Fat Tire Bike Tour Versaille

Reply

Feb 26th, 2016, 07:15 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,902
Fat Tire Bike Tour Versaille

Wondering if anyone here has had an experience with this tour. We are interested in it, but the length of the entire tour- including train etc is said to be about 8 hours. Ive read a few negative reviews of versaille castle interior and thinking of doing this tour (train to versatile, bike through the village, bike through versaille, picnic lunch on the grounds) then skipping the interior tour and just heading back to Paris. Any thoughts on doing this?
emcash is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 26th, 2016, 08:05 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 7,596
Well.. first off.. you cant do that on the tour.. you have to stay with group.. so never mind that idea, there are lots of other ways of doing things.

First.. I have done the tour.. but I have also visited Versailles at least 9 or 10 times now ( over many decades of visits).. but I did the bike tour about 5 years ago because a friend who had never been really wanted to try it.

It was a lot of fun.. so the tour I totally recommend.. except for diehard history buffs who really want to spend more indepth time at Versailles. ..luckily I had been before so didn't mind the short visit ( ha ha .. to me the 5-6 hours the tour spends at Versailles is not very long at all... certainly not long enough to see all the highlights of the various sections on the grounds, the outer buildings , gardens and palace) but my friend.. who really didn't know anything about French history and just heard about Versailles and decided to tick it off her list.. liked the tour immensely and found it just the right amount of time.

The palace IS crazy crowded.. it just about always is.. so if you are interested in palace you suck it up and just go with the crowd.. however.. no one says you NEED to see the inside of the palace. You can elect to skip that.. they gain your entrance to the palace.. but they do not tour you.. they just say .. meet at bikes by such and such a time.. you could start right from the beginning saying you are not going to bother going inside .

Now.. and I want you to think about this.. do you REALLY want to see Versailles.. or is just on your list of "we should".. because I think too many tourists go there .. spend a day out of Paris ( when they often barely have much time for Paris itself) and then are disappointed.

If you just want to see over the top palace splendor.. then go the Louvre.. it WAS a palace a one point. and there are some sections in particular that will show you that.. especially the Napoleons Apartments.. and the jewels and decorative arts sections.

Another option is to not take the bike tour.. or any tour at all. Cheap and fast.. just take the RER to Versailles.. its easy.. and only about 8 euros for a return ticket ( its actually two one ways) .. then you walk 5-10 minutes to Versailles grounds.. don't worry.. you will know where to go .. follow the crowd that just got off the train with you.. skip the palace and just enjoy the grounds ( do not miss Marie Antionettes Hamlet.. and do not miss walking behind the Grand Trianon into the flower garden there.. the view up the Grand Canal to the palace is amazing. ..


So.. tour.. no tour, or no go..

I think you really have to decide what your motivation for going is.. how much time you have in Paris.. and your true interest in dealing with crowds to see the interior of palace.. ( ps Grounds are never crowded.. so they are a nice break from the city )
justineparis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 26th, 2016, 11:47 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,252
Negative reviews of Versailles most likely come from trailer trash whiney tourists. It is a cultural treasure of historic significance. Have not done this Fat Bike tour but have done others and was quite pleased. As for the duration, makes perfect sense and you are unlikely to be bored. The town of Versailles is itself well worth a visit.
Seamus is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 27th, 2016, 04:43 AM
  #4
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,902
Thank you both so much for your responses. Justine, thank you especially for your detailed advice! When i said we would leave the tour, I meant after we toured the grounds and it was time to go inside. We would stay with the bike tour the entire time until it was time to separate and go inside. Or actually, we would stay with the bike tour the whole time bc we would leave when our guide left and just opt not to choose the inside.

The appeal for us is the bike tour- to take the train to the town of versatile and to view the grounds, but not necessarily tour the palace. It will be our second time in paris, albeit the first time was very short. We thought it would be nice to do something different, but the thought of a long tour (did i mention our 10 year old will be with us) is unappealing.

It seems like as long as we can leave before going inside, this might be a fun excursion as everyone seems to think the town of versatile and the grounds are worth it?
emcash is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 27th, 2016, 06:04 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 225
Hi emcash - I have done the Fat Tire Versailles bike tour and the Blue Bike Versailles Bike tour. I recommend Blue Bike over Fat Tire and here's why:

On Fat Tire, you just bike by the Grand And Petit Trianons and Marie Antoinette's Hamlet is just a drive by as well. On Blue Bike, you go into both Trianons and walk through the the Hamlet.

On Fat Tire, you can have as many as 20 people on the tour. Blue Bike keeps it to about 10 bikers.

I did the Blue Bike Versailles tour twice in 2015 with different friends who'd never been there. You pick up the bikes in the town of Versailles. After riding through the park, having your picnic lunch and touring the Trianons and Hamlet, you bike back to where Blue Bike keeps the bikes and then walk to the chateau for going inside.

Blue Bike will have already given you your return train ticket to Paris so you can leave the tour then if you wish and head to the train station.

Blue Bike also has immediate entrance to the chateau so there's no waiting in line to get in. Once you are inside, it's a self guided tour with audio guide. You can spend as little time or as much there as you choose. The Bkue Bike guide does not accompany you in the chateau and you take the train back to Paris whenever you want.

I think Fat Tire now has bikes in Versailles. When I took their tour, we took the bikes on the RER from Paris which wasn't too bad.

In am not affiliated in any way with Blue Bike but they are a great company and have other bike tours in Paris that I also recommend.

Hope this helps.
powhatangal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 27th, 2016, 07:08 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,526
If you want you can just go yourself to Versailles and rent bikes by the Grand Canal and ride around the grounds on your own.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 27th, 2016, 07:32 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 7,596
If you just want a bike tour i strongly suggest you consider taking a bike tour that has nothing to do with Versailles and crowds.

www.frenchmystiquetours.com/


He does private bike tours , the price is for your group of three, not per person, so just as reasonable then the big bike tours ,and you get a private guide who knows his stuff! If you go on his website you can choose one of the easy tours, perhaps a nice ride along a river.

I am hoping to take one of his tours this spring ( (if i can get it together lol) and i have never read a single negative about his tours, there are long time regular posters on some other forums, whos opinions i trust who swear by his tours.

Anyways suggest you at least look at his tours, they are " something different " from mainstream tours.
Guest have left reviews and photos and there was one that showed a child , having a great time too!
justineparis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Feb 27th, 2016, 10:38 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,302
Hi emcash,

I second the suggestion of French Mystique tours!! I was lucky enough to take one a few years ago, and I'm still raving about it.

Bruce (owner/operator of the tours and a frequent poster here, see above) offers very many bike tours, from challenging long trips with hills to quiet, meandering trips. I teamed up with a friend and her family, and we took the trip out to Chartres, which included a 20-mile ride. It included some stops by dolmens and a mansion, and it was fabulous. Of course, Bruce will tailor your trip for your desires and your abilities, and he also includes a fabulous lunch of French cheeses & hams & bread & fruit. Btw, I am a very out-of-shape 61-year-old, and I had no problem with the cycling.

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 1st, 2016, 01:47 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 95
We had a very lovely time with Fat Tour to Giverney. So can't speak to the particular Versailles tour ... but loved our Fat Tire Experience. Great guides, well organized.
sfmasterG is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 1st, 2016, 02:20 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1,380
Don't know anything about bike tours, but I will recommend a wonderful little book my 10-year-old granddaughter loved. It's The King's Day by Aliki.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Kings-Day-.../dp/0064432688

It looks like it's now out of print and the copies on Amazon are quite expensive. You might find it in your library, or on eBay. The illustrations are wonderful and it's great background for a child's visit to Versailles.
MaineGG is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 1st, 2016, 03:17 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 7,596
Oh I never thought to mention it.. but Versailles.. particularily Marie Antionettes Hamlet had some meaning to my daughter ( who was 11) because she had read a book.. written for her age group.. its written like its Marie Antionettes Diary when she first arrives to France and she too is just a young girl.

The Royal Diaries.. excellent read to make history seem real to kids. They have a series, we chose the one on Marie Antionette obviously.

Its published by Scholastic..so you know its a decent read for kids..

My daughter loved reading so we also read ( or she read really , shes a good reader. but you could also read it with your child) Anne Franks Diary and "Hiding Edith" ( that one is about a little jewish girl who is hidden in a French boarding school to save her from the Nazis.. the whole little town knew the school hid girls and never told) based on true story too.
justineparis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 1st, 2016, 06:11 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,526
Thanks justine and swandav. I usually don't thank people here but that was nice what you said.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 1st, 2016, 10:16 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,302
Lol, no thanks necessary, FMT -- just reporting the facts!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 2nd, 2016, 05:58 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 225
I also add my thanks to Justine and swandav - I now have a bike tour booked with FMT for March!
powhatangal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 2nd, 2016, 10:08 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,302
ooooh, lucky you, powhatangal!! I hope you write about it so I can have another vicarious bike ride in the countryside!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Mar 4th, 2016, 10:30 AM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,902
Thanks so much to all of your for your thoughtful and helpful reviews. I'm going to look into everything you suggested! including the books! thanks!
emcash is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 25th, 2016, 09:47 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 225
Just thought I'd report back that I had my bike tour with FMT last week. I took the RER and met FMT at his town's RER station outside of Paris. We took off on bike paths along the Marne river, through the Bois de Vincennes, biked around the massive Chateau de Vincennes, had a beverage at a café and wound our way back to our starting point. The weather couldn't have been more perfect - sunny and cool.

It was a ton of fun and FMT is just delightful. We stopped along the way for photo-taking (and for me to rest a few times after going uphill)!

It was nice to get out of Paris for the afternoon. FMT also gave me a recommendation for a café in his town. So, after we parted ways, I had a nice leisurely late lunch there, visited a few shops and then took the RER back to Paris.

Thank you FMT if you are reading!!
powhatangal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 25th, 2016, 11:13 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 7,596
Thanks for posting back, glad ( but not surprised) you had a good time!
justineparis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 27th, 2016, 12:22 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,302
Thanks so much for reporting back, powhatangal! I'm happy that you enjoyed it as much as I and my friends did. It really is a sure thing, imo -- French countryside, French food, fresh air, and a personable & knowledgeable guide.

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 17th, 2016, 11:20 AM
  #20
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 110
Hi Fodorists...

do you think it is worth doing Versailles on a Saturday for the Fountain Show?

I was recommended to go during the week as Saturdays is crowded... they guy at the palace told me it was worth watching the Fountain Show...(only Saturdays)

..on a Tuesday I can do the guided tour Kings Apartments. that are not mentioned for Saturdays

thanks your comments
doloresmercado is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:22 PM.