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Paris 'fat tire' tour thru Versailles

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Jul 7th, 2012, 07:10 PM
  #1
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Paris 'fat tire' tour thru Versailles

Has anyone gone on this tour?
Agapanthus is offline  
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Jul 7th, 2012, 10:36 PM
  #2
 
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A link always helps.
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Jul 8th, 2012, 12:45 AM
  #3
 
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My friends' son live in Versailles near the Palace and they just rent bikes right there at the palace and enjoy their rides at their own pace. They also picnic on their biking days.
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Jul 8th, 2012, 01:40 PM
  #4
 
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Agapanthus---

YES. Last June--joined group in Paris, trained to Versailles, got our bikes, bought lunches at kiosks in Versailles, and zoomed on to the park area around the Palace. Ate lunch by the Palace lake and then visited the palace itself in the afternoon. Had a ball. All age groups included--me in my 60's, daughter and son in law in 40's. Our group also included kids about 10 and12. Probably about 20 in our group. Host was great! Was through Viator. Maybe a bit pricey, but we felt it was worth it. Any more questions, please email me :

[email protected]
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Jul 8th, 2012, 01:56 PM
  #5
 
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We (my tween daughter and I) did the two Fat Tire bike tours in Paris (day and evening) and they were the highlight of our trip. We tried to do the Versailles tour, but it was booked solid for the rest of the days we had available. I would do it in a heartbeat - be sure to make a reservation in advance. We will definitely do it when we return to Paris some day ...

Have fun!

A
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Jul 8th, 2012, 02:45 PM
  #6
 
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Did it, and loved it!! One of my favorite things on our Italy-Paris trip last June (2011).
My husband, and I, and our 12-year-old son booked through Viator; from the Fat Tire location in Paris we walked a short distance to the RER, where our very personable and easy-going American guide provided tickets/instructions for using, and once arrived at Versailles, we walked a short distance to their parking-garage bike storage where we each chose our "trusty steeds," and then rode through the streets of the town of Versailles where we stopped for 30-minutes to purchase provisions for our picnics (5E for a whole roasted chicken). Once everyone was reassembled, we rode a short distance to a side entrance to Versailles, entering another world with the sheep grazing and tree-lined lanes (where we briefly stopped for some history tidbits). Continuing on for another 30-45 minutes, past the Hamlet, stopping at the Grand Trianon for some more history tidbits and a restroom break (and being tempted by the nearby baked potato cart, as it had turned cool and their warmth was enticing), we came to our picnic spot (which was picture perfect with the Palace in the far background) and spent another 30-45 minutes enjoying the food we had all picked out and the lazy sway of the day. From there we rode up to the Palace, enjoying the scenery along the way, and were given 2 hours (I believe?) to tour the inside (which was packed!!). Enjoying the audio commentary (which our tickets included), but not enjoying the crowds (and this being our second visit), we hurriedly went through to the outside again. As it began to rain, a few of us who gathered at the meeting place, decided we were confident enough to try the RER on our own, and returned back to Paris ahead of the group, arriving at 4:30p.
It was a little harrowing at times riding through the streets of the town with the traffic, with some of us getting caught by the traffic lights (some of our group had not ridden bikes in quite some time, and so there were some of us who took up the rear). But, I would not hesitate to do it again.
Some of my favorite memories (and photos) are from this excursion...
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Jul 8th, 2012, 03:00 PM
  #7
 
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Burley---We were on that tour June 30, 2011.. It'd be a real kick if we were all on the same one!?

Judy
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Jul 8th, 2012, 06:00 PM
  #8
 
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Oh, that would have been cool! But, our date was the 17th. (I was momentarily excited, as one of the ladies we rode with (in the rear brigade!) was named Judy!)
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Jul 8th, 2012, 06:23 PM
  #9
 
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Drats! Oh well, at least we all experienced the same great sights! And you described it so well!! Hard to believe it's been a whole year already! A few days ago I received a survey type email from Viator about our fat tour experience. I really need to respond to it.

By the way, I'm in Texas too. Remember the Alamo!

Judy
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Jul 25th, 2012, 08:25 PM
  #10
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As a landscape designer I am particularly interested in seeing the gardens. Much less interested in the house. Would you say the gardens are the emphasis of the day? Was the guide well versed about the gardens ? Do you think I'd be better off renting a bike and going on my own?
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Jul 25th, 2012, 08:31 PM
  #11
 
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I think you'd be better off going on your own and renting a bike once there. Check the details on the official website, as bicycles are not allowed in all areas. With Fat Tire, you have to haul your bike from their office to the RER and to Versailles and back (with stairs involved) and keep to their schedule (plus pay significantly more). In my experience, Fat Tire/Segway guides are more route guides than tour guides and commentary is quite limited. You'd probably do much better with a good book about the gardens or Googling.
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Jul 26th, 2012, 04:53 AM
  #12
 
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Fat Tire now has bike storage facilities in the town of Versailles so there is no more lugging the bike on and off the RER. However, if you want to bike on your own I would recommend taking a train from Gare Montparnasse to the stop Versailles-Chantiers and renting a bike from the agency right outside the train station. They rent bikes for 12€ a day whereas renting one on the grounds will be about 6€ per hour.

http://www.velo-versailles.fr/phebusveloan/index.html

Stop at the tourist office and get your maps of the town itself and the château grounds. Bikes are not allowed in the formal gardens behind the château nor in the Hamlet or the Trianon but you can lock your bike to visit these places. Here is the tourist office website for Versailles. If you dig into it you will find volumes of information about the history of the town and château that will prepare you for your visit:

http://www.versailles-tourisme.com/en/accueil.html

I find the gardens and grounds the best part of the Versailles visit. I find the château itself overwhelmingly crowded but it has elaborate/ornate decor and is loaded with history. IMO, the decor is so over the top as to be vulgar but if you've never been inside the château and you are going to be there anyway then I would recommend visiting the château. Buy your tickets ahead of time to avoid the lines. You can purchase them from the château website:

http://en.chateauversailles.fr/homepage
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Jul 26th, 2012, 05:29 AM
  #13
 
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Going inside gives you insight into Why the Revolution?
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