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Versailles from Mantes les Jolie

Need some advice please.

We are taking the Viking River Cruise that starts and ends in Paris. The last day we will do a walking tour of Mantes les Jolie in the morning. In the afternoon there is an optional tour to Versailles that costs $200.00. We would like to find a less expensive alternative. Any tips on how to get from Mantes les Jolie to Versailles. There will be 4 of us.

Also, we have a one 1/2 day and one full day in Paris before the ship sails. I would like to spend the full day in Chartres. I have been to Versailles. My husband and the the other couple have not. We could use that full day to go to Versailles, but my husband and I toured Vaux le Vicomte last summer, and as I said, I have done Versailles before. So my question: which would you choose: Chartres or Versailles if the trip from Mantes doesn't work out?

Thanks in advance!!

Posted by
4499 posts

I am a little confused by your questions. I'll try and address them as I interpret them.

First - $200 to bus you to Versailles is a rip-off. The 4 of you could likely hire a car/taxi/Uber for less than that. It would be similar to an airport taxi fee, the distance is not all that great but there is no direct train line. The trick is having tickets for the chateau so you do not have to wait in line to buy them. What I am not clear about is what happens at the end of that day? Are you still on the boat that night? You say the cruise ends in Paris, but Paris is a 30 minute commuter train ride from Versailles. I don't know why they'd bus you back to Mantes la Jolie.

It is very possible, although a long day, to do both Versailles and Chartres in the same day. They are on the same train line. Your time in Versailles would be similar to the afternoon visit in the first part of your question. The highlight of Chartres is the cathedral. The average person would be hard pressed to spend a full day there, but perhaps your are not average ;-)

Chartres is amazing, but some people get bored with cathedrals after awhile. So it might be more enjoyable for the group to spend the day in Versailles if it comes down to a choice between them. There is A LOT to do in Versailles, especially if the weather is nice enough to really enjoy all the gardens have to offer.

Posted by
15577 posts

There is direct rail service between Mantes La Jolie and Versailles Chantier station. It is the RER "N" train. It goes once per hour, taking a bit less than 1 hour. Versailles Chantier is about 1/2 mile from the palace, twice the distance of Versailles Rive Gauche.

Posted by
29 posts

Thanks to both of you. I agree...the $200.00 is ridiculous. That is why I am trying to figure out an alternative. The boat will be back in Paris by 6:00 so it must sail while the tour group is at Versailles. I am thinking we could take a train back to Paris from Versailles to meet the boat.

Do you think Mantes les Jolie is worth the morning tour or should we head straight for Versailles after breakfast?

Posted by
2565 posts

When you say "an optional tour to Versailles that costs $200.00" is this a skip-the-line tour with a guide that also goes behind the scenes (rooms not open to the general public)? Because in that case I could see how the price could be worth it. The crowds at the entry are indeed horrible, and crowding is also pretty bad in the rooms the general public can see.

Choosing between Versailles and Chartres, hmmm. They are very different. I've been to Versailles a couple of times but always felt I'd need to return and have much more time -- like two full days -- to really see and appreciate everything at the palace that interests me, let alone get a taste of the town. In contrast, though Chartres is a nice town with a charming historic quarter, basically the cathedral is the "draw" and it can be seen pretty thoroughly in 1-2 hours with the audio guide you rent from the gift shop. (There's a cheaper one available inside the cathedral, but I believe it is only in French.)

Posted by
4499 posts

Good catch Sam. There is a train, so that would be the easiest way to go. And if you need to meet the boat back in Paris later, then it is easy to catch the train (RER C from Gare Rive Gauche) depending on where you need to be.

Posted by
1653 posts

Mantes la Jolie is not worth missing time in Versailles. Really not. There's a very pretty cathedral-sized gothic church, but otherwise it's an economically depressed town, very rough on the edges.

I'd disembark, stroll by the church if it's close, then immediately make my way to Versailles from Mantes La Jolie Station. Be careful, there's a "Mantes ville" Station also known as just "Mantes", which is not the one you'll want.

Posted by
3 posts

I’m also going to be traveling on Viking in October - we are trying to be optimistic that we will be able to go.

Does anyone know where the Viking boats dock in Mantes la Jolie? It looks like it may be a minimum of a 20 minute walk from the river to the station. Are taxis or Uber readily available in Mantes-la-Jolie if we don’t want to walk?

Posted by
6223 posts

there is an optional tour to Versailles that costs $200.00.................. There will be 4 of us.

Is that per person or total for all 4?

What is included in the "optional tour" ?

Posted by
3 posts

It’s $199 per person for a 6 hour tour with transportation. Here’s the description:

A local guide will accompany you to the château, where you will marvel at the extravagance and excess of French royalty. See the state apartments of the king, the Hercules Drawing Room with its magnificent painted ceiling and the famed Hall of Mirrors—the glittering corridor of chandeliers and glass in which the Treaty of Versailles was signed, thus ending World War I. Learn about court life during the 18th century, and see the queen’s apartments and the chamber of Marie Antoinette. You will also explore the vast, elaborate gardens. After lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to your ship in Le Pecq.