Previously on Paris 2017, we hustled around the Louvre and walked down the Champs-Elysees to alight the Arc du Triomphe, where we took in a breathtaking view of the City of Lights. We only had one sleep to let our feet recover before another day of abundant walking…
Ben and I woke Friday morning ready for another all-day excursion to the Château de Versailles, aka the Palace of Versailles. We fueled up by stopping by the little café next to our hotel, Les Petites Canailles, for some viennoiseries (aka croissants) (hmu Great British Bake Off fans) and coffee.
We were actually a bit nervous about getting to Versailles because it required us taking the RER (Réseau Express Régional, or Regional Express Network, a commuter line that extends out of Paris) rather than the metro that we were pretty comfortable taking.After a bit of a struggle trying to figure out if our Paris Pass included RER (the pass booklet said it did but we weren’t able to figure out how to make that work out) and narrowly missing our train because only one machine was dispensing tickets due to repairs on the others, we finally made it to Versailles!
Versailles tip: The RER line C will take you to Versailles Château Rive Gauche, so get yourself to a metro station that will let you transfer to RER line C (we went from St. Michel-Notre Dame, which may be the only station where line C stops?) and buy yourself a round trip ticket for 7,3€ (3,65€ each way). The ride takes about 40 minutes and Versailles is the last stop. From the train station, the walk to the palace is a little over 10 minutes over flat ground.
Unfortunately, it was yet another rainy day for us. (Again, we had rain every single day that we were in Paris.) While the sky was grey and tones were muted, it was still pretty dazzling to see how freaking glam and glitzy Versailles is. For all the European royal opulence that I’ve had the opportunity to see, it is still a sight to see every time, that all-gold-everything life.
Versailles tip: The audio tour is informative but fairly slow-paced. It forces you to slow down a bit to listen and learn, which can be good or bad depending on how you want to go through Versailles.
Both of us, Ben in particular, wanted to visit the gardens, but it started pouring when we left the palace and we were then told that our pass did not include tickets to the garden. While our pass did include tickets to Trianon, we weren’t really freely allowed to walk over since we had to bypass the gardens to get there. Feeling a bit defeated and, frankly, very damp, we decided to end our Versailles trip early and take the train back to Paris.
When we got back to Paris, we were famished, having not really eaten lunch at Versailles. (Oops. In our defense, we did try to get lunch but the Angelina in Versailles actually ran out of lunch items!) So, we set out to try the super famous crêpes at Breizh Café (review), which had only just reopened after being renovated!
We really lucked out, as there was one teeny table next to an open window available when we arrived. (People had to wait thereafter, for quite a while!) We were able to enjoy the cool rainy air while still being served delicious Breton-style buckwheat galettes. Since Britanny is known for its galettes, oysters, and hard cider, but the weather was just a little too miserable for us to enjoy oysters, we nommed on crêpes and sipped cider. It was kind of exactly what we needed.
We walked in the drizzle back to our hotel but found ourselves really regretting not ordering more crêpes, so we ventured back out to eat more food and found ourselves at Au Passage (review) for some late night tapas.
If I’m going to be honest, I don’t think Versailles is worth the hype, especially if you have been visiting other luxurious palaces/museums (e.g. the Louvre, the Summer Palace). To tell you the truth, I didn’t want to visit initially, but Ben’s parents told us it was a must-visit. I don’t agree. It’s nice to visit, and definitely interesting if you are interested in the royal family before the revolution, but it didn’t blow my mind and I would recommend skipping it in favor of visiting other places first if you have limited time in Paris.
The gardens may be worth it, as I’ve heard they are spectacular, but on a dreary rainy day, Versailles just doesn’t glimmer as much.
What do you think, would you want to visit Versailles?
What are your favorite royal residences?
What regional French food do you like? We really liked the Breton-style galettes, and were able to try other regional specialties at a French food festival later in our trip!