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Versailles - how strict about food and water in backpacks

Hello, we are in Paris and will be visiting Versailles tomorrow. I always carry a small backpack with a plastic water bottle and snacks. And at just about all the museums we have visited in Paris, they are fine with this. They always inspect the contents, but are OK with it. (One exception: Musee Marmottan-Monet: They let us take the backpack with the food, but required us to leave the water bottles in tray on a shelf near the entrance.) Obviously, it's understood that we aren't going to eat or drink inside the site--the food and drink stay in our pack until we reach a place were eating and drinking is permitted.

Does anyone know if Versailles is like this as well? Are they OK with people carrying snacks and water in a backpack? (Or if not, do they have free lockers or a cloakroom?)

Thanks!

Posted by
3753 posts

Are you asking if guards will look the other way despite the rules at Versailles? They might but they might not. I am thinking not and they do have a storage area. The Louvre allows visitors to bring in snacks and small drinks and same for the Musee d’Orsay so if those were the museums that let you bring food in, it makes total sense. Their rules say you cannot bring excessive food and drinks subject to the discretion of the security team. If I were a guard at Versailles, I would not let you bring food or drinks in because the rules there are clear.

Posted by
75 posts

Mardee, we have found that the web sites are not always updated and do not always reflect actual policies and the current status of facilities. So I wanted to check if someone had recent experience.

Posted by
6695 posts

Travel-Lite, if it's any help, some friends of mine were there a few months ago and they mentioned the free lockers. So either way, you're covered. :)

Posted by
10254 posts

The current status is that the Culture Minister told all national museums to tighten their security against food and liquids after some ecologists started using artworks to make their point. I just got back from Paris this morning and carried no water this past week I was there but stopped in cafés every few hours. Gads, it was hot, n'est ce pas. Hotter in Paris than along the Mediterranean.

Posted by
75 posts

Just got back from Versailles. Here's the current status of what is happening there: It is A-OK to take food and water in plastic/metal bottles into the palace and other site there. And at least in the palace and in the gardens, when going through the security checkpoint you don't even have to pack away your water bottle. You can be openly carrying it in your hand. And I recommend you do carry water because it gets really hot, and there aren't water fountains. Many, many people were carrying water.

We went through multiple security checkpoints (because each area has it's own bag inspection, where they run it through an x-ray machine or visually inspect the inside of your bag). And for sure when they did their visual inspections, our food and water was clearly visible, and they did not comment on it.

In fact, going into the palace, they noticed our metal butter knife (for cutting bread and spreading cheese) in one of our backpacks during the x-ray scan at the security checkpoint. They asked to see it. We opened up the backpack and pulled out our food bag an opened it up in front of them to take out the knife. They didn't comment or object to the food. And after seeing that the knife was a butter knife, they let us proceed with it.

By the way, we took this same bag with food and the butter knife into every major site in Paris that we visited (including all three star sites in the Rick Steves book) without any objection--with the exception of the Marmotten-Monet Museum which required people to leave their water bottles on shelves at the entrance, but were OK with the food.)

Also, at Versailles, I'm sure they had luggage storage somewhere, but I was looking for it and didn't see any signage alerting us to it. Most people had packs of some sort they were carrying. (I expect they want to keep the luggage storage for people who have bigger packs or suitcases and really need it.)

Posted by
75 posts

Anyway, this is why I wanted to ask here. Of course I know how to look at web sites and read what they post there--but oftentimes there is a big gap between what they say on the web site and what their actual policies in real life are. The actual polices can be more or less strict than what is on the web site.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you for asking this question. I had the same query. Yes, I read the website but was also told by friends who had just visited Versailles that they were allowed to bring backpacks (not small handbags) and were allowed to bring a bottle of water. As you can see in this string of comments, some say definitely Do not bring water and food and then there is another response that they were allowed to take food and water to Chateau Versailles with them.

Posted by
75 posts

And if you are visiting Versailles in the summer, I'd definitely recommend bringing a water bottle. I'd bring at least one liter per person. Like I said, when we were visiting, people were openly carrying water bottles through the security checkpoints and also within the palace.

However it is my experience that at many other sites (museums, palaces, etc.) throughout Europe, they don't like to see people holding water bottles, while simultaneously being OK with people having backpacks that contain water bottles. So in general, I think you will usually have better luck in being able to enter a site with a water bottle if it is in a small backpack. Of course, there are always exceptions.

Posted by
75 posts

Just wanted to add that if you bring a water bottle, it's aways a good idea for it to be a plastic bottle that you don't mind throwing in the trash if you have to do so. This is not the time to bring that fancy insulated metal water bottle, or really any water bottle that you would feel bad about having to throw in a trash can.

Posted by
98 posts

Travel-Lite, you wrote, "Just wanted to add that if you bring a water bottle, it's aways a good idea for it to be a plastic bottle that you don't mind throwing in the trash if you have to do so. This is not the time to bring that fancy insulated metal water bottle, or really any water bottle that you would feel bad about having to throw in a trash can."

Does that mean that some venues will require me to discard the bottle, rather than just empty it of its contents before entering with it? That seems like a waste of resources and almost an incentive to rely on disposable plastic bottles, which I am loathe to do.

Posted by
75 posts

NYC Librarian, generally speaking, most sites that make you leave things outside have lockers or cloakrooms--and usually these are free. But a few sites do not. Sometimes they have an unsecured place to put water bottles, but not always. I suppose you'd still be able to just set your bottle down somewhere and hope it's still there when you get back. But if you have a bottle that you would be loathe to loose, it might be best to use a different one.

As to whether they will let you just empty out the water and carry the bottle--I think that would be on a case by case basis. It would depend on the person at the entrance point. Some people at some places might go for this.

But the vast majority of the places will let you take the bottle (especially if inside a daypack) or have lockers or a cloakroom for you to leave it. It is pretty rare for this to not be the case--but there are a few places so you may run into this sooner or later.