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Versailles help/is RER C still having closures?

Hello! We're visiting Versailles in April (on a Wednesday). I've read that the RER C had damage due to flooding and has been closed for work. Is that still happening, or is it safe to plan on taking the RER C to Versailles?

We're staying in Le Marais and our closest metro stop is Saint-Paul (Rue Saint-Antoine, 75004 Paris, France). I know that station isn't one that has RER so we need to get to one that does. I'm confused about the directions on the Boujour RATP app, though. It says:

Saint-Paul (Le Marais) -> La Defense (Grande Arche)
Chatelet (1 min connecting time)
Chatelet -> Bagneux - Lucie Aubrac
Saint-Michel (2 min connecting time)
Saint-Michel Notre-Dame -> Gare de Versailles Chateau - Rive Gauche

What are the Chatelet & Saint-Michel steps? Do I get off at La Defense and then walk to a different station (Chatelet)? I just want to make sure this is the easiest way for us to get there so we don't miss our tour time slot. Thank you! Sincerely, a sad American who doesn't have trains in their city.

Oh, one more question - If I buy the Navigo weekly pass will it cover all of these trains? I don't care that it's $30, I'd rather pay that and not worry about validating or buying multiple tickets. Thanks!

Posted by
1442 posts

Today the RER-C line has service interrupted but you should be fine in April using the RER-C line to reach Versailles. That said, Paris RER commuter train lines sometimes have service interruptions (as the C line has today) for a lot of different reasons. You can take the Metro from the metro station closest to your hotel to reach the St.Michel-Notre-Dame station and then use the same Metro ticket to transfer to the RER-C train which will take you all the way to the Versailles Chateau-Rive Gauche (RG) without any more transfers.
The day I was going to Versailles, a strike stopped the RER-C trains. If the RER-C line has service interruptions, you can take Metro Line 9 to its end station, Pont de Sevres; from here Bus #171 goes to Versailles Palace from Pont de Sevres with departures every 15 minutes.
This Metro 9/ Bus #171 route takes about one hour from central Paris.

Try to tour the Palace as soon as it opens because, in no time at all, there will be mobs of tour group visitors lining up.

Posted by
2337 posts

It’s too early to know which lines might be closed for April. You literally need to look the morning of your departure because closures can happen any time. The RER tends to have frequent closures.

When you use the metro or RER, you need to know the train # and the final destination of the train (not your destination), so you get on the correct train going in the correct direction.

In your example, at the Saint Paul metro stop, you will get on the #1 train that is going in the direction of La Defense.

When you look at the app, the oval that you see in the stop you need to get off at. In your case, you get off at the Chatelet stop. You then need to transfer to the # 4 going in the direction of Bagneux - Lucie Aubrac. This transfer will happen all in the same station. Sometimes it is a long walk within the station. Just follow the signs for #4 Bagneux…

Then you get off at Saint Michel stop. You then need to transfer to the RER C heading in the direction of Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche.

The various train/metro lines have different colors. You’ll notice this in the app. This is helpful in the stations. Also, the map in the app shows the lines in their colors.

I recommend watching some videos that explain how to use the metro. There are tons on YouTube.

Posted by
10 posts

Ah that makes more sense, thank you! I'll watch some youtube videos, that's a good idea.

Posted by
14089 posts

I don't like to change at Chatelet as it's a big station and confusing to me. In your instance, I'd get on the Metro at Saint-Paul, go one stop to Hotel de Ville (City Hall) and then walk across Ile de la Cite to the Saint-Michel RER station.

Or, I'd take the Line 1 from Saint-Paul to Concorde, change to Line 8 and go one stop to Invalides RER C station.

Here's a link to the map of the Metro and RER stations on the RATP website.

https://www.ratp.fr/en/plans

Posted by
1442 posts

I agree with Pam’s observation that the Les-Halles Chatelet station is best avoided unless you’re already familiar with it. It’s quite confusing and incredibly crowded outside as it’s next to the Pompidou Center.

Posted by
3737 posts

You can download the CityMapper app and use it for directions on the day of travel. It will show you all the different options, some of which are mentioned above. Some people find CityMapper a bit more user friendly than the RATP app.

Posted by
31 posts

Another option is to walk to Bastille, take line 5 direction Place d'Italie, and get off at Gare d'Austerlitz where you connect to RER C in the direction Versailles Château (also known as Versailles Rive Gauche)
Or take line 8 from Chemin Vert to Invalides, and connect at Invalides to RER C , also in the direction of Versailles Chateau
Yes avoid Châtelet, even as a parisian i avoid changing there, so many corridors.
Buy advance tickets for Versailles on the château website, no reseller, and get there early
April is when you start having fountains turned on certain days, so double check if the FOutain show is on , otherwise i would go on a different day to catch the fountains being on

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks everyone! I'll make a note to avoid going through Chatelet, that sounds like more than I'm prepared to deal with. @raphaellecrevet, from what I see online the musical fountain shows are (I think) only on weekends in April? We unfortunately can't go on a weekend so we'll just have to see what's happening on the Wednesday we're there.

Posted by
8106 posts

Chatelet is the worst BUT it is well signed so if you must change there you just follow the signs to your line -- we also avoid it if we can but it is not difficult just annoying and involves long long walks.

In the last 10 years RER C has been out of commission in downtown Paris almost every time we have had to use it. The last time we sent to Versailles, we had to get the train on the western edge of Paris as it was not functioning down town. I jsut assume C isn't working unless I hear otherwise.

Posted by
539 posts

@ janettravels44 are you talking about the Ligne L train? It goes from Gare Saint-Lazare to Gare de Versailles Rive Droite, going through La Defense.

Posted by
9720 posts

Another option is to walk to Bastille, take line 5 direction Place d'Italie, and get off at Gare d'Austerlitz

Not currently an option. Line 5 isn't running between Bastille and Austerlitz these days due to construction.

It's supposed to re-open on Thursday, April 18. I don't know whether that will be in time for the OP's "April Wednesday" visit, or not. During three April Wednesdays it will still not be operational; for one April Wednesday, it is supposed to be.

Posted by
31 posts

Indeed, i thought Gare d'Autserlitz was reopening earlier, but it may still be closed when you travel.
So Line 8 from Chemin Vert to Invalides (direction Balard), change at Invalides and follow direction to RERC Versailles Château
You need to buy a specific ticket, buy to go and come back at once, as the waiting line in Versailles to buy tickets can be very long.
I have checked, and it seems that on wednesdays you will not get the fountain show, but the muscial gardens, which is another good option, as some fountains will be on, and also the groves (bosquets). Take a pam at the entrance of the gardens to know where to go, and see the Ballroom grove, the Encelade and the Bath of Apollo groves . Water will not be on in those, but they are spectacular.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you all so much! Our day is April 10th so I made a note of that train closure. I appreciate the help!

Posted by
20289 posts

The RER C line is on the old track bed of a train line that went to the station that is now the Orsay Museum. It hugs the Seine, and as such, it is subject to flooding when the Seine gets high. Some of the track closures recently have been to raise the track level or raise the flood barriers so it does not flood so often.