hen we started planning our trip to France, we were only going to Marseilles for a Mediterranean cruise. Then, my daughter said there’s no way you’re taking me to France and I’m not going to Paris. That’s how I felt about going to Paris and not getting to Versailles. I had less than 24 hours to enjoy it but what a wonderful 24 hours it was.
If you love Gardens and French History, this is truly a MUST for the bucket list. I would think it’s a must even if you do neither, sorry, I’m biased.
I thought I was well-prepared for grandeur and opulence, but nothing really creates the total picture of the entirety of Versailles except laying your eyes upon it.
There will be gold gilding, ornate structures, and fountains, everywhere. You will peer down a path in the gardens and wonder where it ends and along the way, find surprises, new endings, and more paths.
You will smile as you know you are walking where Kings once walked, you may even wonder, did they really walk or just have people carry them?
You may even feel sorrow for the human toll this treasure probably cost in labor, in poverty, in servitude, in danger, in resistance, and in revolution.
Yet, you might still be both in awe and abhor the extreme extravagance at the same time.
This, Madame, is Versailles.Maria Antoinette (2006) movie
This map is not completely accurate of the tour below but does give you a good idea of what a simple tour through the gardens might look like. Depending on how long you take to wander and enjoy, it could be 1 – 2 hours and cover 1 – 2 miles while stopping at most of the major features in the garden.
A printable tour that might be helpful is found here at gpsmycity.com Self-Guided Versailles Gardens Tour
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Waldorf Astoria Versailles Trianon Palace
We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles Trianon Palace, known for its famous guests and role in the Treaty of Versailles. If that’s not enough to make you want to stay there, I could give you 10 more reasons but let’s stay focused and I’ll suggest it also for the back-door entrance to the gardens.
The hotel is located next to Grille De La Reine and there are guards as you enter. They were especially helpful to me, as I had asked at the hotel’s concierge about the best way to hurry and get to the Palace for our appointment time but then, second guessed the answer I was given. My way worked better, and the guards confirmed it. Shout-out to Google Maps!
Immediately cross over and turn down Allee des Moutons which takes you right to Avenue de Trianon and the Neptune Gate. Again, you’ll be greeted by guards that will want to see your tickets on days that fees are required. Just my luck, my one day there was a fee day.
Looking for tickets or a guided tour? Lots of options here on Viator. Click here for Tickets or Tours
If you decide to do your own tour, here’s another handy resource. An interactive map that works on smartphones and tablets.
For another printable map option, try here.
Allée des Moutons
L'Orangerie (The Orangery)
Our first stop – The Orangery (Orangerie du château de Versailles). It is filled with Orange trees from Spain, Portugal, and Italy, as well as, lemon, oleander, palm, and pomegranate trees. Some of the trees are over 200 years old. Over 1,000 trees and bushes are held in containers which can be moved inside the gallery beside it during the winter.
You can see the Lake of the Swiss Guards in the distance.
Peer down the Allée de Bacchus et de Saturne from the Hundred Steps
Through the Parterre du Midi
Pass the Enfants Aus Dauphins in Parterre d’Eau
And Le Rhône
Head towards the L’escaliers de Latone (Latona Stairs)
Palace of Versailles Tickets and Tours
Want to go to Versailles but like to make your own travel plans?