We will be in Paris for a limited amount of time, and am wondering if Versallies is a must see? I have always wanted to see it since my Professor in College spoke of it in class, but do not know if it worth the day trip? Does anyone know how long of a commute it is from Paris?
It is worth it but do not shorten your Paris must sees. Frankly there is so much to Paris that is wonderful. Assume you will return someday and see Versailles then. I have been to Paris 10X and still marvel at this incredibly beautiful city. I have been to Versailles 2X but would go again given the chance.
Cannot agree more with prior poster. Paris is exceptional. Versailles is about 45 mins from Paris and is easily reached by Metro/RER combo.The grounds are marvelous and unforgettable, the palace a jumble of forgettable rooms.
With only two days in Paris I faced a similar dilemma. Plus one of my days was a Sunday, when the palace is not open. If the weather is good, I would definitely go- as long as it is not pouring rain and if you love history. I toured the Cluny just as it opened (metro there) and after two hours caught the RER for Versailles; very easy- I was back by late afternoon even getting lost on the return trip to the station there! Seeing the grounds (their beauty and epic scale) really helped bring the Revolutionary era into context, especially when I toured La Conciergerie the next day. I also adored Pere Lachaise! Don't do what any of us suggest- follow your own interests- and see what you have always dreamed of seeing!
Jessica - seeing Versailles was a highlight of both of my Paris trips. Saw it the first time with my husband and teenage stepdaughter, then again several years later with husband and 2 pre-teens. I will say the 2nd time was better as it was in July, the weather was beautiful, we saw more of the grounds. The first time was in March and it was raining/sleeting so we did not do the gardens/grounds but marveled at the actual palace. To this day having seen it gives us a reference point - for instance, talking about other palaces, etc. we really know the meaning of "it is the equivalent of Versailles" or "it is not at all like a Versailles". The trip was easy to do - we were back in Paris for the afternoon so yes - my vote is that Versailles is a Must-See.
I tend to agree that Versailles is a must see, and I would go there on the bright and early on the first day of nice weather you have. It's best to go when it's nice. If you encounter rain during all of your stay, I would skip it till the next time. Visiting the gardens and the queen's hamlet, etc. is essential.
Jessica, You have to go and see it once. You'll then understand why there was a French Revolution!
I vote "yes, Versailles is a must see." The 45 minutes on the train goes quickly and you'll get to see some of Paris's outlying areas (i.e. how the real people live!). The building is stunning. The gardens are just as spectacular; however, we were there during the summer and on a "fountain day" when the fountains are running--you'll probably have a different experience this time of year. I agree with the previous poster, that to put history in context, everyone should see the ostentatiousness of the French royal court.
Jessica, it wasn't until our third trip to France until we visited Versailles. As the other posters commented, it's a great place to visualize events of era around the Revolution. The other thing you'll notice is how big the place is. I would VERY much recommend renting one of the golf carts. Without it, you wouldn't see very much of the grounds without an ordeal approaching a death march. The golf cart includes a map and recorded commentary in English. Our visit was on a very hot day, which made the cart that much better.
We will be visiting in late December, so the gardens may be closed? Thanks for the input everyone! We will make the stop for sure!
We've been to Paris a number of times, and to Versailles a couple of times. It is definitely interesting, but if I were in Paris for less than a week, I think I'd wait for another time. I would try to go on the day of the week that they turn on the fountains in the garden, although I'm not sure what day that is.
You have to commit at least half a day for a Versailles visit. You get there by an RER train which you take from somewhere in Paris (the station Rick Steves said to use was closed the last time we went).
It can be exhausting. The gardens are very, very large. The royal apartments are pretty spectacular.
I don't know if I would go in December on account of the short days. It would be fabulous in spring.
Jessica, the gardens will be open in December, but they will be "grounds" not "gardens." When I have visited in mid-winter the grounds and fountains were frozen, but still quite large. Nothing much to see, but not closed.
Versailles in winter is an indoor sport . . . but very few crowds, at least that's been my experience.
We enjoyed the palace and especially the gardens. The fountains are turned on on the week ends from April to Oct. and classical music plays throughout the gardens. Very enjoyable. Check RS guidebook for cost and schedule for fountains.
I spent 5 days in Paris, one of those days was at Versallies. It was the least impressive of the days. Now it was April and the flowers were not in blume, and it was raining lightly. And the fountains were not running. Those are two things that really make it. That is what you see in all the pictures and post cards. So if you are visiting in early spring or fall I would definetly leave for another visit. It is large and a full day is needed. Paris has so much more; Louve, ND ET, Sourbon and on and on. Not to mention that Versallies is very busy all the time.
Just got back from 18 days in europe and 5 of them in Paris. We did go to the Palace(the metro ride is free if you have a eurail pass, just show your pass to the person at the ticket window and ask for the free ticket). Personally, I wasn't too impressed with what was in the rooms(art, decorations, etc.) but I was extremely impressed by the building itself(and the grounds). It is beautiful and huge. I found myself saying that alot on my trip. Of course the Louvre may have the greatest collection of art in the world but I also found the building(formerly a palace, like versailles) awe inspiring. You can do the trip over, see all of the Palace and the trip back in 4 hours. have a good time.
If I had only a limited time in Paris, I would not use any of it to visit Versallies. Paris is wonderful. In my view, one of the top destinations in the world. When we visited Versallies the gardens were not planted, the fountains were not running, and the interior was crowded. Perhaps we just had a bad day but, for us, that was one of the few disappointments we had on a month long visit to France.
We had limited time in Paris. Our friends who lived there suggested we visit the Fontainebleu instead as it was similar and didn't take up so much travel time. We enjoyed it and the town it was in. Don't know how it compares to Versaille.
Versailles is definately a must see, if in Paris at least 4 or 5 days, and if it is in the spring summer or fall I would allow a full day( assuming it is decent weather) if you are going in the winter then it is a 1/2 day trip, and very very very easy to do on the train.
I have been 4 times and I have not really seen it all. I have not gone in the winter though, and yes, the gardens and grounds are so impressive that I spent a fair amount of time in them alone, which if it is cold and rainy I would not do.. so Jessica when are you going?
PS The visit I took two years ago with my 14 yr old son great, as we walked up I asked him if he knew " who used to live here" . He rolled his eyes( like gee what a dumb mom I have) and said " mom we learned all about the French revolution in school already" . LOL
No matter what site you visit in your travels it really makes it way more interesting to have a bit of background, otherwise they are just old buildings.
We will be there in December around the 27th to Jan. 1st.