Paris/ Versaille

Aug 22nd, 2008, 10:24 AM
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Paris/ Versaille

What is the best/most economical way to travel to Versaille but not too paacked with tourists?
michelles is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 10:28 AM
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Versialles w/o tourists?? ain't really possible.

Or are you just worried about tourists on the RER or train?

The best way to get there partly depends on where you are staying.
janisj is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 10:34 AM
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RER C to within a few blocks of the palace - Buy a combo palace admission plus return train ticket for convenience and priority entrance to the palace. Closed Mondays. Weekends are especially nice as the water gardens often are fully working and classical music is piped into the gardens and fountains area.

On your own but so so easy to do via RER C.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 10:40 AM
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I disagree with Janis and think RER C is the best no matter where you are staying - she is no doubt talking about going to thealso Gare Saint Lazare which has trains to Versailles as well but to a different station farther away from the palace itself and with much less frequent service - and i'm not sure this way offers the admission + rail transport like the RER-metro system does.

So even if staying in the Gare Saint Lazare itself you may find taking any metro to RER C and then going that route is the best option - esp since these trains go every few minutes as opposed to more sporadic service from Gare Saint Lazare

Or Janis may be talking about folks staying near the Gare Montparnasse which similarly has mainline trains to Versailles - to a third station that is much farther from the palace as the RER C route and again more sporadic service - so even if staying at the Montparnasse area you are better off taking a metro to nearby RER C and going that way

I can see no better option than RER C - maybe Janis can explain why she thinks depending on location there are better ways - i cannot think of any but she may be right.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 11:37 AM
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There are three rail stations in Versailles:

V-Rive Gauche (RG) is the closest to the palace. It's on the RER C line that runs down the Seine and past the Eiffel Tower.

V-Chantiers is also on the RER C (a different spur), and is a somewhat longer walk. But it is also reachable by SNCF train from Gare Montparnasse.

V-Rive Droite (RD) is further still, but on a direct line from Gare St-Lazare on the right bank.

You can buy a package that includes transport from any Métro station and priority admission to the château,* called a Forfait Loisir. Details at:

* Used to have audioguides included, but I don't see them advertising that any more.
Robespierre is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 11:51 AM
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Consider buying a Paris Museum Pass if going to the Orsay, Louvre and Versailles in a few-day period as it not only can save you money but again you get priority entrance at each place without having to wait in long lines. Sold at every participating museum - i usually buy mine at a small museum like Cluny or Conciergerie where there is no line to wait thru to buy it.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 11:54 AM
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Robespeter: Do you know that if you went via the SNCF stations and trains from Montparnasse and Saint-Lazare (though i can think of no reason why you would) if the SNCF ticket windows also sell the forfaits-loisirs you detail to buy from RER C - if so another reason IMO not to go from the SNCF stations?
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 02:51 PM
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Even though it is more crowded on weekends, I would make a point of going then to see the fountains. They are only on Sat and Sun and at specific times. The grounds are so large that it doesn't feel crowded at all. I can't imagine NOT seeing the fountains. We enjoyed them more than the interior of the palace.
Connie is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2008, 03:50 PM
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hpeabody is offline  
Aug 26th, 2008, 12:26 PM
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es the splish splashing water fountains are great on weekends (many are usually dry and not working other days) and the gardens themselves and the vast park has some gems awaiting

So be sure to leave time to do more than visit the palace - typically on crowded guided tours - and time to explore the vast gardens and park - esp the recently restored Trianons, such as the one where Marie-Antoinette was said to play a peasant gal.

Many folks seem not plussed by the palace, though of course it should be seen, and find the gardens and parks much more relaxed, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 29th, 2008, 10:09 AM
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I also think the RER is the only good way to go, as even if you were in Paris, it would be easy enough to get to that RER line rather than a train station.

The Forfaits Loisirs ticket for Versailles is solely for use with transport by the RER.
Christina is offline  
Aug 29th, 2008, 10:13 AM
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I agree with the RER and to buy the admission ticket with your train ticket. The line for tickets at Versailles was very long and, because we bought ours at the train station we walked right in. Also, might was to consider using a restroom before you get there--that's really a long line!
dtrout is offline  
Aug 29th, 2008, 10:20 AM
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I have been to Versailles about 6 or 7 times now, I really enjoy it.

What I have discovered is I prefer not going on weekends, I saw the fountains once and yes they are great, but on " fountain days"( sat and sun) the whole place is way more crowded, and it costs more, and the fountains do not run all day but only at set times for intervals.

This last July my daughter and I accidently slept in on our chosen " Versailles day" ... so didn't get there till almost 1 pm. I was delighted to find the Palace less crowded then usaul( yes, it is still crowded, but I am talking relative to what it usaully is like) . Bus tours mainly come in the morning, and most tourists rush there in the morning( to " beat the crowds" ) do the palace first then the grounds.

I bought and used the Forfait Losirs, it provided assess to everything and RER transport , as well as line skipping .
bozama is offline  
Aug 29th, 2008, 10:28 AM
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Curious as to whether one had a Carte Orange/Navigo for the zones needed to bounce to Versailles and back if you can just by the Loisirs part or whatever you call the palace ticket portion of the Forfait et Loisirs scheme. ???
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 20th, 2008, 06:17 PM
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The fountains sound great! Does anyone know if they are operational in November, as that's when I'm going. Curious as that is when off-season schedules seem to apply to much of France.
parisat50 is offline  
Oct 20th, 2008, 08:16 PM
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Re: fountains, they have an official site showing the schedule of events:
greg is offline  
Oct 21st, 2008, 08:06 AM
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When we were in Paris this summer, there were posters all over the metro system advertising a spectacular fountain show at Versailles; I forget the way they phrased it but it sounded to me like they would be doing something similar to a US water show, with "dancing fountains" and lights synchronized to music.

We bought our forfait loisirs and hopped on the RER C (which, remember, is a local suburban commuter line, NOT an express!) and walked right past the long admission line. The restrooms are small, and there are almost always lines -- so watch how much you eat & drink!

The palace was a madhouse, crammed full of tourists. It was rather difficult to see much of the exhibited furnishings, but the walls and ceilings are more than enough! There is literally no blank space anywhere in the rooms.

In the gardens, recorded music was playing through the sound system, at a decent but not overly intrusive level. At the appointed "fountain show" times, they merely *turned on* the fountains throughout the park -- and the same music played on. No lights, no "dancing waters" -- it's merely *fountains ON* and that's it. At the end of the show, the fountains went off; the music continued. Outside of show times, the fountains are inactive.

What really struck me as idiotic -- shortly after the fountain show in mid-afternoon (in summer, when daylight lasts until well after 2100) -- they turned on *all* of the nighttime lighting throughout the park! It made absolutely no difference in illumination, but I'm sure their electric meters were spinning rapidly! Personally, I'd have invested the electricity in leaving the fountains running...
imaginaryjazz is offline  
Oct 21st, 2008, 08:27 AM
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I just returned From Paris and my experience in Versailles was totally by the Jeff Koons exhibits. They were ugly and garish and not fitting with the sorroundings. The grounds are beautiful.

We got the forfait loisirs from Gare Montparnesse SNCF counter. You can use the ticket in the Metro and rail. It cost around 22 Euros and included the audioguide, entry the chateau and gardens. Good value and you dont have to stand in the long lines.
jandee is offline  
Oct 21st, 2008, 12:47 PM
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Once you get outside the palace the grounds are so massive it won't feel crowded. We enjoyed the outside much more than we did the inside. It goes on and on with gardens and fountains (weekends). It was totally worth it to us to be there on a more crowded day to see the fountains. I can't imagine seeing it without them running. We really enjoyed the Queen's Hamlet too.
Connie is offline  
Oct 21st, 2008, 12:48 PM
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Sorry, I didn't realize I had already replied to this post. I sure wish we could edit/delete our posts.
Connie is offline  

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