Please sign in to post.

Versailles and The Louvre in one day?

I will be in Paris the last week of March 2017 and am trying to plan out a rough itinerary of what to see on what days. We will be arriving on a Sunday morning into Paris have a total of 4 days (leaving Thursday AM). We are going to purchase the Paris Pass to see a lot of the city's attractions.

I want to try to maximize our time by avoiding long wait times at major attractions, specifically with Versailles and the Louvre since those sound like the busiest attractions. From what I've read, it sounds like the busiest days at the Louvre are Sun/Mon and it's closed Tues, while busiest days at Versailles are Sun/Tues and closed, Mon which leaves Wednesday the best day to avoid the worst crowds for both of these attractions with our schedule. We plan on heading to Versailles early morning Wednesday to get there a little before opening and spend most of the day there (heading back to Paris maybe around 3-4pmish depending on our mood).

Since Wednesday is a day that the Louvre is open later, would it be too ambitious to try and visit the museum for a couple hours that evening after returning to Paris since it sounds like lines are much shorter at that time? We want to follow the Rick Steve's tour which says to allow for at least 2 hours, and while I realize the Louvre is huge we don't necessarily care to spend a ton of time there as we aren't the biggest art fans but definitely want to see the museum.

Or am I overthinking the size of the crowds at that time of the year? Your comments/suggestions are appreciated!

Posted by
1425 posts

You're probably over-thinking it since March is not nearly as crowded as, say, June. But even if you can do both Versailles and the Louvre on the same day, both are pretty exhausting. Do Versailles on Tuesday and the Louvre on Wednesday.

But since you're "not the biggest art fans" you may want to question going to the Louvre at all. Don't waste precious vacation time at the Louvre because you think it is expected of you. Personally, the only things I like there are the ancient Greek stuff and the Dutch masters (I'm more of an Orsay guy).

Posted by
8293 posts

No one will disrespect you if you do not go to the Louvre. If all you really want to see is the museum itself, you would be better off doing an internet tour. The place is vast, enormous, more than huge and if art is not all that interesting to you, you will exhaust yourselves for little reward. Instead, visit somewhat smaller museums and really appreciate what is on offer.

Posted by
3936 posts

My husband and I aren't much for art, but the statuary at the Louvre...for us...was interesting.

Now, we are doing our 4th visit to Paris this April and we may finally hit the d'Orsay! And we are also going to Amsterdam and...quelle horror!...we don't want to go to Anne Frank House! Go only if it really calls to you...it was our second trip before we visited Versailles. Maybe your best bet is just to see how you feel after Versailles.

Posted by
1306 posts

We did this last year. We had visited on a previous trip but we were there with our family including grandchildren who had the same idea as you. We had a list of what they wanted to see and spent less than 2 hours there. We were tired from lots of walking at Versailles but we all agreed visiting the Louvre that evening was a great idea and we all felt rested the next morning.

Posted by
1186 posts

Well, we like art and we managed to see a large part of the Louvre in a single day, but it was exhausting. The following day we did Versailles, a bigger crowd there, after a long morning in the palace we skipped the garden as we were happy but exhausted again. I cannot think doing both in a single day even if your pace is faster.

Posted by
5262 posts

Your logic about timing is impeccable, but your feet and brains may not be after this marathon day. Late March crowds won't be as bad as in summer but they could be a factor, so you're not overthinking the issue. But you could also visit the Louvre on a different morning if it has that high a priority for you. If not, give both sights a try that Wednesday, with the understanding that after Versailles you might rather do something (or nothing) else. The Louvre will be there for your next visit if you don't get to it this time. (So will Versailles for that matter.)

Posted by
7135 posts

I'd build my focus around these main sights for the days you have.

Sunday
Sacre Coeur & Montmartre
(Plus a stop at the Arc de Triomphe)

Monday
Saint Chapelle, Notre Dame, Louvre

Tuesday
Versailles

Wednesday
Eiffel Tower, Invalides, Musee d'Orsay

Include my Right Bank walk ...
Invalides > Pont Alexandre III > Grand Palais > Place de la Concorde > Madeleine > Opera > Place Vendome > Tuileries Gardens > Musee d'Orsay

Posted by
5149 posts

Go with David in Brisbane's schedule. Versailles is a monster. Plus, it's outside the city, so you have to factor in transportation time.

And they don't take away your passport if you don't go to the Louvre. If you want to go just to say you've been, drop in, walk down a hall or two, see the Venus de Milo, and leave.

If you can find it, there's a wonderful bit Art Buchwald did many years ago called "The 5-Minute Louvre." Find it; surely it's online somewhere, or your local library may have some old Art Buchwald records. I believe it's also an essay in one of his books, but for the full flavor, find the audio version.

Posted by
7135 posts

Oh, and buy the Paris MUSEUM Pass, as well as a CARNET of 10 metro tickets - much cheaper than Paris Pass.

Posted by
3486 posts

I will add another perspective to consideration of the Louvre - The collection within only goes to about 1850 , if you are not that much of an art lover , you MIGHT find it somewhat " dry " . The Orsay would likely be a better fit , in that the work there focuses , in part , on impressionist , and related art styles , more easily accessible if you are a novice . Nothing wrong with being a novice , all art lovers were so at the start . My wife and I have spent a great deal of time in art venues both here at home , as well as overseas , and over a period of fifty years , our tastes and knowledge have continually evolved , it's a learning experience that only ends with death . Best wishes !

Posted by
317 posts

Jane, I was curious about the Art Buchwald piece you mentioned, and found a link. It is funny! Thanks for suggesting it; https://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+six+minute+Louvre-a03453390

Our family spent a very hot day in the Louvre, escaping the heat wave. We left after 6 hours (including a lunch), retreated to the hotel and more reliable cool air, and then went back for the evening hours to see the Egypt section. I am a big fan of the evening hours - both at the Louvre and at the Musee d'Orsay. It was a much calmer experience for us. There were still vast areas we didn't see at all - and that was fine. We enjoyed what we did see.

Laurie

Posted by
646 posts

Yet more about art choices. There is no rule in any museum that you spend time looking at art that does not interest you and it isn't a moral failing not to like famous art. If you go to the Louvre, spend some time online looking at the things you might see there. Once you find a time and place whose art speaks to you, go straight to that wing, see it well and stop only for anything else if it calls to you. For me the things I most want to see in the Louvre are Dutch Masters. But you see what you want to see.

If you really just want to see the Louvre itself, view it from the outside and indulge in a little shuadenfrauda whilst gazing at the lines to get in.

There are a number of smaller art museums well worth the time and not so overwhelming: The Orsay (Impressionists mostly, but some art nouveau too) and the building is worth seeing just for itself. Make sure you visit the huge clock faces serving as Windows. The Rodan, his sculpture shown both in an indoors and outdoors setting. The Cluney, mostly local mideveal, with Roman remains. The Orangerie, Monet's waterlilies on huge canvases, plus more Impressionists. The Pompidou, modern art and truly fantastic city views without line or effort.

Posted by
25 posts

Thank you all so much for the input! We definitely want to give the Louvre a try and there are a couple things I would be interested in seeing. But if we feel we are too tired or not in the mood to go due to crowds, etc, then it's something we're fine with scheduling for another trip. Versailles is definitely a must see for us so we'd rather spend as much time as we want there and play the rest of the day by ear.

Posted by
6725 posts

The Paris Pass is a rip off tourist product; get a Paris Museum Pass instead. The way to skip line at the Louvre is to have your museum pass; the way to skip lines at Versailles is to get there half an hour before it opens or to book a King's Apartment tour which lets you enter by a special entrance; it does cost on top of the ticket. With the Museum Pass you use a special line at the Louvre Pyramid or Carrousel and a special line at the Orsay although lines are less likely to be an issue in March. Going in the evening doesn't gain you much in March (other than being able to use the evening hours if you like.) Note also that the museum begins to roll up at least half an hour before closing, so don't assume you have that last half hour.

I love museums and would never go to the Louvre and Versailles on the same day -- Versailles needs most of a day and both are arduous. If you only do the Chateau at Versailles and not the wider estate, you would certainly have time to do both if you wanted, but I'd probably do a leisurely special dinner that night and tackle the Louvre in the morning.

Posted by
4776 posts

Taerbear87,

I agree with Janet, the Paris Pass is a rip off. The Paris Museum Pass includes entrance to Versailles, as well as many of the museums & monuments.

You may find this post helpful, as it explains the difference between the Paris Museum Pass vs. the Paris Pass.

Posted by
3336 posts

Long day but definitely doable! I love the Louvre in the evenings...my suggestion is to have a plan of specifically what you want to see since it's massively huge and you're going to need to be very selective. I've been there on several of the late evenings and it really is much less crowded than during the day.

Posted by
31519 posts

Although crowds will not likely be as much of a problem in March, I would not go to Versailles on a Tuesday (I know, as I've experienced that). You may still have to contend with tour bus groups, as well as those who are unable to visit the Louvre that day.

Visiting the Louvre and Versailles in one day is certainly possible, but it will be a tiring day and won't allow you to see as much. The gardens at Versailles are huge and if you wanted to see sights other than the Chateau, that will take more time. As I recall, the gardens may or may not be covered by the Pass, depending on whether the musical water shows are happening.

If you just wanted a brief view of both, you could spend the first part of the day at Versailles, return to Paris and tour the Louvre in the evening, when it's open until 22:00 on Wednesday and Friday. The Louvre is also huge and depending on what you want to see, I'd suggest limiting your visit to one wing. The Denon wing is perhaps the most popular, due to the Mona Lisa (be vigilant for pickpockets while there).

Posted by
2466 posts

I don't see the problem with combining a trip to Versailles and the Louvre. It will be a full day, but not necessarily exhausting.

It will take 6 to 8 hours, including round-trip transportation, to do justice to Versailles.
If you want to see things that others can't, purchase the Private Tour of the King's Apartments. You go through Security, like everyone else, then go to a specially-marked entrance. After your 90 minute tour, you can re-enter and visit the interior and grounds after most of the crowd has left.

Go back to the hotel, eat something, take a nap.

Then make a short visit to see the things that interest you at the Louvre. It would be a very good idea to use the official Louvre website to help you pinpoint where things are - the place is enormous and confusing.

Posted by
4125 posts

I think a modest Louvre visit is feasible on your Versailles day, or any other day it is open. The trick is to know beforehand what you will see, and to remember that you can't "do" the Louvre even on a longer visit.

Your crowd-avoiding strategies are admirable, and echo the kind of planning I do personally, but you will be visiting some of the most popular sights in France. Justly so. There will be crowds (just try to see the Mona Lisa!) and you will just have endure them.

Posted by
178 posts

Even though you are going in March, it still takes a fair bit of time to get to and from Versailles and the tour there. It will take up a good part of the day just for Versailles.

If you aren't a fan of art then don't go to the Louvre. There are so many other places to see that may be of more interest to you.

Posted by
5149 posts

Laurie, thanks for the link. And the correction - it is indeed "The Six-Minute Louvre." The version we have on vinyl is slightly different; in ours when the fellow stops at the Mona Lisa he says "I know the guy who has the original." And I don't remember the line about the Rape of the Sabine Women in ours.

Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by
2329 posts

I was in Paris in May and spent a long (cold and rainy) day at Versailles, then upon returning to Paris around 4 I had time and energy to visit L'Orangerie and explore the Place de la Republique area. I saved the Louvre for Friday night as I had done my research and knew that much of the art in there wasn't to my taste and focused solely on the French and Italian paintings section. That and seeing the beautiful interior of the Louvre was very satisfying for me, spent maybe 2 hours. So, yes, depending on what pace you take and how long you spend at Versailles, and how much you want to see at the Louvre, you could do both in one day.

Posted by
7135 posts

I have first hand experience at trudging through a vast museum (Hermitage, St Petersburg) when you are dead on your feet - it's a pointless experience as you really are incapable of absorbing anything or appreciating the art.
Realistically you won't be back in Paris until at least 3-4pm, and if you've spent a long time walking the gardens at Versailles then the Louvre would definitely be a hard slog.

Posted by
25 posts

The last thing I want to do is over plan the trip and be too tired to do everything, so it sounds like it might be best to try to plan for a couple hours at the Louvre a different day so we can take it easy after Versailles. And thank you for the Paris pass tips - it does look like the museum pass is a better deal.

Posted by
7135 posts

Just note that Versailles and Musee d'Orsay are both closed Monday, with the Louvre closed Tuesday. So it makes sense to schedule the Louvre for Monday, leaving Orsay and Versailles for either Tue/Wed.

Posted by
8398 posts

The Louvre is more crowded when the Orsay is closed. And the Orsay is more crowded when the Louvre is closed. I would go to the Louvre at 5:00 ish when it's open late as others have suggested. Just play it by ear and see if you have energy after Versailles. We've done it and enjoyed both.

Posted by
13688 posts

We are going to purchase the Paris Pass to see a lot of the city's
attractions.

Ditto to the posters above who advised against this one. Buy the Paris MUSEUM Pass and a carnet or two of metro tickets instead. The Paris Pass is ridiculously overpriced, and you will probably find that you walk more than you think you will (best way to see Paris).

Personally? With only 3.5 days, I would leave a question mark behind Versailles. There is a LOT to see in Paris itself, and the early spring weather might not cooperate for the gardens. You could also make better use of your pass staying in the city than devoting so much of a day to the chateau. I realize that it's a big draw for a lot of folks, and not everyone wants to see as many of the attractions in Paris as we maybe did but it's something to consider?

Posted by
2466 posts

If you can be home by midnight, and if you plan on using the Metro and Bus system a lot, you might consider purchasing the Mobilis Pass - the advantages are:
Only one ticket used per day, from start of service until midnight.
You must validate ticket each time you enter Bus or Metro.
You can transfer and backtrack on Buses, without worrying about the 90 minute time frame. This is not possible with "carnet tickets".
No fumbling around trying to tell which tickets have been validated already.
You have one ticket to show if an agent asks to see it.

You can buy the Mobilis Pass at the same vending machines where carnets are sold.
If you're not going to the airport, you'll need Zones 1 - 2, cost is 7.30 EU/day per ticket.

Posted by
13688 posts

Just to mention that my husband and I barely got through one shared carnet of tickets over an entire week so it was a good deal for us. It all depends on how much walking you like to do? Just dispose of used tickets immediately when you're done with them and you don't have to worry about sorting them.

Posted by
8398 posts

Be sure to keep your used ticket until the end of your journey and after you've exited the Mêtro. You can be stopped anytime by the Mêtro police who will ask you to show them your validated ticket. You'll be fined if you can't produce it.

Posted by
45 posts

Skip the Louvre and go to the Orsay.....we go again and again.

Posted by
618 posts

I highly recommend the King's Apartments tour - it was fabulous! Definitely worth your while and extra dollars. It was a highlight for us, a very small group through some very special rooms in the palace.

I would also recommend taking the little train to Marie Antoinette's hamlet, or having a ticket to ride it back. It truly is a long walk. You can't hop on without a ticket and boy did I wish I had a ticket after all the walking we had done after touring the gardens.

We also used an app on my iPhone for the Louvre that gave an excellent "highlights" tour in two hours. A great first-time visit for casual visitors. Hopefully they still offer it.

Posted by
5697 posts

Actually, you can see some great stuff at the Louvre by just looking up -- remember, the building was a palace before it was a museum. Ceilings, moldings all very over-the-top regal.

Posted by
11450 posts

Well I love the Louvre and Versailles. I actually can't understand folks who prefer the Orsay ! I have been to Versailles at least 12 -13 times , Louvre about 8-9 times and Orsay at least 4-5 times ( over several decades !lol)

Look , if it's a crap weather day , rainy and cold , you will likely spend very little time in gardens at Cersailles and may easily be back in Paris by 2-3 in afternoon , allowing yourself an hour or two rest before you hit Louvre . However if it's a nice day you should spend a few hours in gardens visiting the Pettit and Grand Trianons as well as Marie Antionettes Hamlet , so to me this is pretty much a weather dependant day .

I still don't understand how people prefer impressionist art over Anicent Egypt or seeing the amazing decorative arts and jewels at the Louvre , or Napoleons Apartments !

Posted by
27 posts

Don't do it! Unless you go on a Wednesday or Friday when the Louvre is open late. You could get to Versaille early, return to Paris mid-afternoon, then go to the Louvre until 9:30 pm. Otherwise you'll be rushing, stressed, and won't enjoy your vacation! Me, personnally, I loved both but I love art and history and spent a full day at each of those beautiful landmarks. Do what you enjoy, not what you "should."
Lisa

Posted by
5 posts

Don't do them on the same day. Give yourself time at Versailles to enjoy; it is HUGE. With the MUSEUM pass, as folks mentioned, you will have no problem with lines and you can opt into seeing the Trianon if you feel like it.

For the Louvre, if the line is long from outside, enter from the Carrousel du Louvre mall which is underground. I have found that entrance to be less busy.

If you want to go up the Eiffel Tower, book your admission in advance on their website and print off your ticket. You'll save a lot of queue time and ascend quickly.