Versailles

Jan 11th, 2015, 06:43 AM
  #1  
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Versailles

We are planning on staying two nights at the Versailles Waldorf (points to burn). I've read the Versailles reviews, but I'm not sure I understand how it works.

One reviewer briefly mentioned a side gate near the hotel. Is this correct, and if so, how do we use that gate?

Is any part of Versailles free, the gardens, for example?

We will get there late afternoon, visit the palace the next day. I'd like to see as much as possible, but also take a relaxed pace. Is it advisable to stop and relax during the day? Is anything open in the evening?

Any and all advice is appreciated. Thank you for helping a novice.
janjanjan47 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2015, 04:55 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I will let guidebooks and others give you the detailed information you seek.

I have only been to Versailles three times. The Chateau is quite impressive but the most fun day we had there we did not go in. Instead we walked the grounds, toured both the Trianons, which are furnished, and checked out the Hamlet. We walked about 5 miles.

While we were there, they were testing the water supply to the Fountains. Impressive dry, they are amazing with water, considering that they still use the original piping. When will you be there? Will you be there on a day (a night, really) when they put on a show at the fountains? We weren't, but I have read that there is sound and light and performers while the fountains play. Maybe one day I'll get to see it.

Good luck!
AJPeabody is offline  
Jan 11th, 2015, 09:01 PM
  #3  
 
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jan, when is your trip?

This sounds complicated.. but try and follow me. The grounds of Versailles are huge.. massive. They contain the canal, the formal French gardens, the fountains,the Petit Trianon and the Grand Trianon,, as well as Marie Antionettes hamlet. There are pathways and areas to picnic,, and you can rent both row boats and bikes.


The actual park like grounds that surround the canal are always free.. they are in fact public parkland.

However, on days when they do the fountain shows.. the formal gardens near the palace are not free. This is usually only on sat and sundays in season. The area between the palace and the head of the canal is monitored and a fee charged( think its about 8 euros now)

When its not fountain show day you can access those parts of the gardens for free also.

Marie Antinettes hamlet has a fee .

I love Versailles and have been many many times.. but I felt the fountain show was a lot of hoopla over not much ... tinny canned music and they only run a few at a time in short bursts so you really have to run around to see them and spend the entire day there to see all of them..

I personally would avoid a Saturday or sunday for that and the crowds.

The crowds are horrendous in the palace all the time now..so do plan on pre purchasing a ticket and getting in the line for security BEFORE it opens in the morning.

There is a tour that many recommend ,, sold via the Versailles website.. and it allows you a separate entrance , I would pay the extra for it myself( if I hadn't already been so many times now)
Its called the "Kings Apartment" tour.

Do look on the Versailles website.. there is tons of up to date information on it.. a large site.. sorry I don't do links,, just google Versailles to find it.. and yes , it can be in English.
justineparis is offline  
Jan 12th, 2015, 04:02 AM
  #4  
 
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First, I would suggest looking at the official Versailles website as it is very extensive and will likely answer any questions you may have. It's quite an extensive website so be sure to spend time looking it over:

http://en.chateauversailles.fr/homepage

Your hotel is near the entrance at the Bassin de Neptune, where you can enter the grounds (for free). The street that is nearest to this entrance is the Boulevard de la Reine. So you can basically walk out of your hotel and into the grounds.

All of the grounds are free with the exception of The Hameau (Marie Antoinett's hamlet) and the Trianon. The formal gardens directly behind the château are also free except on days when they are doing the music and the fountains.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Jan 12th, 2015, 07:45 AM
  #5  
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Thanks so much for all the help. The details were confusing to me and I really needed to get an understanding. The Kings Apartment tour was something I'd seen, but didn't know if it allowed separate entrance with presumably shorter lines. It's like everything else--if you understand the basics, the website makes a lot more sense.

We're going to be in Versailles 9/10-9/11, and hope it's slightly better than August. If we can visit the grounds separately, that helps a lot since we can do some of that the afternoon we arrive.

I had investigated private tours, but hate tours where you are herded in mass groups through over-crowded rooms with no chance to pause and enjoy. We took a private tour of the Vatican Museum a few years ago and hated it for that reason. A must-do, but not a fun time.

I was actually considering skipping the palaces, but if we can take a tour into non-public rooms and linger in the palace afterwards if we want, that seems like a wonderful option. And, the price is right.

Thanks so much. I'm much more comfortable now.
janjanjan47 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2015, 10:04 AM
  #6  
 
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Versailles will still be crowded in September, you are probably more likely to have local French people going there in September, but they leave to go elsewhere on holiday in August. Who knows, I think the most important thing would be go on a weekday, if possible, and Tuesdays are also especially crowded, they say.

Yes, I think you should sit down and rest during the day, if you are there all day you kind of will have to at some point. A lot of it is outside, so there are places you could do that. At least it may not be as hot in September, but early Sept, not much difference. I agree the fountain show is a but of tourist hoopla, but some people go nuts for that kind of thing. I think it's silly (paying extra to hear piped music while you look at fountains), but it's nice to see the fountains going at other times.
Christina is offline  
Jan 12th, 2015, 04:20 PM
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I agree the Versailles website is confusing because it's so extensive but sometimes also isn't very user friendly/intuitive in it's design. I've never done the Kings Apartment Tour but what I've read from people who have is that you meet at a side entrance and skip the line and I don't think the groups are usually that big. The website says a maximum of 25 people:

http://billetterie.chateauversailles...-ei170665.html

I think most people say that they enjoyed the tour. After the tour you can do a visit of the public parts of the palace and grounds. You won't really be lingering in the main palace since there is a roped path that leads you in order through different rooms so you can't just wander about freely. This is what creates the herding effect when the palace is crowded.

Since you've got a hotel right next to an entrance to the grounds then you can go into the park anytime. The grounds are huge and there are rental bikes and electric carts as well as a tourist train that will get you around the grounds if you don't want to walk everywhere.

If you have extra time to explore then the town itself is beautiful and there is a lot to see there of historic interest/significance. The town's tourist office website, which is actually well designed and not confusing, has a lot of good info about what to see and do there and other practical info. Be sure to click on the "Discoveries" tab:

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

Many people enjoy shopping for a picnic lunch to take into the grounds at the covered market halls of the Halles Notre Dame market:

http://www.versailles-tourisme.com/e...s-markets.html
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Jan 15th, 2015, 04:03 PM
  #8  
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Mystique, thanks so much. I wasn't expecting much from the town, but I certainly will explore. In Italy, we often loved the places which were simply conveniences.
janjanjan47 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2015, 07:07 AM
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Be sure to walk on some of the tiny streets and back alleys that are behind the market buildings of Les Halles Notre Dame (Passage Saladin, rue des 2 Portes, Passage de la Geôle).

http://www.versailles-tourisme.com/e...-walkways.html

Other Walking Routes:

http://www.versailles-tourisme.com/e...ng-routes.html
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Jan 16th, 2015, 07:19 AM
  #10  
 
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We also stayed over once when seeing Versailles, best time ever. The town and gardens were as enjoyable as Versailles, itself, nice restaurants and wonderful market.
Sassafrass is offline  
Jan 16th, 2015, 07:44 AM
  #11  
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Now I'm excited about these couple of days. Having great places to walk means it will be great to get there earlier on day of check in.

I have one more question. We will be coming from seeing the Normandy beaches, probably staying in Breyeux. We will arrive in Normandy with a rental car and have been debating whether to drop the car in Breyeux, taking guided tours of the WWII sites, then taking the train to Versailles. It doesn't look like the train would be direct. Alternatively, we could drive to Versailles, which looks direct and maybe quicker. In that case, we'd drop the car in Versailles. Unfortunately, I don't see a drop point right at the hotel. Do you have a recommendation? There are 4 of us, and we will have a moderate amount of luggage, so we could walk with bags from either train or car drop.

Thank you so much for all this help. With the internet resources, it is possible to research independently, but a reality check with somebody who has actually been there is very beneficial.

Janet
janjanjan47 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2015, 09:16 AM
  #12  
 
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Bayeux. You will be staying in Bayeux .. where the tapestries are right?

I would drive to hotel.. drop off 3 people and luggage.. driver drops off car and walks back luggage free, instead of having everyone walk back with luggage.
When someone says they have "moderate" luggage it makes me think they likely have more then they will enjoy handling on the trains .. and when you have to change trains and platforms I have encountered many stairs to cross tracks.. not fun with luggage.
justineparis is offline  
Jan 16th, 2015, 09:20 AM
  #13  
 
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I have my own car here so don't rent but the www.autoeurope.com website is widely recommended for car rentals. They are a broker that works with all the large rental agencies. Usually you can pick up in one location and drop off in another for no charge. You can look at their website and see where there drop-off places are. I'd be surprised if there wasn't a place to drop off in Versailles. It makes the most sense to drive from Normandy to Versailles.

BTW, do you mean Bayeux (not Breyeux)? There's a lot to see between Normandy and Versailles and it's a 2 hour 45 minute non-stop drive. You can use www.viamichelin.com to get driving routes, times, distances, toll and fuel costs and suggested routes. The drive time given are non-stop but are very accurate when this is taken into consideration. If you haven't visited them already you could stop at Honfleur, Château Gaillard and Monet's house and gardens on your way to Versailles.

I know you'll enjoy visiting Versailles and if I wasn't on my way out to Paris for the evening I'd have a few more tips for you but if you have further questions come back and ask.
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
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