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Versailles: Better not going on Saturday/ going Sat bc it's 3rd/final day?

Hi all,

My family and I are doing a super quick trip in Paris. Arrive 07:45 on Thursday, all day Friday, fly out late 21:00 Saturday night. Per our travel expert Rick Steve's we should save Versailles for the last day-that happens to be a Saturday. I was trying to go Friday which is a recommended non-busy day in our book, but it seems stupid to leave city center on the only full day in Paris that we have. Need help with plans!

So, first day would be a semi full/jet lagged day doing Historical walk/Arc de triumph, ride by Notre Dame (seriously considered doing the bus tour thing that's in our book just to have a restful view of the city sites, then Friday, get on a train for Versailles early morning/come back to Paris and hopefully do a 8pm tour of the Lourve (bc its open late Fri's), and then having a partially full day doing Rue Cler and Eiffel tower on the last day. Is this a nuts idea??? Logically it feels like a better idea to save the Versailles visit until the end as Rick recommends even though it is on a busy Saturday, but even that has me worried, if we don't take the full 8 hours in the trip- we would be stuck with our luggage and no where to go? Does anyone have any great ideas??? Part of me is hoping that its the first weekend in October so people will wait to come on Sunday?

Posted by
807 posts

I'm not sure I understand your argument about not leaving the city center on your only full day. If you're that concerned what you'd miss maybe skipping Versailles altogether is the better option. Not to mention you have an hour train ride to and from Paris with a long flight home to look forward to that night. What's your plan for your luggage that Saturday? If staying in Paris you can have the hotel hold it in locked storage after you check out. That might not be convenient if heading for Versailles

As to Friday vs Saturday, one of the reasons Saturdays are so busy is that the fountains are only on during the weekends which is why you have to pay to get into that part of the grounds on those days. On Fridays it's free. You still have to pay to get into the chateaux itself. Both Sat and Sun will be busy days and you'll need times tickets bought ahead or be prepared for a very long line..

I understand you want to see Versailles. Our first trip to Paris we only had 2 partial days and no time to visit it or many other sights. On our second we stayed 3 nights at a hotel next to the palace and still only had time to see the palace itself, the fountains and the trianon complex. Still more to see. The whole thing is like 2,000 acres.

I likely won't be the first person here to recommend skipping it this time, see more of Paris and come back when you can really enjoy it.

Posted by
470 posts

Ok I have to ask is this a first trip to Paris? Because with that short of a trip I would not place Versailles on the short list of must see. By the time you travel to it walk the Palace then the gardens you have blown the majority of any given day and if you stayed in central Paris you could do more. River boat trips bus tours museums the Arc de Triumph etc etc.
Don’t get me wrong it is a nice place to visit but it just is huge and takes tons of Tim and with as little time as you have I think it could be better used in town. Of course with the damage to Notre Dame you have one less thing competing for time but still I don’t think Versailles is that good of use of you very limited time unless it is a #1 must see for someone in your group.

And just because I have to ask. Are you on your way to someplace else? And this is just a long stop over?

Posted by
22 posts

Hi both, thank you for helping- yes this is a entry way over into Europe and we are off to Scotland. I must admit now that we have Notre Dame off our list I thought we could swing it. Our stops planned are Louvre, Orangerie, and Eiffel Tower. Just Ride under Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysees as we arent shoppers. I thought to make the museum pass worth it- add Versailles. Yes this is EVERYONEs first trip to Paris- the strong feeling with adding Versailles is this is likely to be the first and last trip for my parents so I was trying to hit the big list (so passing up the Rodin/Army/Cluny) some of the other sites.

Posted by
4144 posts

Commenting on some minor things I noted in your posts:
- Beware, don't rely on Paris Museum Pass to get you into the Louvre, it's not working as it should these days. There are a few threads about it. Not sure when your trip is, so could be all sorted by then, but in the meantime I'd book tickets directly, without pass.
- Skip rue Cler unless (1) you are actually staying in the area or (2) you need to eat before or after an Eiffel Tower visit. It's a fine street with some good restaurants and cafés in it and nearby, but it's not worth going out of your way for.

Posted by
8395 posts

I love Versailles but i would definitely cross it off your list. You do not have enough time for Paris, let alone Versailles. The best part of Paris are not the sites, it’s leisurely walking and exploring, sitting outside at cafés, and walking through the Luxembourg Gardens. Paris is a beautiful, very walkable city and exploring on foot is a delight. Keep in mind Notre Dame is in the center of Paris and the miles of walkable routes from there are the best imo. Don’t rush to check off sites on a list... walk and enjoy.

Posted by
139 posts

Not much time in Paris is a cryin' shame! Suggest St. Chapelle - absolutely overwhelming stained glass window display. After looking around, stand near the stairs and listen to reactions of entrants into chapel. L'Orangerie is a relatively quick visit as it's holdings do not compare with Louvre or D'Orsay. Plus, the times we were there, the crowds messed up viewing the Monet mural. Eiffel Tower best in evening so maybe Thursday (get tickets on line). Can visit Rue Cler before tower as close by and some good restaurants. Never enough time to cover Louvre, so plan what you want to see. Definitely no time for Versailles. However, if your parents want to skip the museums, send them on Friday tour to Versailles while you stay in Paris. Keep in mind that Versailles is big with LOTS of walking (also true of some museums). Even if all you do is stroll the Champs-Elysees, the Marais or most any neighborhood, you will have a good time and sample La Vie Parisian. Bon Voyage.

Posted by
28100 posts

Just Ride under Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysees

Do you know that traffic goes around the Arc de Triomphe (in a crazy way) and not under it?

Posted by
139 posts

See "LOUVRE MUSEUM -Important Update" by AshleyMIA entry on this forum!

Posted by
807 posts

If possible get a guided tour of the Marais. It was an option on our last visit and I was pleasantly surprised how interesting. Champs- Elysees and Arc de Triumph are must see but no need to linger among the expensive shops, McDonald's and tourists. Sacre Coeur was disappointing other than the view of it from the bottom of the steps. Mostly ended up being harassed by street artists. Do not stop for them unless you want to be guilted into a bad portrait of yourself.

Posted by
8395 posts

Going to the top of the Arc de Triomphe is very worthwhile and enjoyable.