We are planning an early Sept. trip to Paris. Any thoughts on Versailles. Should we do a tour or do our own thing? do we plan more than a 1/2 day? if No then is their something close to see if we are in the area?
Definitely go, if you'd like to see Europe's grandest, most lavish palace. On our last visit, in July 2008, we didn't even go inside the palace building, but rented bicycles on the grounds and toured the vast gardens behind it. In September, the gardens probably won't be at their most ornate glory, but it's still a sight to behold. This took us the better part of the day.
A half-day trip to the north of Paris is Giverny, Monet's home and waterlilly ponds/garden. The garden's the whole reason for going there, and again, in September, it won't be in full bloom.
We are taking a bicycle trip that combines the palace with the grounds. It's all day via metro from Paris.
Definitely! I've done this a few times on my own. It's an easy train ride from Paris and the palace and grounds are fantastic. I recommend allocating more than 1/2 day. You can tour the palace in a couple of hours and then wander the grounds for as long as you want. The Trianon palaces are neat as well and they are about a 20 minute walk away from the main palace. I would get the Paris Museum Pass for use here. There will be a line to get through security regardless and that may take up to an hour depending on when you go. Sunday will probably be the worst time to go, crowd-wise.
Go for sure , we went in sept , the flower gardens are just about done but still worth doing , spent most of the day walking the gardens ,and Maria Antoinette 's palace , then about 3 o'clock when the crowds had dwindled , toured the main palace , then you can walk into town for a bite to eat , then take the train back to paris .its about a 45 minute train ride , then a ten minute walk from the train station to the palace
I have been many times now over the years.. I recommend you either go on your own ( easy and cheap) or take a bike tour.. I would avoid a big bus tour completely for this site.
Definitely figure on spending more then half a day.. many people underestimate size .. and end up rushing through and then having to skip parts of the grounds.. including the Grand and Petit Trianons ane Marie Antionettes Hamlet.. which frankly more people enjoy more then the palace itself!
Vaughn - Yes, I would definitley go and plan on spending the whole day at Versailles. It is easy to get to Versailles using the Metro & RER. I would suggest getting to Versailles when it opens and just plan on taking your time. I would also recommend going to the Grand and Petit Trianons ane Marie Antionettes Hamlet.
I'd give Versailles a whole day if you can without short-changing the many sights of Paris. It's vast, especially if you want to see the outlying Trianons and Hameau. And the lines can be long -- try to avoid Sunday when many people go, and Tuesday when the Louvre is closed (so many people go).
I've been there twice, once many years ago and again more recently, and I don't feel the need to return. The crowds bummed me out. But if I hadn't been it would still be on my list.
Just to clarify one of the earlier posts, Giverny isn't half a day away from Paris, it's a shorter trip that could take half a day total. Besides the garden there's a fine Impressionist museum and Monet's house, so I wouldn't skip it just because it isn't prime time for plants.
With travel time, plan on a full day! I've been three times and it always is. You can get back to Paris in time for a nice dinner.