Join Cavaforlunch as we set out to explore the vast estate of the luxurious Versailles.
It is mid-June and the Parisian summer sun shows no mercy to its inhabitants. The city is hot, the Boulevards are boiling beneath your feet, and you cannot go anywhere unless its straight to an air-conditioned patio that serves perfectly chilled bottles of rosé.
So where should you go?
To the countryside, of course.
And what should you do?
Tour the luxurious estate of Versailles, of course.
The magnificent Château de Versailles is only a short train ride away from Paris. Here you can walk in the footsteps of Marie-Antoinette, stare at your reflection in the same mirrors as Madame de Pompidou, and run playfully around the magnificent garden estate that surrounds the palace. It appears as if time has come to a stop in Versailles. The only thing that reveals that time has indeed passed is the insanely long lines of tourists with selfie sticks that flock to the estate. While you can buy tickets to tour the palace, entrance to the gardens are completely free. And honestly, I think the gardens were my favorite part of the entire tour.
Within the palace, everything is covered in gold and expensive materials. It reminds me of a more grandiose version of Palazzo Pitti in Florence (My favorite Florentine museum which my Norwegian readers might remember from this article. Some of you might also remember that I also prefer it to Galleria degli Uffizi – a museum which nearly cost me a broken rib during my last visit).
Some of you might recognize certain rooms, especially the Hall of Mirrors, from BBC’s new and provocative TV-series Versailles. While the series is normally described as “historical pornography”, the producers have at least cared enough to make the set historical accurate. And no, before you ask, Versailles is in no way the new Outlander.
As a self-declared history nerd, I must admit that it felt pretty cool to walk in the footsteps of Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette, and Napoleon (to mention a few…), yet surprisingly enough, my highlight turned out to be a completely different part of the palace estate – the beautiful gardens.
We even managed to smuggle in a bottle of wine, and we had a very lovely picnic on the grass. However, this is technically not legal, so you must be a pretty decent wine-smuggler to make this work without being caught by the guards at the entrance. If you’re a pussy, you can buy an over-priced bottle of wine in the Palace restaurant (but it won’t taste of victory and shenanigans)
How to do a day trip from Paris to Versailles:
- From Paris, take the metro/taxi to the nearest RER-C train station. The train leaves around every 15 minutes, and it normally takes 30-40 minutes to get to Versailles (the city, not the palace)
- It normally costs around 6 euro roundtrip, so this is actually quite a cheap option!
- The stations that are directly connected to Versailles are Invalides, Gare d’Austerlitz, Musee D’orsay, Notre Dame, Champ de Mars Tour Eiffel, and Pont de l’Alma.
- Choose the train that is headed towards Versailles Rive Gauche, your stop will be the last on the route (you can normally tell by all of the tourists that flood out of the train)
- In the village of Versailles, you simply follow the signs for Chateau de Versailles and walk through the village (take the bus if you’re lazy, but the village is cozy and definitely worth the walk)
- Can you see a lot of gold in the distance? You’re nearly there, babe!
- I would recommend to be in Versailles when they open at 9. Tour de inside of the palace first, then spend the rest of the day exploring the enormous gardens. Bring or buy food/water/coffee/wine (whatever floats your boat) – you’ll get super hungry by all the exploring and walking.
- Are you ready? Bon Voyage!