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travel paris
By John McNamara


Visiting Palace of Versailles and Paris

 

The Palace of Versailles was something big for my wife to see on our Paris vacation and we had to go there. The challenge was getting there from the center of Paris, Guard du Nord Central Train Station, to the Palace. After doing some research with google maps, we saw that we could get to the palace from the yellow RER train line. See our map link below to get more details on the train line.

The trains were a little confusing for us, because there is Metro Line which has a big M on each station and the RER lines which is a commuter line that goes to the suburbs of Paris. We caught the RER to the Palace of Versailles. The RER lines are not well marked on the trains so you will need to ask someone at the train booth and they will help you. We caught the Yellow RER to the Palace. The last stop on this line took us directly to the palace. A round trip RER ticket cost about 6 euros.

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The Palace is closed on Monday, so keep this in mind. We were there on a Sunday and it was super busy. We were surprised because it was a cold and slightly raining day and there were thousands of people there. You need to buy your tickets in advance either on the Internet or tourist shoppes outside the palace. We waited on line for over an hour before we got ticket. It was a good thing we dressed warmly and it worked out but we waisted a lot of time on line and not inside the Palace.

We got a passport ticket which was 25 Euros, which covered all the buildings and the gardens. Once we got our tickets, you do get a headset in your language for the main palace building. The main building is very famous and this is where all the French Kings lived and there are lots decorated rooms to see, with very fancy furniture and amazing art work. The most famous of the rooms to see is called the Wall of Mirrors, which my wife and I were a little disappointed. If you go to the Louvre in Paris, we found the Louvre much more impressive. You will see what I mean if you visit both.


Something to keep mind, you will do tons of walking at the Palace and you will appreciate anytime you can sit and go to the bathroom. Because of the thousands of people there, it is always good to do both when you have the opportunity.

Back to the main building, you will get lots of history from the audio guide about the building and who lived there. It is hard to absorb it all. You may want to do your homework before, so you have a good understanding of the building and what you want to see there.

After the main building, we headed to the other two main buildings, The Grand Trianon and Petite Trianon. Marie Antoinette lived in these buildings. Both buildings were similar to the big Palace but in a much smaller scale. My wife wanted to take shuttle from the palace to each building which cost about 6 euros extra. It will take about a half an hour to walk to each building from the main Palace. The shuttle was a real blessing to the feet and a nice break, worth the price. You can also rent golf carts or bicycles to get around the grounds.

The last stop on the shuttle is a beautiful restaurant in the majestic gardens of the grounds. We had a little meal here and then decided to head back to Paris. The Palace closes at 6pm. Just a note, you are not allowed to bring any back packs on the grounds. You will be able to have a free baggage check in, so keep that in mind with your valuables. You might consider to leave it in your hotel.

We headed back to the RER to Central Paris, where we finished the day at a great restaurant called the Bistro 17 EM. It's had a set menu, for $38 euros a person, which includes a aperitif, bottle of wine, appetizer, main coarse, dessert and coffee. A great experience, we would highly recommend this place.

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