The Château… not only an architectural marvel, but also a symbol of France’s history. It is a must see – so you have to plan a visit to Versailles Castle during your next trip to Paris.
Getting to Versailles can be a bit of a nuisance, since it is located outside of Paris. Despite the fact that, technically, Versailles is actually a suburb of Paris, you have to get not only a metro, but also a RER – Réseau Express Régional, which serves Paris and its suburbs. Paris transportation system is pretty easy to use, so just go to an information’s desk, tell them directly where you want to go and they will give you the exact tickets 😊 At least, this is how I did it all my week-end in Paris 😉
Since we had a limited time in Paris and there were so many things that my mother wanted to see, we figured that half of day was more than enough to visit the castle. Of course, neither me, nor my mom are my fans of Louis XIV’s opulent style, so the visit was more due to curiosity than anything else. When you plan your visit, make sure that you take into account the almost an hour ride with the RER and also another hour to get into the Castle. This is due to the fact that security check needs to be passed before getting through the gates of the castle 😀
Practical tip: Buy your tickets online, before your visit. This way, you only have to stay in one line, the security check, not in two. You will, however, need to get yourself an audio guide (the visit is not fun without that!), so be prepared for another 10-15 minutes in a line.
Practical tip #2: Buy tickets that cover not only the castle, but also the castle grounds, as there are several other buildings that need to be visited and there is an amazing water fountain show (if you are lucky enough to find yourself during one!).
I was smart enough to buy a full day, all inclusive ticket, which meant that we got not only to see the main castle, but also the other beautiful, smaller ones, on the estate. Not to mention, I got to walk around that impressive garden and ride a small train 😛 First things first, let’s start from the beginning…
After our many checks and lines, we eventually made it into the Castle 😊 yeeey us! I already knew what was going on, as I had previously visited the castle in 2016, but my mom was simply overwhelmed with all the gold, the opulent design and the huge mass of people. Another thing that you have to keep in mind when visiting the castle is that it will be filled with tourists at any time of day, so there is little chance for you to thoroughly enjoy the beautifully crafted pieces of furniture or the exquisite work of arts.
Another thing that I found a bit annoying (though, I must confess I am ashamed of it, at the same time!) is the fact that it was soooo hard to take photos inside the castle. The lightning in most rooms was very poor and due to the crowd, it was simply impossible to capture a perfect shot. The ones below are just my way of trying to capture an interesting mix of lavishness and good taste. Could not take too many though (it was much too crowded for my taste and, as I said, the lightning sucked ☹)… Although in more than one circumstance I disliked the style, I must admit that some of the things I saw during the tour were exquisite, in terms of quality, beauty and design.
You might ask… what was my favorite part? That would have to be “The Hall of Mirrors” (yeah, I know… that was expected!) I absolutely love how big this room is, with that incredibly high ceiling (my absolute fav !!) and those gorgeous chandeliers… I can only imagine how it would have looked like during Louis XIV’s time, filled with various members of the court, cigarette smoke, loud laughter and soft music 😊
Once we got out of the main castle, we started around the enormous estate. The Versailles garden is known for its elegant design and its wonderful musical water fountains show. Unfortunately, the timing was not good for us to witness the show, but who knows… maybe some other time 😛 We did however took a million and one photos 😊 and we found a small train to take us to the other buildings on the estate. If you feel like walking around, I warn you – the garden is immense and it is a shame to lose your energy walking through it and miss a visit to the other two wonders of Versailles.
Built as a “hide-out”, away from the strict étiquette of the Court, this was where King Louis XIV and his most intimate friends would spend most of their days. It has also an incredible garden and it is a great architectural sight.
I loved the chromatic of the building, which is very bright. The interior is more aired, rather simple, in comparison with the one in the main castle. Even the furniture seemed to be more colorful, making me believe the concept of “get away place” that this location has going. It is clear that each of the residents brought their own influence in the design of the place, but all in all, it seems like a far better place to be, than in the main castle 😊
Practical tip: By now, you should be hungry… all that walking around and sightseeing definitely had to have an influence. Just in front of Grand Trianon is a small food cart, La Parmentier de Versailles. Try out their baked potatoes, filled with various stuff. It is a-mazing! Be sure to do it on a bench, overlooking Grand Trianon, for a full experience 😉
Just a few minutes walking distance away, you find the last “must see” on your Versailles Castle list.
Famous for being the “go to place” of Queen Marie Antoinette, the small château is a mix of different architectural styles, from rococo to a more neoclassical one. Rumour has it that nobody was allowed to enter the property without the Queen’s permission. That included her own husband, King Louis XVI! 😊
The interior is very simple, designed in such a way that minimum interaction between the servants and the guests was needed. The Queen was a very private person. She was, however, a lover of arts and you can see this all around the small castle, from the works displayed on the walls, to the beautifully carved wooden chairs or the skillfully embroidered furniture.
The beautiful garden of the property is a perfect location to end the visit of the Versailles Castle. You should spend some time there, as well, before heading back to the main castle.
Paris is a great destination for a week-end trip, so make sure you read more on what I visited in Paris, during the trip I took with my mom.