Looking for a big castle near Paris? This is a quick day trip. I’m sharing pretty much what to expect, where the quieter ladies toilets are and less of “how beautiful” the place is. Don’t get me wrong, Versailles palace is a statement piece of French opulence.

 

Quick intro:

It is the world largest royal domain. The palace ground is a staggering 8,150,265 sqm and the building has 67,002 sqm of floor space. UNESCO site. Many furniture and tapestry have been destroyed in a fire during the French Revolution.

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This was the queue into the palace at 9h30 (gates open at 9h00). The queue was matching to the grandeur of the palace 😛

Be prepared to queue from the beginning to the end. Queue to get ticket, gigantic queue to get in, queue to get the audio guide, queue to move to the next room, queue to buy food/drink… You get the idea, right? If you want to skip the queue for entering the castle, get yourself the annual card.Palace-of-Versailles-8227.JPGAt the entrance of the castle, there’s the bag scanner and security gates like in the airport. Jackets get scanned as well.

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Most tour take their group photos here. No idea why.

Asap into the castle, I entered into another queue for the audio guide. Loads of languages to choose from. Although the queue looked scary, it was a fast moving queue. About the audio guide, here was what I found:

  • Audio guide didn’t not allow headphones. I had to hold it like a phone to listen to it.
  • The castle’s audio guide was semi-automated. While I was on the ground floor, I couldn’t actually choose the “number” that I wanted to listen to. The audio played the track based on where I was physically. Personally, I found it highly annoying and confusing to use.
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This area was blocked off. That’s why it’s a clean shot.

Louis XIV was the man behind this colossal of a castle. Although it was actually Louis XIII that kick started the place. It was initially just a hunting lodge when he first commissioned it back 1624. Louis XIV later decided that Louvre was not good enough any more, so he moved to Versaille and started to build the home of his dreams. Let’s check out what he did with this hunting lodge…

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The royal chapel. This area was blocked off too. “Clean shot” spot.
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The Hall of Mirrors must be one of the most famous room from the palace. This is how Palace of Versailles is advertised. Photo from Versaille tourism site. Original source: versailles-tourisme.com 
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This was the Hall of Mirrors that I saw. I’m 157cm, 5ft 3

This “hunting lodge” clearly became an enormous gild galore under him. Louis XIV just kept on developing it. He added opera house, tons of rooms… just more more more. He clearly meant business when he expressed that he wanted a decorated castle. To label the castle’s decoration as elaborate is an under statement.

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This was King Louis XVIV’s bedroom.
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Louis XIV & Marie Antoinette had their meals in public… as in there will be people watching them eat and comment on their manner, meal, outfit and whatever.

O, like to mention that I’ve experienced an “episode”. The lady at the exit told me not to be rude and asked if could I not see that she was talking to someone else. What she failed to realise was:

(A) I did not speak at all. LOL

(B) Walking pass her did not translate to initiating a conversation.

(C) Did I mention that she was working at the exit? Assuming people that walked pass her was trying to get her attention for some conversation must be really intense.

Conclusion: I must have been so rude to have walked pass the exit without saying hi. LOLPalace-of-Versailles-garden-8361After passing the “lovely” castle exit lady, one will find some peace and calmness in the garden. *separate entrance fee, unless you have the annual card / combo ticket. The landscape was gorgeous and immaculately maintained. Not sure why they chose to “hype” up their musical fountain. It’s really not that exciting or impressive. Their garden itself was way more captivating than their “musical fountain”. I maybe the odd person though.

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There was classical music… but hey, I was totally underwhelmed.

Palace-of-Versailles-garden-8447My personal highlight was definitely the boat rental. Such a lovely way to end the day! You know, take a stroll in the royal garden and “sail into the sunset”. I just loved it!

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Row a boat on The Grand Canal. This was our lovely volunteer 😉 he row like a pro

If still feeling strong, can hop over to estate Trianon aka pink marble mini-palace. Please note that this is ONLY opened in the afternoon (after 12h00). It’s a 30-40min walk? I cannot verify the fastest walking time, I was too busy taking photos like a tourist. The official site says 30min walk, but hey, who knows how they came up with that timing 😛 There’s mini-train / vehicle that heads that way too. Walking is fine. **again, separate entrance fee unless you have the annual card / combo ticket

 

This post is getting a bit long. I’ll do a post on Trianon estate separately 😉 O, and we haven’t even got to talk about Marie Antoinette’s little farm girl dream house.

 

I am really fond of the Palace of Versailles. There’s just so many interesting things to see and do.

Tips

  • If you plan to visit the palace twice, it is worthwhile to take the annual card. 1 year unlimited access, skip the line, discount & value for money. Plus exclusive “behind the public access” sort of tour.
  • Annual card office is a separate building to the regular ticket office. If there’s a long queue, chances are you, you’re in the wrong ticket office. http://en.chateauversailles.fr/subscribers/subscribe#prices
  • The ladies toilets near the castle exit has MASSIVE queue – only for gals who can hold it in for 30min. Best bet is the toilet on the right asap you walk pass the audio guide counters. That one has virtually no queue. I am totally hinting that if you’re in a hurry, run back towards that toilet.
  • Another quiet toilet? Ticket office’s.
  • Angelina (restaurant inside the castle) take-away sold mega dry bread sandwiches. Their bread tasted like drought. If food means anything to you, I highly recommend that you bring food with you into the castle.

 

How to get there?

Château de Versailles is NOT in Paris. It is situated in zone 4. Good news is that it is covered by the navigo card unlimited travel plan. From central Paris, it takes anything between 1 hours to 90min train time to get there. Plan ahead is essential.

 

Train is the way to go and believe me… the train station (not the metro) is complicated like the French language itself LOL 😛 Okay, it is not so bad, just need to be more careful than when you’re going on a metro.

  • On 1 platform, there are multiple trains that will only stop at certain stations.
  • Can be on any platform, you’ll need to check the information board to find out which platform number you need to be at. E.g. Train to Versailles can be found at platform 10 and 13 etc… depending on the scheduled train
The Battles Gallery, Palace of Versailles
The Battles Gallery

Prices

Please note that for under 26 free entry (EU resident) only applies to the castle itself. For the garden and the “farm house” (estate Trianon), it’s a separate charge (each). Visit their official site for price / combo ticket information.

http://en.chateauversailles.fr/plan-your-visit/tickets-and-prices

Under 26 (EU resident) can queue directly for the castle without visiting the ticket office. The rest of us must purchase the ticket before queuing. And yes, the ticket office is a separate queue. Pre-purchase ticket online is highly recommended on saving some time. The ticket office is quite pleasant though 😉

Camera: Canon 5D mark 3 *I felt a bit pointless to use DSLR for this post. After compression so much detail was lost.

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Author

Hi, I am Joyce. 30+ living in Paris. Laughs a lot. Rooibos tea. Appreciate little things. Explore places. Fighting beauty OCD.

9 Comments

  1. Oh these places with queues make me feel like I’m wasting my life 😀 We skipped the inside of the palace, just visiting the gardens and I never even regretted it 😉

  2. Hello Joyce!
    What a great post!

    I am planning to visit Versailles in June 2018 and interested in trying to skip the queues as much as possible (me and everyone else, ha!). I will be spending 2 days exploring the palace. I have a question about the annual pass – does it have its own entrance queue and you can skip the enormous security line for regular tickets? I am also looking into the King’s apartment tours (for 7 euro) that allow you to skip to the front of the security queue, but would honestly rather not have to take the same tour twice to skip the queue, ha ha.

    If the annual pass has it’s own line I think I would rather do that!

    Thanks again for this great post!

    • Hi 😄 thank you for dropping by.

      The annual pass allows you to skip the huge palace queue; go to the front of the regular queue and show security your card.

      If you’re really into history, taking the talk tour is great. Super informative.

      For 2 people (2 days), the best deal is their annual duo card. You get discounts at their tours, restaurants, shops and even their boat rental. Plus free audio guide. 😉

      • Awesome! I thought it sounded like the best option, but thank you for replying and confirming! I can’t wait to try out the boat rental and will definitely take the tours!

  3. Fascinating images and text Joyce. What is this free under 26?? ageism?? My wife has been there but I have never left the Pacific Rim.

    • Hey, Denis 😀 Yes, it’s ageism LOL so unfair, I am full time student now and not all the student benefit applies because I’m about a certain age.

      You have plenty of fun and joy around Pacific Rim 😉

  4. Hello! Nice to see a post from you! 🙂
    The palace is over the top opulent! Haha I love how you show the Hall of Mirrors from the advertisement versus reality! 😛 I’m surprised there were not more Chinese tourists.
    That exit lady sounds like a bitch!
    Is that girl behind the rower wearing a beret? How stereotypically French of her! 😆 The boat ride does sound lovely.
    Drought bread sounds horrendous though.

    • Hey, twin~~ xox long time no see~~~ when will you be back? Saw your twitter “announcement” 😉

      Chinese tourists are in the mix, it just that there are so many people from all over the world. Ja, their bread sucked bad; such a bad rep for France 😛

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