Day 3 near Paris: Visiting the Grand Palace of Versailles
Heading Out of Paris
After 2 eye-opening and fun days in Paris, we headed out to Versailles on our third day. To reach Versailles, you have to purchase a billet en France which is valid on both the metro and RER. Take the RER all the way to the Versailles-Rive Gauche station to reach Chateau de Versailles. Do note that you should NOT stop at the Viroflay-Rive-Gauche station. The names are quite similar but if you stop at Viroflay, you are still a long, long way from the Chateau.
Beautiful Gardens of Château de Versailles
Exploring Chateau de Versailles
From the Versailles-Rive Gauche RER station, just walk for a few minutes according to the signposts and you will soon see the Chateau de Versailles before your eyes. Purchase a ticket if you have not bought one online. Do note that queues can be long as many tour groups also choose to visit this palace. Once you are inside, remember to get the audio guide in the language of your choice. Now, you are ready to explore the royal palace of King Louis XIV which showcases French art and furniture of the 17th Century.
In particular, you will discover Versailles' Great Royal Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors and the Queen's Apartments. We took about 2 hours to explore the interior of the Chateau (the main palace). The tour begins at the ground floor and you are led along by signs on a one-way tour. So, do take your time and admire each room before leaving as it will hard to turn back to re-look a previous room due to human traffic. From the ground floor, then head upstairs where more majestic architecture awaits.
Fountain at the Gardens of Versailles
From the Hall of Mirrors to the Trianons
It was here in the Hall of Mirrors that the Treaty of Versailles was signed, signaling the end of World War I. In the room, you will see a reconstruction of the desk where the treaty was signed. In the hall, you will notice 17 arched mirrors to match the 17 windows on the opposite side. Hence, the name, Hall of Mirrors.
After exploring the main palace, take a walk around the Palace Gardens. You will notice uniquely designed fountains. However, the fountains only operate during selected times. Hopefully, someday I will have a chance to see it in action!
If you have also purchased the pass which allows entry to the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon, then you can enjoy a leisurely walk from the Main Palace to the other end of the canal where the other two Trianons are located. It took us about 45 minutes to get from one end of the garden to the Trianons so do remember to factor this into your itinerary. If you would rather not walk, you can choose to take the tram or rent a golf cart. Note that you will have to pay for both choices and it is not included in the price of your entry ticket.
Swans at the Gardens of Versailles
Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon
These two Trianons are close to one another and within easy walking distance. Unlike the main Chateau, the Grand Trianon, is pastel pink in colour and much smaller. It is indeed befitting a queen of Marie Antoinette's stature. Outside the even smaller Petit Trianon, are beautiful gardens. If weather permits, do walk out to the Temple of Love and to the Hamlet. During your trip to the Chateau, you can also stop by the cafes or stalls set up around the palace grounds. There is an Angelina Cafe branch here too.
All in all, Versailles is a great day trip from Paris. We had many choices to select from including Paris Disneyland, which is also easily reachable via the RER. However, in the end, we chose Versailles and we were totally blown away, especially by the grandeur of its gardens! Pay a visit to Chateau de Versailles and see it for yourself.
The Grand Palace of Versailles
More info on Europe
- Day 1 in Paris: The Louvre and More...
- Day 2 in Paris: Exploring Montmartre, Champs Elysees & Eiffel Tower
- Day 4 in Paris: From Marais to the Bastille
- Day 5 in Paris: From St Germain to Champs Elysees
- Day 6 in Paris: Opera, Perfume and Fashion!
- My Week in Italy: Rome
- My Week in Italy: Florence
- My Week in Italy: Pisa
- My Week in Italy: Venice