definitely have some hard feelings
towards the parties & pastries that were being enjoyed inside the gates.

It was obviously THE PLACE to be back in the day.

If you come to Paris, 
you really MUST take a day 
and come visit the world of French royalty.

From Paris,
take the RER C 
to Versailles Rive Gauche- Versailles Chateau.

You can use the basic metro ticket to do this....
but will need to pay for an extension at the desk to Versailles.

It's cheap. About €2.50 per person each way. 
Don't forget to get two tickets per person
so you can get there... and get back.

From the Champs Mars stop (at the Bir-Hakim metro stop),
it's a 26 minute ride out to Versailles.

Get off the stop at Versailles Rive Gauche....
take an immediate right out of the station
and then take the next left at the large street. 

You'll see the palace from there. 

It's easy-peasy.

Walk up the giant esplanade 
to the front gates.

Feel in awe.

Use your ticket that you have pre-purchased
and walk right in through the modern entrance on the left.

and save yourself loads of time waiting in the massive queues.}

I recommend the Passport ticket. It's €19 and gets you in everywhere...
the Main Palace, the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon & the Hamlet.

It also gets an audio guide.

These things will be handy dandy as you walk through the palace.

As you walk through the palace, 
you will be in awe of the gold.


Yes, real gold.

Whenever you see gold at Versailles,
it's real gold. 18k or 24k.



It's pretty.

It's stunning.

It's completely over the top...
and I kinda love it!

Ah, Louis XIV.

You silly, self-absorbed Sun King, you.


Take a walk down the Hall of Mirrors.
It's so beautiful.
If it weren't for the hoards of tourists,
I would have felt like Alice creeping through Wonderland.


Look at the bedroom that Marie slept in.


 Marie had her first night of her marriage in there,
 birthed her children in there,
and went to the toilet in there...
and had audiences for all of it.

 Apparently, she really hated it.

Can't say that I blame her.

{Apparently, Louis XIV really enjoyed people watching him go the bathroom. 
Wonder if that is where "loo" came from. Hmm...}

After you're done with the palace,
the grounds have some great options for lunch.

One half of the restaurant is pre-made food, ready to grab & go.

There are tables in the adjoining rooms where you can eat....
and bathrooms for those who anyone needing to pull a Louis.

The other half is a chic modern dining room
where you can order a three course lunch for €22...
for this, you can make reservations.

It was delicious... though all three courses were served at the same time on a giant plate.

It was really fun to feel a bit swanky while eating at Versailles...
but then again, it was free for me to dine there since I was on the job.

If (& when) we go back and foot our own bill,
 I'll probably pack a picnic 
to enjoy somewhere in the gorgeous gardens....

And I'll love it just as much.

After your belly is full,
walk down the back steps of the palace
and out to the large pond.

Turn right here and you'll see two things:

On one side of the road,
the cafe La Flotille.

On the other, a little stand 
with bicycles everywhere.

Walk to the bike stand,
leave a form of identification as a deposit with the man,
and choose a bike.


It may be the best money you'll ever spend.


Now, ride to the Hamlet & the Grand Trianon,
and as you ride, realize how spoiled you are
to be frolicking around Versailles like this.

Deeply consider that if, in this moment, you can't be happy...
you might have some serious issues.

The Hamlet & Trianon (Grand & Petit) are fun side visits to the main palace,
but the Hamlet is especially amazing.

It was Marie's personal peasant farm...
you'll find it complete with farm animals and cottages.

*If you go to the Hamlet in the off-season (Nov-Mar 1),
you can only access the Hamlet through the back of the Grand Trianon
& not the main entrance to the Hamlet.

After all that peddling, you've earned snack!

Versailles has done an amazing job
of putting great places to eat in the property.

Two famously known are Angelina's, which is located by the Grand Trianon, 
& Laduree, which is located at the end of the tour of the main palace.

I love both of these places... but opt for the brasserie-style, La Flottile,
which is conveniently located across from the bike stand.


Go in for a cappuccino or hot chocolate and relish the moment.

You have just had a day in Versailles...
and it was awesome.

When you're done exploring Versailles,
head back to the train station.

You'll need that return ticket now to get through the gate.

Hop on the RER,
which will confusingly say to another Versailles destination 
because it makes a large loop. 

It is the right one...
but I'd recommend double-checking the monitor 
or a staff member if you feel unsure.

Voila. 

You are headed back into Paris...
albeit, a bit more educated & a bit more spoilt.

Have you been to Versailles? What was your favorite thing about your day?



*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy


Posted on February 25, 2012 and filed under "France", "travel tips".