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Day trip to Versailles during May holidays

Day trip to Versailles during May holidays

Old Jan 17th, 2008, 07:29 AM
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Day trip to Versailles during May holidays

My wife and I will be in Paris from May 7-14, 2008. We were planning to go to Versailles on Thursday May 8, which we now realize is a holiday (WWII Victory Day /Fête de la Victoire 1945). In addition, Sunday May 11 is Pentecost Sunday, making for a long holiday weekend. Of course, the Château is closed on Monday, but as best I can tell, the Château will be open on the 8th (and 11th), but I assume it will be crowded.

I am hoping someone is familiar with these holidays and their impact on crowds in Versailles (as well as any tranportation impact). Should we stick with Thursday the 8th or would you recommend another day such as Friday or Tuesday? We don't need to see the fountains running on the weekend if that means more crowds.

Thanks for any advice.

Mark
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 07:48 AM
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Don't have a direct answer, but I have heard that fountain days are definitely busier.

Generically, I would take the RER and be at the Chateau as they open the doors. Getting there before the tour buses would let you see the chateau quicker, then you could spend rest of time visiting grounds and out-buildings where more room for crowds to spread out. The tours seem to leave paris around 8:45-9AM. Chateau opens at 9.

Have a look at the Forfat Loisir package available from SNCF.
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 08:17 AM
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 10:20 AM
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Dear luv2c --

We were in Paris in May 2006 and went to Versailles on a Sunday (May 16). IMHO, the Sunday visit is worth it - the fountains are spectacular. I have a report on this forum with a link to pictures. I took many pics of the fountains.

Go early in the morning and get the forfait loisir package from the St. Michel RER station. This includes round trip train from Paris to Versailles (45 minutes ride then walk 10 minutes) and admittance to the chateau and the grounds for the afternoon fountains.

The longest lines are for people who are trying to buy tickets. This way you can walk right up and go into the chateau. Use the same ticket to walk into the grounds. See the chateau in the morning, have lunch, and then see the gardens in the afternoon. The fountains start doing there stuff at 3:00 PM.

I wouldn't think that the fact that Sunday is Pentacost would make a difference. In May the chateau is going to be crowded on any day.

Have fun!

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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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Pentecost Monday was cancelled as a holiday 4 years ago.
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Old Jan 17th, 2008, 10:39 AM
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But in any case, Versailles is closed on Monday, now that I think of it.
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Old Jan 18th, 2008, 01:35 AM
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If possible, try to avoid Tuesdays. I read that Tuesdays tend to be more crowded because the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays and the front desk staff at our Hotel confirmed that.

We went early on a Wednesday morning - were there when the doors opened and really enjoyed a lot before more people started to arrive. When we left at about 14h00 the tour buses have arrived and it was much more crowded. If you are prepared to miss the fountains, I would rather go early on the Friday.
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Old Jan 18th, 2008, 03:19 AM
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Being Pentecost on Sunday doesn't make any difference, as people don't work on Sundays, anyway. So it being a religious holiday is pretty irrelevant. I don't know if Pentecost itself is an official national holiday or not, but since it's a Sunday, it doesn't much matter. Sundays are always crowded at Versailles, regardless, but it shouldn't be that bad in early May compared to other times. I was there on a Sunday last July, and it was crowded, but it didn't make that much difference to me in terms of walking around the grounds, the Petit Trianon, etc. If you can avoid a Sunday, I think it would be better another day, of course, in terms of crowds. I'm sure Friday or Tuesday would be less crowded.
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Old Jan 18th, 2008, 04:52 AM
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Ha! They just announced today that they were going to make Pentecost Monday a holiday again, probably starting this year, and just take a vacation day away from everybody.

Don't even try to understand the reasons for this....

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Old Jan 18th, 2008, 04:54 AM
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I was at Versailles last May, on Tuesday the 8th, with my wife and in-laws. Other than a 20 minute line to get tickets (we did not have a reservation), it wasn't bad at all. The crowds weren't overwhelming, and we saw everything we wanted to see.
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Old Jan 18th, 2008, 05:19 AM
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Thanks everyone for your feedback so far. Whichever day we do go, we are planning to get there early and use the Forfait Loisirs. Do the fountains run on Saturday as well?

I think we will just go when it is most convenient for us, and plan to be there before the palace opens at 9.

Kerouac and Christina, I only mentioned Pentecost because Pentecost Monday was/is/might be a holiday, and therefore I thought it might be one long holiday event from Thursday through Monday.

Mark
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