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It's big and crowded. Avoiding the crowds and feeling like cattle being herded through should be your top priority. I opted to try and get my wife up early to beat the tour buses but that was a losing battle and there were long lines when we got there. The lines were longer several hours later so that strategy wasn't the worst but you can do better. We also walked to Marie Antoinette's hamlet and toured the gardens during a fountain day which was great.
My suggestion....take the Blue bike tour that starts in Paris, takes you on the RER to Versailles. You go to the local market to buy lunch for later (which is good because all the food at Versaille was pretty bad) and start with the gardens. Biking around the outer portion and not having to walk to the Hamlet would be ideal. You then go in the afternoon to see the palace and avoid the lines and (from what I've been told) the crowds. From there you are on your own back to the train station and on to Paris but that's not hard to figure out.
I don't think I'd go again soon but if someone asks I'd recommend the bike tour as a good way to avoid the long walks and crowds.

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Richard, that was what I was thinking also if I get back to Versailles: Do the gardens first, then the palace. But my only caveat is that I think I enjoy the gardens more than the palace so I may have to reserve 2 days for the Palace of Versailles - one day for the gardens and another for the Palace.