3 days.. should we go to versailles

Another question.. we arrive fri morning in paris, leave monday morning, should we ( my 18yr daughter and I ) take 1 of our days to go to versailles? I will take every bit of advice, tips, suggestions anyone wants to give me about itinerary, eating( we are staying in the 7th) , sights, passes etc. I will be honest the trip is next Thursday and i have never traveled without my husband and I'm getting a little nervous about it being just us two girls...
thanks for all the wonderful advice I read here!

Posted by Alicia
Bellevue, WA, USA
81 posts

You'll probably just want to keep it open until you find out how much time it takes you to get through the sites in Paris. I think you could do Versailles in 1/2 a day if you start early. The train ride only takes about 40 mins each way. Just play it by ear.

On the first day I would take Rick Steve's Historical tour and the Lourve or Orsay and if time the Eiffel tour before dark. Day 2 could be the other museum and the Champs Elysees & Arc de Triomphe. Day 3 could be Versaille in the morning & early afternoon and something in Paris for the rest of the afternoon. There is so much to do so just make sure you see what you want to and leave the rest for another time. Paris is my favorite city and the food is wonderful too!

Posted by John
Grapevine, TX, USA
80 posts

Having been to Versailles, and considering you have but three days in Paris, I would not spend the time getting there and back. The plan you have outlined sounds very well thought out. I would suggest that you start Sunday morning at Sacre Coeur, and wander the Montmarte for a while. The Dali Museum is quite interesting. Also, don't miss Notre Dame. As always, the earlier you start the longer you will have without running into crowds. Bon voyage!!

Posted by Dave
San Francisco, CA, USA
28 posts


First, you and your daughter will be fine traveling sans hubby. I'm a single dad, and my daughter & I have made several trips to Europe (2 to Paris).

Second, if you have not done so, by all means buy Rick's book on Paris! He has tons of info on transportation, passes, how to beat the crowds, etc.

As for what to do in Paris, it's really up to you and your daughter. what do you like to do on vacation? some people would be bored silly sitting in a cafe all afternoon, while others couldn't imagine standing in a line while on vacation. If Versailles interests you, by all means go.

If you like to shop, start at Le Bon Marche in the 6th (similar to Nordstroms) and wander towards Rue du Four and Rue Dragon. (Rick's book has a walking tour)

If you want art, the Impressionists are at the d'Orsay & the Rodin, while the Louvre is primarily Renaissance art.

Seeing the eiffel tower at night is a given

parks, cafes, patisseries, and crepe stands are everywhere. Stop. Sit. Enjoy.

Posted by Nancy
Mars, PA, USA
213 posts

Michelle, You haven't said what you've planned, but even at this late date, I'd try to get the RS Paris book. Buy a Metro carnet(10) of passes and a 2 day museum pass. On your your first day: buy the Metro passes and get the MP to start tomorrow, do non-MP items (use RS book as you go): the Montmarte walk, climb the Eiffel, and if you're still awake, take the Seine boat ride. Next two days are you're MP days- Don't miss the Historic Paris Walk, Orsay, Louvre, Champs-Elysees Walk. You can do Versailles partially in 1/2 day, but I'd skip it this trip. You and your daughter will be fine, I spent my first trip out of the country alone for a week in Paris, I followed RS book, also stayed in the 7th, and I had a wonderful time. I'm a former art teacher, and spending as much time as I wanted in the Paris museums was heaven...going the wrong way on the Metro was an adventure...and interacting with the locals was wonderful (I was stopped by French people twice asking ME for directions!).

Posted by Ceidleh
Boston, MA, United States
1282 posts

Michelle: If you don't buy the RS guide and your daughter has an iPod, you can download a lot of free Paris walking tours (including Versailles, if you go) through iTunes. Rick Steves offers a lot of free iPod tours, as well as other well-known travel sites (Frommers, etc.).

If you buy a splitter (cheap), you can both listen to the tour through the same iPod.

Paris is perfectly safe for women travelling together or on their own. If you are not fluent in French, master a few simple pleasantries (i.e., hello, please, thank you) and you'll find they are more than willing to switch over to English to help you out. The Paris metro is very simple to figure out.

Versailles is great, but I think it deserves more than a quick half day visit - especially if you want to spend any time strolling the grounds. With just 3 days, I'd save it for another trip.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8720 posts

Michelle, relax I travel to Paris without my husband and have always been fine. I have also taken my 14 yr old son by myself, and this July I am taking my 12 yr old daughter. Husbands are helpful for carrying heavy bags and enjoying a nice glass of wine with ,, but they are not nessesary for travel... you do not need to be nervous about the " two girls thing " Do remind your daughter to ignore men/boys who may try to chat with her(n and you too) , it doesn't take much encouragment , the Parisien women do NOT smile at strange men period, not even to " be polite" .
I do feel very safe there, but I always make it a point to look like I know where I am going( I do not always know where I am going, in fact I always get lost, but, that is not the point, LOL ) don't wander around with a map open looking pathetic, if I am good and lost , I stop at a cafe, have a cafe creme, and then regroup.. much more civilized,.LOL
As for Versailles, that is a personal choice, I love it.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8720 posts

I would wait and see what the weather was like, I think if it is rainy or very cold I would skip it( Versailles) as part of enjoying Versailles is exploring the extensive grounds. Not so fun in rain.
If you are interested in Marie Antionette I believe there is a special exhibit going on in the Louvre right now on her. Check out Louvre website.

Posted by Kristy
Simi Valley, CA, US
83 posts

Hi Michelle, I think it is totally up to you and your daughter depending on what you are interested in seeing. I went to Paris when I was 17 and Versailles was the one thing I definitely wanted to see. It also turned out to be one of my favorite things we did. However, there are a lot of other things as well. So, if you both really want to see it- go- you'll make time for it. And if you feel like that can wait, then you'll have plenty of other things to do in Paris. You may already be considering it, but the Paris Museum Pass is a great way to bypass lines and spend more time seeing the sights.

Posted by BG
Albany, CA, USA
1545 posts

Michelle -- your nervousness will go away instantly once you and your daughter hit Paris -- I know you will have a great time. I went to Paris by myself in January, after 5 trips with companions, and it was my best time! Consult Rick's Paris guidebook and figure out what you want to see, and try to follow a loose agenda to make the most of your time -- but you may want to leave some time for just wandering. I like to walk the Rue de Rivoli from the Place de Concorde to the Hotel de Ville. I agree that you should skip going to Versailles particularly if the weather is not good -- unless it is of particular interest to you.

Posted by Michelle
East Alton, IL, USA
21 posts

Thank you everyone, I feel so much better, and I think we will "Plan" to try to fit Versailles in ( she really wants to) and if it doesn't work or the weather is bad we are ok. But i feel alot better about it being the 2 of us with all the great advice and reassurance:-)

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8720 posts

Michelle, if you don't get to go,( which could be disappointing if daughter is really into it) ,, do remind daughter that the Louvre was also a royal residence and is in fact a Chateau also. There are some amazing rooms/ galleries in the Louvre. Also make sure you check out Napoleons Apartments in the Louvre,, chandilers the size of cars, gold dinner ware, very " palace like", LOL