Versailles: should I go?

Old Jun 6th, 2014, 02:32 PM
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Versailles: should I go?

I'm leaving on June 26th for what will be my 3rd visit to Paris. This time, I'm travelling with my parents and my sister, none of whom have ever been to Paris before. All three of them want to visit Versailles during our time in Paris. I didn't visit Versailles on my first two trips to Paris, mainly because I found that there was more than enough for me to see and do in the city, and it just wasn't a priority.

This trip to Paris will be a short 6 days, and although initially I thought I should go with my family to visit Versailles THIS time, because I haven't been yet, I can't seem to get excited about the idea. It's not like I'm not interested in seeing the palace, I just don't want to spend precious Paris time on a day trip during such a short stay in Paris. I'd rather save it for a longer trip. I'm going through my guide books and finding TONS of stuff I really want to see and do within Paris itself--just like the last two times I went. So I feel like I could make better use of my time staying in the city.

On the other hand, my parents and sister want me to go with them, and it might be a while until I can go to Paris again (though I hope not) and I do have an interest in seeing the palace.

So tell me: Is Versailles really so incredible that it's a MUST see? I know that everyone has a different opinion on this matter, and that in the end, it comes down to what I want, but I guess I'm just looking for some help making up my mind. Give me your opinions, oh wise Fodorites!
ahiddenbird is offline  
Old Jun 6th, 2014, 02:34 PM
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Goodness, it's like someone challenged me to see how many times I could say "Paris" and "Versailles" in the same post. Should have done a little editing there...
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 02:38 PM
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I would say go if only for the reason that you may not get to do something like that with your parents again. My sweet mother really wanted to see Versailles when we went to Paris two years ago. It was not high on my priority list but she really wanted to go. We had 7 days in Paris and I know we missed some things there but I wouldn't trade our day in Versailles for anything! We rented a golf cart after our tour of the palace and were able to toot around easily and see all the surrounding gardens. Just my two cents worth.
willowjane is online now  
Old Jun 6th, 2014, 02:40 PM
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I really liked it and thought I fab, that said I have been to Paris many many times......
Smeagol is offline  
Old Jun 6th, 2014, 02:50 PM
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IMO, it's a must with 6 days time. We especially enjoyed Marie A.'s little houses at the far end of the gardens.
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 02:50 PM
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IMHO, it is a must see, and yes, I would go. As a matter of fact, I suggest it even when people have only two or three days in Paris. However, it is not, also IMHO, a place to be rushed. My best visit was going straight to Versailles from the airport, arriving around noon, checking into the hotel, having a leisurely lunch, exploring the gardens and having dinner. It was a fantastic way to start the trip and get over any jet lag. The next morning very early we toured the chateau and were back in Paris by noon. You are probably already committed to your Paris hotel, but if not, consider starting your trip there.
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 02:52 PM
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Visiting Versailles has its cons as it is very crowded, reservations are a must, and visiting the park makes for a very long day, but on the other side it is an incredible place - the place all other royal palaces were copied. My trip to Versailles is still one of my nicest memories.
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 02:53 PM
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The place is iconic, obviously, and even though you say this seems like a waste of time and its only a 6-day trip, don't forget its also only a six-day trip for everybody else, too.

How disappointed will they be if you don't go with them and why? Are they feeling the need to have you along because they are reluctant to venture anywhere by themselves?

It is hard to answer this question not knowing what sort of relationship you have with these folks and just how they view your presence on the trip. Did they insist you go? Did you offer to "show them around" perhaps?
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 03:01 PM
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Hard for me to be objective, since I've been there about a dozen times (not out of choice), but I wouldn't go again. Fontainebleau is far more interesting, historically and otherwise, IMO, and FAR less crowded.

I just can't abide the nose-to-shoulder crowds at Versailles and the lines to get in, and all the other logistical nightmares that make it a less-than-pleasant experience.

The gardens are nice and Marie Antoinette's hameau is interesting in a quirky, kind of sad way, but the palace, I feel about as fond of it as a French peasant during the uprising.
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 03:19 PM
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Although I've only been there twice, I feel quite the same as StCirq.

The entire place leaves me feeling sad, ruffled, out of sorts and very in touch with the horrors of the times.

Speaking of ruffled: my dear cousin, a very sweet girl who was a peace maker and not one to argue with anyone, was so fed up in the Hall of Mirrors that she loudly told the people near her to back off and pushed her way to an open doorway.

Maybe go at a very carefully chosen time.

I plan to not go back to Versailles. We are going to Fontainbleau, though! Never been there and looking forward to it.
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 03:22 PM
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Versailles to me is IN Paris - a short RER trip right to the gates and is one of the very top sights in Paris.In six days you certainly can find time for the half-day needed at most if in a rush to get back to Paris

it's not just the palace that reeks of history but the vast park and gardens, like Marie-Antoinette's Hameau or Hamlet where allegedly she was want to dress up like the peasant farm gal and tend to animals, etc.

Let you parents go on their own - they are probably old enough to manage - it's their high priority as it is most folks.

30 minutes or so by RER right to Palace gates - have a Paris Museum Pass and you'll get priority entrance or book a timed entry, if possible and I think it is, on the official site.

One of the Wonders of the Modern World - don't miss it like - at least do not let your parents miss it.
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 03:25 PM
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 03:25 PM
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I've been four times, in the 70s, 80s and late 90s. By far the highlight of all the visits was a small group tour by a badged guide which included the opera house, private chambers, etc. I saw a documentary once about the Versailles guides--very difficult process to qualify. He was excellent and incredibly snobby which was great fun.

By the last visit the lobby crowds, the queues and swarms in the Hall of Mirrors certainly took away from the overall experience. Still, it is amazing and I like Sass's suggestion on how to approach it. The gardens, trianons, l'hameau are a hike, but a beautiful one. I like the thought of a golf cart, new since I was last there.

I would go if I were you but plan ahead.
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 03:36 PM
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Why is this so hard? I see no reason whatever to talk you into it. If you don't want to go, don't go, do something else that day. Every reason I see above in a quick skim of the replies gives you reasons why it's important to the person who wrote it, or not important, and in no way determines how you ought to spend your time. You can also leave the decision until breakfast that day and forget it now.
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 03:42 PM
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you're right it is just another palace - skip it - I will admit that it often is sardine city on the tours - no time to linger, etc - why - so so many people actually want to visit this ordinary palace - wonder why?

each to their own - A chacun a son gout or whatever that archaic saying is - each to their own taste but if you've never been there - go!
PalenQ is offline  
Old Jun 6th, 2014, 04:13 PM
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def. go you'll be upset if you dont. def. take the little train around the grounds.
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 05:00 PM
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Go - it is worth it.
kelsey22 is offline  
Old Jun 6th, 2014, 05:50 PM
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Well, I guess your feelings about not going on this trip just don't mean much, do they?
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 05:51 PM
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I went my second trip to Paris and LOVED it - but I am a history freak - and all the way walking through I was remembering stories about the ancien regime told by my Professor of French history - especially about the levee.

If everyone else wants to go I would go with them - I think you would enjoy it more that way
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Old Jun 6th, 2014, 06:50 PM
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yes it will be crowded, but it is worthwhile, and you can escape the crowds by going to the gardens which are vast, and seeing the other smaller buildings.

if you happen to leave when it closes, have dinner in town and get a later and less crowded train back to Paris.

I must agree with willowjane...who knows when you will be able to travel as a family again, so enjoy doing this outing together where you will all experience something new together.
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