Getting there from ParisWe started our journey first thing in the morning, boarding a suburban “RER C” (Yellow line) train towards Versailles-Rive Gauche (terminal station).
Not every metro station have an RER C line, you’ll have to change if you are not starting at St. Michel-Notre Dame, Invalides, Musée d’Orsay, and Champs de Mars-Tour Eiffel. Only these station have RER C train. To reach the train platform, you have to exit the Metro station and pass through another turnstile to go inside the RER station (all within the same building).
In 45 minutes, the train will reach the last station (Versailles-Rive Gauche). Follow the “Sortie” (exit) sign. Once you exit the station, cross the street and take a left. Then turn right onto a pedestrian street lined with tall trees and follow the brown street sign pointing to Palace of Versailles. In about 5 minutes time without stopping, You’ll see the Palace of Versailles.
Tips:1. Note that Versailles is in zone 4, so if you are traveling on a metro day pass, make sure your ticket cover zone 4.
2. If you don’t have a pass, a single ticket cost 3.55€. (You should buy return tickets (7.10€) to save time). You can buy the tickets from the ticket booth or the green ticket machines.
3. Not all RER trains that arrive at the platform go to Chateau Versailles, be sure to check the train schedule screen on the platform. Don’t confuse your destination with “Versailles-Chantier” or “Versailles-Rive Droit”.
4. “Chateau Versailles” is pronounced “Shah-Tow Ver-Sigh”, just in case you need to ask for direction.
5. You’ll need to press the big green/gray button to open the Metro/Train door (it’s not automatic).
6. Beware of pickpockets on the train.
7. Do not throw away your used ticket, you’ll need them to exit the station at Versailles.
Purchasing the Tickets and Entering the Palace CompoundAs we reached Versailles on the first train of the day, the crowd wasn’t too crazy yet and we managed to purchase tickets right away (there was no lines, such a miracle!) While we were lucky, I recommend readers to book tickets online/ buy a Paris Museum Pass to avoid long queue.
I was pretty bummed that I was not entitled to the Europe youth residents freebie using my Russian Residence card, because well it is debatable whether Russia and Turkey are considered as a part of Europe. Since the musical fountain was supposed to be in full operation that day, we need to pay to enter the garden (only to find out that only 1 musical fountain was working! We felt cheated ).
After we had our tickets, we join the queue at the left for the security check. Note that they don’t allow tripods in the palace (we didn’t realize that beforehand).
Tips:1. Palace of Versailles is closed on Monday.
2. Passport tickets are available (18€ or 25€ including the Hamlet and other attractions)
2. Kids under 18 go in for free.
3. Touring the garden is free when there is no musical fountain show going on.
4. Free Entry is granted to Palace visitors on the first Sunday of each month (November to March).
5. Alternatively, you can book a skip-the-line tour.
Visiting the Palace of VersaillesI personally enjoyed the Grand Apartment rooms, King's Bedchamber and apartments of the Dauphin more.
|couldn't retake photo. This is the only 1-second-opportunity |
that the hall was temporary cleared.
The garden was H.U.G.E…. so, allow at least 4 hours if you want to see every corner of it (including time to take photos). Half way through our visit, a sudden shower and strong wind caught us off guard and destroyed my umbrella, so bring a raincoat instead for a rainy day.
Tips:1. Get the audio guide! It's free.
2. Visit the Petite+Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet and the other French garden as well if time allows.
3. There is a garden night tour in Summer.
4. You can rent a bike and bring it into the park, you can spend some time rowing a boat as well.
5. Sundays and Tuesdays are the most crowded time to visit the Palace of Versailles (Other museums in Paris e.g. Louvre, are closed. )
6. Come prepared. In your bag, there should be at least a bottle of water, a sandwich and a tube of sunscreen!
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This post is based solely on my honest opinion or personal experience.
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