Difference between revisions of "Versailles"
Revision as of 15:59, 28 May 2009
Versailles   is a city on western edge of the French capital city Paris, now part of the sprawling metropolis within the Ile de France region. Versailles is best known for being the site of the vast royal palace and gardens built by King Louis XIV within what was previously a royal hunting lodge. It is also one of the most wealthy neighbourhoods near Paris.
The Palace of Versailles has been the scene for several historic events, not the least of which was the signing, on 28 June 1919 within the Hall of Mirrors, of the Peace Treaty between defeated Germany and the Allies that brought the First World War officially to an end. The signing of the treaty at Versailles, of course, mirrored the proclamation, in 1871 within the same long hall, of the establishment of the German Empire under the Prussian king, subsequently the Kaiser.
The easiest way to get to Versailles palace and avoid queue is to buy the ticket directly from the Chateau Versailles web-site: it costs a bit more than the usual entrance ticket, but includes railway and metro tickets (to and from), an audioguided tour of the Chapel and Opera House, the King's and Queen's State Apartments, the Dauphin's and the Mesdames' Apartments, the Coach Museum, Trianons and all the temporary exhibitions.
However you can get to the Palace easily by train and buy tickets per attraction once you're there. This may be the best approach if you want to see something in particular or you just want to explore the enormous gardens.
It takes about 40 minutes to reach Versailles from Paris.
There are three different train stations in Versailles: Versailles Rive Gauche, Versailles Rive Droite and Versailles Chantiers. Versailles Rive Gauche is the one closest to the Palace (5 minutes by walk), so this is probably the one you want, but you might end up in another station depending on where you come from.
both Stations are about a 5 minute walk from the entrance of Versailles
Route 171 travels between Pont de Sèvres (at the end of Métro line 9) to Versailles. The bus journey from the station to the Chateau takes approximately 25 minutes.
It's a nice bike ride from Paris via Bois de Bologne and Parc St Cloud. See http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/france/paris/387633911
The main city is easily traversable on foot, however a good network of buses run throughout. Once inside the palace it's possible to hire both bikes and battery-powered golf carts (see section below).
Château de Versailles
One Day Pass (all inclusive) Apr-Oct: €20 weekdays, €25 weekends; Nov-Mar €16; under-18s free. Chateau-only tickets also available : €13.50, museum pass holders and under-18s free. Marie-Antoinette's Estate & Grand Trianon -only tickets : Apr-Oct €9, Nov-Mar €5 ; under-18s free. The grandes Eaux Musicales, week-ends and bank holidays only, Apr-Oct €8, under-18s €6, under-10s free.
Another famous "must see" location on the western outskirts of Paris. Not only does it have enormous historical significance, it is also a very beautiful building. Do other tourists a favor - do not use your mobile phones inside, it ruins the atmosphere. The rear of the palace also is partially covered by scaffoldings. If you plan to visit the palace it cannot be stressed enough that getting there earlier is recommended, because the lines stay very long all day. Even if you have a Paris Museum Pass or similar, you will still be directed to stand in the long line while construction is underway.
Versailles itself (the town) has any number of good places to eat whilst visiting. Once you have made it into the palace grounds, however, it should be noted that it is far more convenient to eat within — the alternative is to hike back into the town, before returning to the Palace (time better spent viewing the rooms and grounds). The grounds are also perfect for picnicking in warm and/or dry weather.
A number of other options exist:
Versailles might not be the best town to party. However it is fairly easy to mix with the locals.
There is a little concentration of bars (and restaurants) on the Place du Marché, at the junction of the Rue de la Paroisse, and Rue du Maréchal Foch. This is where most young people go out at night. Tables outside the terraces are plentiful in the nice months. Exploring the walking alleys from the Place du Marché can also reveal less know restaurants.
Another popular bar with Versailles' youth is the O'Paris, on the Avenue de Saint-Cloud, very close to the Château's Place d'Armes (on the right-hand side when facing the Château). They often play sport events inside. Tables outside are also available when it is warm enough.
Huttopia Versailles  : a nice place to stay, in the forest and very close to the RER (train) station. Ideal for families as it is a campsite with a swimming-pool. Many accommodations to rent (cottages, ridge tents...).