t was 1988 when I was first thrust into a world of French culture and history. I was angry that I didn’t get into Spanish after taking it from 5th to 8th grade, I now was assigned French in my Freshman year of High School. I wasn’t interested but great teachers can reshape your world.
To be honest, I’m not even sure if I did well in it, I hated doing homework and I always felt lost in class. As I got older and took it again in college, something happened, and I started to realize that I loved all the exposure that I was given through my high school years. I had somehow turned into a Francophile and was dreaming of the day I could take a trip to Paris.
It would be a long time before it happened but when it did, I couldn’t possibly go to just Paris. I needed to see as much of France as possible and Versailles was a MUST.
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How to get from Paris to Versailles
This is the tricky part if you’re a suburban American and never take public transportation but are set on having your true European adventure by train, bus, or walking. You could take a round-trip tour with a guide and transportation included from Paris. That could get costly for a family of 9 traveling though.
We opted for the train. We were staying near the Eiffel Tower so it was very easy to catch the RER C to Versailles-Rive Gauche which meant no transfers, just a straight shot.
I’m always researching and sharing good finds because why re-invent the wheel? So, here’s a great guide on getting around by train in Paris.
While it was easy to do, there was a learning curve.
- The train platforms were reversed from what we expected at first, so, pay attention to the signs, make sure you are on the right platform.
- Even if your French isn’t very good, you can figure this out, don’t worry.
- The signs aren’t always big showstoppers, you might have to search for it. More than one train may be at the same stop and this can be a little confusing so know what you’re looking for. The sign for RER is pretty simple – see link above for great visuals to help you prepare.
- Keep your ticket! You need it to get on and off through the turnstiles at the stations.
- Be on the lookout for any service disruptions during your travel time.
- Upon arrival, doors do not open automatically, you must press the button on the door (This was hard to get used to and always seemed to have a few seconds delay in my mind for some reason.)
When you arrive, you can take a taxi, uber, bus, or walk. It’s not a far walk to the main entrance, under 15 minutes.
Stay in Versailles
If this is more than a day trip, you have some great options for staying in Versailles. My personal favorite that was at the top of my list is the Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace. Beautifully appointed spaces, attentive service, and Gordon Ramsay Restaurants – win all around.
The King Deluxe Palace Family Room is perfect for a family in search of tranquility and sophisticated surroundings. My little girl repeatedly talked about how she felt like a princess while we were there. She even pretended to walk like one down the stairs.
In this room, you get 2 interconnecting rooms with views of the gardens, 2 bathrooms with stunning mosaic floor detail. The corner king bedroom has 2 balconies, one overlooking the gardens, and one overlooking the main entryway. This accommodation can hold a family of 5.
From the moment of check-in to the surprise Nutella crepe at breakfast, and concierge saving the day when I needed transportation quickly, the staff did an excellent job taking care of us. I can’t wait to return. I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we did.
Tour the Chateau de Versailles
My Best Tips for this experience are
- Read as much about it and plan your visit before you go if you plan to DIY your tour.
- Also, download the app that will help you guide your way through easily.
- Consider a guided tour that takes you through areas that aren’t normally seen by the usual crowd.
- This place is famously famous for being overcrowded so go early, go during low season and still be prepared to see lots of people.
- If you’re trying to get pictures without people in them, good luck. Be patient, sometimes, if you just wait another couple of seconds, you’re able to get that shot. Be quick.
- Savor it! You’re walking in the footsteps of French Royalty, and the mob that stormed the place; walking through victories and tragedies. You’re also surrounded by the conservation of history, land, and legends.