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-   -   Versailles or Giverny? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/versailles-or-giverny-117261/)

Steve Curry Apr 7th, 2001 09:49 AM

Versailles or Giverny?
 
If you had a day to do a day-trip out of Paris -- would you go to Versailles or Giverny? <BR><BR>Why?<BR><BR>My wife and I are split.<BR><BR>Thanks!

Al Godon Apr 7th, 2001 09:58 AM

I have the temerity to insert myself into a family fued, but only because I am not present at the discussions.<BR><BR>Having seen both, I would opt for Versailles. I think that seeing Versailles drove home to me as no other site could have the feeling of rebellion that coursed through the veins of the poor and the rabble.<BR>The revolution of 1789 shaped the future of the world. Because of its sheer historical weight, Versailles is the place to visit. If you approach it with zero knowledge of French history, then I think Versailles' impact is lessened.<BR>But if you go with a fresh reading in mind of French history from 1750 through the rise of Napolean, you get a very good a very good object lesson at Versailles.<BR>As a second observation, before I would go to Giverny, I would revisit Fontainebleau and Vaux le Vicomte.<BR>While I do not deny the beauty of the gardens at Giverny, lovely gardens are common. Versailles and Fontainebleau are singlular in their existence.<BR><BR>But, question: Are there not tours that do both places in a single long day??<BR>So if the heat of the argument is at the melting point, why not consider both.<BR>How long will you be in Paris??

Kristin Apr 7th, 2001 11:02 AM

Also, if you are going on your own, I think Versailles is easier to get to -- you can get right into Versailles (the town) on the train. According to what I have read, getting to Giverny involves train, then either taxi or long walk. I may not be exactly correct about this, but in general I think it is true.

Robert Browning Apr 7th, 2001 12:04 PM

We went to Versaille last November by train from Paris and it was about a 30 minute trip and then a walk of about 20 minutes to the palace. We rented tapes and head phones which provides us with a tour of the main building which includes the royal family's rooms and the hall of mirrors. There were other tours which were guided that we did not take. Afterward we walked the grounds around the palace and unfortunately due to the season, nothing was green or in bloom. I can only imagine what it must be like in the spring or summer. I have not been to Giverny, but you should not miss Versaille.

Surlok Apr 7th, 2001 12:12 PM

If you want to see history and opulence, go to Versailles. If you prefer the magic environment of the most peaceful garden, no matter how crowded it is, go to Giverny.<BR><BR>Excursions to Giverny are not expensive and can be done by vans (less crowded) or busses.

Surlok Apr 7th, 2001 12:16 PM

And, Robert, sorry, but Monet Japanese Garden it's not one more garden, it's unique!!!<BR><BR>I guess it also depends on the personal preferences. If you really appreciate Impressionism and Monet, Giverny is yopur place. If you're a history buff, Versailles is your choice.

Robin Apr 7th, 2001 01:20 PM

Here's another angle-- how many lavish, gilded places have you seen? Versailles is incredibly impressive, but if you've been to other European palaces, castles, churches, etc., IMHO that stuff gets old. Giverny, because it is a garden, is different every time you visit. To me there is no contest-- I prefer Giverny. I will admit, though, that the point about appreciating French history is valid.

Bob Brown Apr 7th, 2001 02:09 PM

I am going to intrude in the feud again.<BR>If you opt for Giverny, I think a bus tour is in order. I freelanced by taking the train from Gare St. Lazare to Vernon. There was a bus at the station,<BR>but it filled up so fast that I could not get on it. I did now the procedure and got left standing. We shared a taxi ride with a driver who knew one word of English fifty - fifty. That was in regards to paying the fare.<BR>The trains from St. Lazare leave early in the morning. Then there is not another one until noon. We took that one and rode the 6 PM train back to Paris. I think a bus tour that leaves at 9 AM would make better use of your time. <BR><BR>I also think that you can do BOTH in the same day. There are organized day trip tours that take you to both places over a 9 hour day. I think you would enjoy both and that would solve the argument problem.

Deena Apr 7th, 2001 02:20 PM

That is a toughee. I loved both places but I guess if I had to choose only one, I'd have to pick Versailles. The palace was impressive. Don't forget to visit the little 'peasant farm' on the grounds that Marie Antoinette enjoyed. Versaille is an easy train ride. Giverny was lovely. We took the train to the Vernon station and caught a bus to the home and gardens. The gardens are breathtaking. Still, pushed for a choice, I'd pick Versailles.

Ann Apr 7th, 2001 02:53 PM

If it is that one of you likes history and the other likes gardens, you can combine the two at Versailles - not just the splendid vistas in the park, but you can also visit the potager du roi, open April to October. I love it. <BR><BR>Nevertheles I also love Giverny - you have a difficult choice to make.

Donna Apr 7th, 2001 07:00 PM

As someone above mentioned, one or more tour bus companies do both in one day. Would be a long day, but you'd each get to see both. www.parisvision.com, www.cityrama.com, www.touringscope.com for schedules and descriptions. Note prices are up to 15% higher at the websites than booking once your arrive in Paris.

elvira Apr 7th, 2001 08:09 PM

8 of us did Versailles and Giverny in the same day - we hired a limo and driver. Look into hiring a car and driver and compare it to the cost of one of the excursions. If it's not too much more, it's worth it to be on your own timetable.<BR><BR>If it's one or the other, choose Versailles; if it's raining, no big deal, but Giverny would lose a lot of its attraction in a downpour.

Randy Apr 8th, 2001 05:47 AM

Steve: I have seen both and I prefer Versailles. The Château at Versailles is impressive and the extensive park and gardens are something to see - Versailles will consume your whole day.<BR><BR>The gardens at Girveny are vary different than the gardens at Versailles, but Monets purpose for creating the gardens was different than Louis. At Girveny there are rows and rows of different flowers, yes, the flowers are beautiful, but the overall display does not compare to Versailles. I felt Monet's home was drab and depressing. <BR><BR>Here are some other things to consider. To go to Givereny it will take almost two hours each way and the tour at Givereny can be done in about two hours. Versailles is 30 or 40 minutes out of Paris via RER and you can easily spend the day there.<BR><BR>The most important thing to consider is what do you and your wife like.

elaine Apr 8th, 2001 09:54 AM

There is obviously no "right" answer to this or most other travel dilemmas.<BR>If Giverny means something special to you because you love Monet's art, or because you love flowers, (and if you are going in spring, summer, or very early fall), then Giverny is the place to go.<BR>If you love French history, admire<BR>beautiful buildings and opulent furnishngs, enjoy long walks through formal gardens, and like to take guided tours and/or acoustiguides, then Versailles is the place.<BR>Both are wonderful and gorgeous, just not at all the same and hard to compare.

Gloria Apr 8th, 2001 10:31 AM

Hi, Steve<BR>My husband and I had the same discussion before we went to France. We did both. I would forgo Giverny and spend a day at Versailles. I love beautiful gardens, but, there is only one Versailles. <BR>Have a wonderful trip!<BR>Gloria

Surlok Apr 8th, 2001 10:42 AM

I sddidn't find Monet's house drab and depressing. It was a country, not rich house, but in a sunny day and the windows opened, it looked lovely to me.<BR><BR>And the gardens are two. There's a garden in front of the house with rows and rows of different flowers, of all colours and shapes, but you have to cross to the other side of the road usind an undergroud gangway (Monet's property was abandoned for a while, and a road was built accross it, splitting the garden in two). The Japanese garden, which stands on the other side of the road, is the one I consider extraordinary and particularly beautiful. It was built around a small lake, and it was there that Monet painted the Nympheas. I guess, though, that one has to really love Monet's artwork to appreciate the his house and garden as I did.

Steve Curry Apr 8th, 2001 04:39 PM

<BR>I would like to thank everyone for posting on this topic. Even though my wife and I are no closer to deciding -- at least we know that whatever we pick will be great.<BR><BR>Trying to do both in one day sounds like a bit much.<BR><BR>Thanks again,<BR>Steve

Diane Apr 8th, 2001 08:16 PM

Steve -- If the weather is nice, a day at Giverny can be wonderful. While we were there it would rain intermittenly. It only made the flowers sparkle as the sun came out.<BR><BR>Versailles is beautiful. Try to do both. You can see some of my photos from Giverny at www.travelswithdiane.homestead.com/france3.html.

virginia Aug 7th, 2001 05:01 PM

My husband went to Versailles on his last trip to Paris and was disappointed he didn't know the fountains are only working on Sundays. Such a way to go and not see them. <BR>OKAY I'm sure it was written in a million tour books but...what can you expect from a dumb American Tourist LOL

k Aug 8th, 2001 06:59 AM

sorry to hone in on steve's question... but i am struggling with the same one. is giverny still worth seeing (or even open) if we'll be there in february? having never been, i have no idea what to expect, or if it's purely a seasonal place. thanks!


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