Versailles - guided bus tour or solo?

Old May 12th, 2002, 11:08 AM
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Versailles - guided bus tour or solo?

I've gotten a lot of great advice here for my upcoming Paris's another question:

For a daytrip to Versailles, is it worth doing the guided bus tour, or should I wing it and get there on my own w/the RER?

I would love to do a tour where they take you through everything, room by room, explaining the history and significance, etc.

And, how much does this cost?? Many thanks...

Old May 12th, 2002, 06:48 PM
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Most tour companies offer a guided tour of Versailles which I did, it cost around $70.00 per person pick-up and drop-off at hotel for a minibus with 8 passengers and a guide. Try the Paris Vision tour company they have a website or your hotel could probably arrange for you.
Old May 12th, 2002, 07:44 PM
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If you want an explanation of each room in Versailles, then you definitely should take the guided tour.

However, I did it on my own and it really was easy. I used my Museum Pass, which speeded up entry. I also bought a guidebook upon entry and used it extensively during my visit. I have to admit that I also eavesdropped on other tours that happened to be in the same room I was. Since I did it on my own, I can't tell you how much those guided tours cost...but my way was a lot less expensive.
Old May 12th, 2002, 09:32 PM
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A friend and I did it on our own. You can rent an audio tour for both the Palace and the King's Chambers that is more than adequate. I was very impressed by the length and depth of the tour...and you can go at your own pace. It seemed to be what most people were doing when we visited. The only con is that there are often long lines to get into the palace; I'm not sure whether organized tours bypass the lines.

We enjoyed taking the RER and walking from the train station in Versailles to the palace. It was a nice walk and we were able to stop at a restaurant along the way.
Old May 13th, 2002, 04:35 AM
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I agree with John. We did it on our own too and used the audio guide which was just more than enough information.

One of the best things about Versailles is its gardens. We loved exploring it and the little hamlet.

I probably wouldn't take a pick-up and drop-off tour since it's easy to get there. Unless you're in a hurry.
Old May 13th, 2002, 06:34 AM
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I used the Rick Steve's guide for my tour. I found it to be perfect in providing an interesting room by room history. He also includes the gardens.

The Palace was jam packed with people - I made the mistake of arriving at 10:30 on a Sunday. It really took away from the experience.

My suggestions are:
Get there early to avoid the crowds or see the garden first and do the palace later in the afternoon, buy a museum pass before you arrive so that you can skip the line, do go on Sunday so that you can see the fountains.

The RER was easy to use. I think it was the B line - just take any train that says VICK or VERO. The ride was about 1/2 hour from Paris . I found the people in the train station to be very helpful.

BTW - the garden's were spectacular and took 3 hours to view (including the walk down to Grand Trianon and Marie Antoinett's hameau.
Old May 13th, 2002, 11:30 AM
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Thanks for all the great suggestions!!

I am going to do it on my own, so that I can go my own pace and focus on what I want....

The audio tour sounds more than sufficient....MERCI!!!
Old May 13th, 2002, 11:54 PM
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just bought the book by Antonie Frazer (spelling) about Marie Antoniette's life... It's not literature but it sure gives a good insight into Versailles and her time there. Am reading it prior to my visit in July and have already learnt so, so much about the palace and the general history of that time
Old May 14th, 2002, 02:28 AM
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No Question. Do it solo. The audio guides are great. You do not have to rely on that alone, however. This amazing mansion has aisles for visitors. I found that just stopping to look, I was able to listen to MANY tour guides from different groups. I spent the entire day wandering. I heard good guides and less informative guides and I liked the audio tours. I was in France in February and that is the slow season so I have no doubt this is very common.
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