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Before and after France tour

I’m letting myself fantasize about trips again, and am thinking about the RS Paris and the Heart of France tour. Not usually a ‘tour person’, but this one really appeals to me. I feel the need to bookend a tour with travel on my own (being quite feral and also quite prone to jet lag), and was considering going straight to Versailles upon arrival, staying in town two nights, and wandering the Palace grounds for hours and hours. Then, after the tour, I contemplate staying an extra four nights in Paris, possibly with a day trip somewhere. Does the Versailles plan sound good, and any suggestions for a day trip from Paris? Thanks!

Posted by
14247 posts

That is a wonderful tour, especially for a non-tour person, lol! There is a lot of variety and some of the locations are a bit harder to get to with public transport.

Definitely add on before and after time if you've got the time and budget. I think I added a week or so on afterward. I was doing it back to back with the Best of England so only had an extra night before the tour. I changed hotels because I didn't particularly like where the ending tour hotel was located and went back to the neighborhood I like.

This tour does not go to Chartres so if you are interested in Gothic cathedrals that is a good day trip. I've also enjoyed Chantilly which is a chateau but not crowded like Versailles and different from the chateaux you'll see on the tour. You'll do Giverny on the way back from Bayeux.

I've never stayed in Versailles but it sounds like a good and different plan.

Posted by
2475 posts

Hi, Pam! Thanks so much for the Chantilly suggestion. Read up a bit, and it sounds like quite a happening place.

Posted by
906 posts

Lots to see at Versailles. I didn't fully appreciate how large and spread out it was. 2,000 acres of parkland and garden. The walk from the chateaux to the buildings in the Trianon complex is about 1 1/2 mikes. Also be aware parts of it are free entry, some like the palaces always require a ticket, and sometimes (weekends) the fountain area costs. The hours can be very different too.

Recommend spending some time on the official chateauversailles website. Lots of useful info but takes a lot of reading.

Posted by
7906 posts

Versailles is easy to do from Central Paris, just take the RER out to west of the city and you can walk to Versailles. Plan on almost a full day there if you also do the grounds as well.

Posted by
2475 posts

Thanks, geo. I’d really like to spend a couple of days upon arrival just being able to go everywhere on foot. Also, would want to stay outside most if not all day.

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Posted by
8632 posts

The RS tour doesn't include a visit to the Eiffel Tower either, if that's something you want to do.

Posted by
3961 posts

I would also agree to consider the short train ride to the charming town of Chartres. We stayed 2 nights but one night would give you the opportunity to see the possible light show on the facade of the Cathedral. A phenomenal experience. We also had the honor of taking the Cathredral tour with historian Malcolm Miller. Chartres was a favorite highlight of our Loire to the South of France tour. We spent 4 nights in Paris prior to the tour.

Posted by
169 posts

I think you would be smart to stay near Versailles for a night. Day one visit the main buildings & evening in Versailles "town". Day 2 do the Hamlet/ Trianon and Gardens. You would then be able to train to Paris for joining the tour. I encourage you to stay as long as possible after the tour - you may never run out of things to see and places to visit around Paris.

Posted by
2475 posts

Thanks, Janis and quilter. I have considered staying in Chartres pre-tour - post-tour would be better, I think, as I’d be more awake! Appreciate the info about the light show and Malcolm Miller.

Posted by
33305 posts

Malcolm Miller would be nearly 90 this year. I don't know that he is still doing his tours.

Posted by
2475 posts

Thanks, Nigel! If he’s retired, well-deserved, I’m sure. I might buy his book.