Paris in 3 days - Versailles?

Old Dec 17th, 2001, 06:44 PM
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Paris in 3 days - Versailles?

My husband and I are traveling to Paris next week. We are first-timers and unfortunately only have 3 days to get it all in. We were thinking about taking a half day tour to Versailles. Given our limited time, is the Versailles visit worth squeezing into our 3 day itinerary? Thanks.
Old Dec 17th, 2001, 06:55 PM
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If you love splendid palaces, then Versailles is definitely worth the time. But don't take a tour. Take the RER and do it on your own. The first time that I went to Versailles I went on a tour and I was very disappointed. They only took us to the main palace and there is so much more to see. Grande Trianon and Petite Trianon are interesting and can be reached by the shuttle. But do not miss The Hamlet which can also be reached by the shuttle. It was Marie Antoinette's little farm and it is lovely. The RER is easy to use, just go to a station which can be located on a map, and ask questions. You can do it on your own in a half day, save the price of a tour and see more.
Old Dec 17th, 2001, 06:59 PM
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I was in Paris in Sept (just after the 9/11 attack. Versailles, to do it justice, needs an entire day. If you are willing to give up that much time, by all means go. You will not be happy alloting only half a day; it takes a while to get there, by train, and then you walk a bit to actually reach Versailles, there could be a line to get in, etc., all of which takes away from the time you have allowed.
Old Dec 17th, 2001, 07:47 PM
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While it is true that you really need a whole day to do justice to Versailles, a half day visit will still be worthwhile if the splendour appeals to you. I totally agree that you can do this without a tour, take the RER and you can see what you wish in the order that you prefer. The petit and grand trianons won't take very long to see and I also agree that the Hameaux should be seen. Don't be deceived by the scale of the map - it is quite a way back to the trianons and the suggestion to take the petit train is a good one, at least one way. If you have a Musees et Monuments card, you can avoid the queues.
Old Dec 17th, 2001, 09:38 PM
Bob Brown
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There are several ways to look at the situation. First, you are tossing Versailess out for us to comment on without telling us what your interests are. Second, you don't have enough time even to see the main attractions within the city, unless you run a marathon of quick looks.

So in three days time, you will of necessity omit something that ranks high on most people's "to do list" when visiting Paris.

Before you can put any answer into perspective, I really think you must consider all of your options, and make a list of what you want to visit. Then I feel it mandatory to prioritize the list in accordance with your own preferences.
If Versailles ranks near the top, then I would devote one of my 3 days and go see it.

But, you must also be aware of what you will be excluding by going to Versailles.

For example, if you go to Versailles, then would you have time to visit the Rodin Museum? You will have to make a value judgement as to which attraction is the most important to you.
How about the Louvre? It can be a bottomless pit in terms of time consumption. My second visit there (of the recent trips), I did NOT go there because I knew if I did I would not see some of the places I wanted to visit because I knew I would not walk into the place, take a quick look and then walk out. If I went in, I would be there for 7 or 8 hours!!

So in your limited time, decide what you want to see, prioritize, and then decide what you will see and what you will not see on this trip.

My guess is that Paris will cast its spell on you and that you will be thinking about your next trip before you leave!

I am headed back again in a few months, and I am waiting impatiently for that day, ever since I made the decision to put it on the agenda for 2002.

I think I can start an argument with this next statement, but after seeing both Paris and Vienna more than once, Paris casts a spell that Vienna does not a quite manage. I think I will post it as a topic and see what kind of argument I can stir up.
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 03:37 AM
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Save Versailles for another trip. You just don't have time. There is so much wonderful to see and experience in Paris you will not miss this.
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 07:25 AM
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Depends on your personnal interests. For some people Versailles is a absolute must-see, for people like me who don't really like the XVII° century architecture, it can easily be missed.

By the way, a lot of people like Versailles gardens, but in the winter, they're quite a sad sight. And it's too cold for a stroll in the gardens to be really pleasurable, anyway.

Old Dec 18th, 2001, 07:39 AM
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Just stay in Paris, because in such a short trip you will barely make it to some of the major sights. Just get a feel for the rides are helpful on occasion in doing this.
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 08:21 AM
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I'd say that was squeezing too much in. Airfare is so cheap these days you can always go back. Three days barely gives you time to do the Louvre, shopping, Notre Dame, and various other sites. Only if you are set on doing Versailles would I go otherwise its just a big castle and you may want to check whether it is open during the holiday period because it hosts a number of private parties during the holiday season for Paris companies and the government.
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 11:39 AM
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Skip it. Versailles is EXTREMELY overrated. Much better choices in Paris. If you had a week or more, then it might be worthwhile.
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 01:14 PM
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Versailles is not worth it at all. It's dirty, overrun with tourists, and unexciting. I went through the Hall of Mirrors without realizing that I was actually IN the Hall of Mirrors. I was thoroughly unimpressed. Save it for a longer trip. Spend your time wandering the streets of Monmartre and the Latin Quarter. Soak up the smells and the sights and the romance of Paris. Don't waste those precious moments at Versailles.
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 03:40 PM
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I would say no in general (if you are especially interested in that history or Marie Antoinette etc you wouldn't be asking)-- because you have a very short time and because it is winter and I think the gardens are one of the main interests. I did like Versailles, though, and had no trouble figuring out I was in the Hall of Mirrors, that was really something to me.
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 03:49 PM
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If you want a tiny taste of Versailles, visit Napolean's apartments in the Louvre (you'll see them on the museum map when you enter). I wouldn't risk employees at Versailles being on strike or something like that with limited time in Paris - there's so much to do there!
Old Dec 18th, 2001, 06:04 PM
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My wife and I visited Versailles in 1971 and were not that impressed. Nice, but there was more to see in Paris.

We tried it again in July, 2000 to see if our younger 1971 impression was incorrect. It is nice. It is pretty, but with limited time in Paris I would not take the time to travel out there and back when you are leaving a lot of great stuff in Paris unseen.

I doubt if I will do Versailles again unless I am finished with everything to see in Paris....and that will never happen. Spend your 3 days in the city and do Versailles on another trip. Plus, the gardens are not at their best in the winter anyway and that is one of the major sites although some great trees were destroyed in winter storms a few years ago that were very large and very old.
Old Dec 19th, 2001, 10:26 AM
Jim Tardio
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On my last trip to Paris I had only 4 days, and went to Versailles on one of them. I wish I didn't go.

The place is run down and crowded. I was surprised to see dust on much of the furniture (what little there is), and tattered curtains is some of the rooms. You wait in long lines just to be herded through this mess.

The grounds and the architecture are great, but if you don't go inside you're not missing much. And don't eat anywhere near and service are both terrible.

My opinion of course. I was there about 15 years ago and it was much nicer. But last year was a disappointment.

Some Paris and Versailles photos here:,france.html
Old Dec 19th, 2001, 10:59 AM
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To Jim and others disappointed with Versailles: consider visiting the Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, which offers a much better tourist experience.
Old Dec 19th, 2001, 12:34 PM
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I just returned from a couple a weeks in London visiting a friend, and I managed to squeeze in a 3 day trip to Paris via the Eurostar. The whole time there was much debate about whether we should or shouldn't do Versailles. In the end we compromised and went for a half day trip. Despite the limited time, I am glad that I took the short 30 min RER ride to Versailles. Its interior is ridiculous and gaudy rather than beautiful, but interesting nonetheless. The gardens alone are beautiful and worth the trip. Also, if you take a little walk near the palace around the shops and restaurants of Versailles, it can be a nice break from the craziness of Paris. All in all, the half day trip was enough for me to appreciate the Chateau and its grounds, since I didn't have my heart set on going there in the first place.
Old Dec 19th, 2001, 12:59 PM
Bill I
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I guess I am one of the few that actually like Versailles. & I have been back a couple times. But I also would say 3 days in Paris is not worth the trip to Versailles. If you had a 4th day I would then try to squeeze it in.

If you take some of the extra tours, for which you have to pay extra, IMHO, it makes the palace much more interesting & you get more of the history of the place. I have taken the Marie Antoinette(SP?) tour, the Kings Chambers tour, The queens chamber tour, & a couple of others. The last time I was there, they had just openned a few more rooms that have not been open to the public before, but could only be viewed on one of the extra tours.
They limit the number of people on these tours so it is not quite as crowded. The building is old & very, very big, the furniture is old, the curtains are old, it was garish during the time it was used, it still may be garish to some, but it was & is a part of history.

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