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The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. Located southwest of the centre of Paris, it makes for a perfect day trip from Paris to Versailles. I had a lot of expectations when it came to Versailles, as well as France in general. I am a history nerd after all! So it had been on my bucket list for a WHILE.
Visiting Versailles from Paris
Versailles was my first stop, after landing in Paris the night before via the Chunnel. Highly recommend the Chunnel, it takes no time at all! When visiting Versailles from Paris, there are three train stations in Versailles, the closest one of the Palace is Versailles Château Rive Gauche. From there it is just a 10 minute walk to the Palace. You can also take a shuttle or the bus.
Day Trip from Paris to Versailles
There were so so many people at Versailles that day! We waited in line for over an hour. It felt like waiting in line at Disney. On top of that, it was scorching outside so that didn’t help. Bring snacks and water if you go in summer!
I had the Paris Museum Pass, which I would recommend, that included Versailles. Note, they do charge you for basically everything ‘extra’, meaning the gardens, any events, or anything other than walking through the door. Versailles was the most expensive museum I went to on the entire trip. This is of course, because of the history of the palace.
A Lack of Personality
I do have to say that it is beautiful at Versailles, but I did not feel that they put enough personality into it. While walking through with the audio guide, I felt as if no one had ever lived there. Sure they had some of the beds in there, but I thought that they should have made it more personal for the visitor. The Diamond necklace affair, where Marie Antoinette was nearly killed, was just glazed over. Granted, a lot of the original items of the Palace were destroyed during the revolution, but that’s why you have replicas, or at least items from the same time period.
A palace that one hundred percent pulls out all the stops is Hampton Court Palace. I feel like if Versailles had done a fraction of what Hampton Court does I would have enjoyed it more. If you want to visit a palace in France, I’d recommend going to the Palace of Fontainebleau instead. Though I have not gone myself, many people have recommended it.
Hameau de la Reine
The one place I found quaintly beautiful was the Hameau de la Reine. It was a rustic retreat in the park of the Château de Versailles built for Marie Antoinette in 1783 near the Petit Trianon. It served as a private meeting place for the Queen and her closest friends.