On our first trip to France, we are considering flying in to CDG Paris and heading right to Versailles to spend our first 2 nights. What is the best way to travel between these 2 points? It seems like the train, but not sure if this is too ambitious for first timers. And would it take longer than say, two hours? after the overnight flight, I am not sure if this plan is feasible. We will be going directly in to city on third day to spend the rest of our trip in the 7th arrond. after first visiting Versailles. Can I get some advise from anyone who has done this?
You can work out the route on the suburban train system RER using this guide
I'll add a couple of details to Sam's post. The RER C line divides on the west side of Paris. Be sure you get on a train going to Versailles-Rive Gauche. The trains will have the nameplate VICK.
Id say take the train. RER B to St Michel/Notre Dame and change to the RER C to Versailles. I'd say it would take a bit more than an hour. You can look it up at www.ratp.fr
edit- I checked, its actually just under 2 hours.
A few more details. From CDG to St Michel RER station Paris will take aprox 35 -45 minutes.. then from ST Michels to Versailles , assume about 45 minutes.. this does NOT include time transferring lines. So yes, you are looking at two hours aprox.. plus depending on timeline trains can be crowded and the train to Versailles can be hard to get a seat on sometimes..
You must travel light, there are no porters and there may be stairs involved. Even if there are escalators they do break down on occasion. I personally would not want to do this plan after a 12 hour flight, maybe if I was younger .
thank you all for the good advice. I will try the train and see if we have the energy after the long flight.
MamaK, The trip from CDG to Versailles will probably be a bit of an effort after a long flight, but I'd probably still go for it. I've done longer trips with multiple changes after a long flight, and it can be done. When you arrive at CDG, you'll probably have to join a long queue to buy tickets for the RER. There are ticket Kiosks, but they will ONLY accept Chip & PIN credit cards or Euro coins. I believe there are change machines, so if you have Euro bills, you can convert those to coins. Before leaving CDG, you might consider buying your Paris Museum Pass, if you'll be using one. My Paris Metro app shows the trip from CDG to Versialles Rive-Gauche taking 42 minutes, but I'm assuming that's under ideal conditions. There are a few "wild cards" that will make the trip longer. As I recall, you'll have to walk through tunnels from St. Michel to St. Michel-Notre Dame to get from RER B to RER C, which will take a few minutes. It's an easy walk and there will probably be some talented Violin players or whatever along the way. As Tim mentioned, the correct RER C will have VICK in large letters above the driver's compartment. When you arrive at Versailles RG, you'll have to walk down a few stairs to get to street level. You might find it helpful to pack along a map printout showing the route to your Hotel. I'd highly recommend packing along a copy of either the RS Paris or Pocket Paris Guidebooks. It may save you some money and help avoid problems. You may find it helpful to have a look at the excellent Paris By Train website. When is this trip taking place? Bon Voyage!
While Versailles Rive Gauche ( now labelled as Versailles Chateau) is the closest station to Versailles .. it may not be closest station to hotel. I would confirm with hotel which station you should arrive at to get to them easiest. I have taken the train to Versailles Chantiers and its about a 20 minute walk to Chateau, Versailles Rive Gauche is about 5-10 minute walk to hotel.
Pat makes a good point. Your hotel may be closer to either Versailles-Chantiers or Versailles-Rive Droite. If so, it would be better to take a different train to Versailles. If you give us the name of your hotel, we'll suggest a route. The hotel's website also may give a route. Saint-Michel is a Metro station. RER B trains will arrive at the Saint-Michel Notre-Dame RER station and RER C trains to Versailles-Rive Gauche use the same station. You still will need to walk through tunnels to get from one platform to another.
Post trip note. First, a big thank-you to all who responded to my question. Well, our first trip to Paris is complete, and the highlight was our 2 days in Versailles. Fresh off the flight, (one of us with no sleep) we found the train and made the necessary connections to the right track. We made sure to look for VICK on the front. And you were right, the time was approx. 2hours train time with more for the transfers. We bought our tickets at CDG for travel straight through to Versailles, 13 Euro apiece( a bargain). We also got our Museum Passes right there at CDG before we boarded the train. No lines, no need to prepurchase before the trip. On arrival at Versailles, there are quite a few steps, but we were travelling with one carry-on each, so no problem with the stairs. At this point we splurged on a taxi, so we didn't have to wander around trying to find our hotel. It turned out to be a very relaxing start to our trip, exploring the town of Versailles as well as the beautiful chateau. We could walk everywhere and really enjoyed making this stop a bit longer than the usual day trip out from Paris. Merci!