Since the Palace of Versaille is crazy crowded, are there any recommendations for an alternative palace to visit with similar "attractions"? TIA
On my recent trip to Paris I went to Versailles, but you might take a look at the write-ups for Fontainbleau. Or go to Versailles and tour the gardens first. The palace wasn't too crowded at 4:30 on a Thursday in late April.
Vaux le Vicomte. A smaller (much smaller by relative comparison) version of Versailles designed by the same team of architects and landscape architects. Louis XIV was so impressed, he had the owner (his finance minister) jailed and hired the team to design Versailles.
I second Vaux le Vicomte - beautiful chateau and gardens. Plenty of tourists but not the crushing crowds of Versailles! Stay late into the evening for the millions of candles they light in the gardens and the fireworks. Magical!
The three stated are the most usual suggestions. Vaux-le-Vicomte is slightly more difficult to get to using public transport.
I second (or fourth) Vaux-le Vicomte. Really enjoyed our visit there. Previous comments about the place are right on.
Fontainebleau - only about 50,000 people travel there.
There is only Vaux de Vicomte that has much "buis" and they're dying off, fast.
Thank you all for your wonderful comments and suggestions! :-)
If you enjoy musuems the Chateau Chantilly does house the Conde Museum.. second only to the Louvre in its collection of paintings by Italian and French masters.. mostly 18th and 19th century..
The grounds are lovely.. and of course.. there is a cafe in the grounds that sells the best strawberries and Chantilly Cream you will ever have.. reasonable prices.
I have been to Chantilly 4-5 times now ( had a relative that lived in nearby town ) and love it every time.. no crowds or lines..
Also the Royal Stables and horse museum are across street and worth a look..
Town is quaint and peaceful..
If I went back to Versailles it would be on a blue fox bike tour. Basically you tour the gardens in the morning and go into the palace when the crowds have died down.
Anita: Vaux le Vicomte with the candles and even some nights with fireworks indeed looks amazing!
It was one of our more memorable nights in France! The evening started out clear with the gardens all lit with candles. About two hours later we were inside the candlelit chateau while a massive rain and lightning storm was going on outside...it was like something from a movie!
Historically, I would say Fontainebleau. I went back there this time, early May, had not seen the town and Chateau since 2010. Some definite changes in the town,,,,obviously.