Versailles worth the trip ?

Old Feb 28th, 2001, 01:09 PM
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Versailles worth the trip ?

I have heard differing remarks about a visit to Versailles from Paris. We are only there six days and don't want to waste our time. We will not be there when the fountains will be on and will be there in March, before the gardens are in full bloom. Is is worth the trip just for the interiors of the chateau ?
Old Feb 28th, 2001, 02:06 PM
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Given the six days at your disposal I'd include Versailles in my itinerary, even in March. With the fountains and gardens it's a highlight of Paris for us. Even without them you'll find it quite worthwhile. And on a nice day you'll want to spend some time out beyond the main buildings for certain.

Old Feb 28th, 2001, 02:19 PM
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The gardens at Versailles don't "bloom" like the flowers of Giverny - - they're "laid out" like few other landscape projects in the world (some have tried to copy; few have succeeded). "Seeing" Versailles - - understanding how the excesses of the house of Bourbon led to a revolution that changed all Europe - - and the world, for that matter - - is a keystone for (at least one portion of) a trip to Europe, and certainly a trip to France. As important as Dachau, the Tower of London or the beaches of Normandy. And I am no champion of the "proletariat"!

It might be nice to have some flexible plans to allow for getting out of Paris on days when the weather is nicer. But DO plan on getting out of Paris. Chances are you will have many more trips to France, and a few days in Paris is a natural for lots of trips to Europe. It takes about three days - - multipled by a dozen trips to see all that's great about Paris.

But to see Paris and not see ANY of the wonders that lie just outside the city is to get a very mis-representative perspective of "everyone's second country".
Old Feb 28th, 2001, 02:48 PM
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We were in Paris in November, and with a lot of rain. We went out one afternoon and do not regret it, I have seen it in "full bloom" but even in the rain, and no bloom, we felt we saw something worthwhile and would do it again.

Old Feb 28th, 2001, 02:54 PM
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I do think it is worth the trip. The train ride itself is worth it, and if you do go be sure and rent the head sets, definately worth it. Take a night time boat ride in Paris, it was wonderful! Enjoy-
Old Feb 28th, 2001, 02:58 PM
Bob Brown
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I think visiting Versailles is important if you know anything at all about French history. Before I went, people like Louis XIV and his court was more like as fairy story. I had heard of the treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, and laid the foundation for WW II!!
Also the unified nation of Germany was proclaimed there in 1871 by a triumphant Bismarck.
If you are not up on the history of France, then I question whether or not the trip is worthwhile. The lavish interiors are hard to believe and some people find it hard to comprehend that real people lived there, even if they were royals.
There is some question in my mind as to the best time to go. We tried taking RER C to Versailles Rive Gauche. That works well enough. Even though we were there to purchase our tickets before the box office opened, we were not early enough to get ahead of the mob. By the time we got to the Kings Bedchamber, the crowd was so thick that seening the Hall of Mirrors was a chore.
I have heard that the best time to enter the palace itself is about 3 hours before closing. The tour bus crowds are elsewhere by then. I would be willing to try it, because it could not be any worse than it was when we went through.

I agree that Versailles is a main attraction. But, for my money, Fontainebleau is equally important in French history. Napolean lived there when he was not off fighting some battle or other. And many of the French kings lived there for part of the year in what is referred to as a hunting lodge.

I think you could do one or the other as part of a 6 day visit. The big question mark is the Louvre. It is so huge that seeing it fairly well takes a day. I run out of gas after about 5 to 6 hours of looking at paintings, so for me it is best to break the Louvre into sections.
Musee d'Orsay is a must for art lovers of the Impressionist period. The Rodin Museum is fascinating and well done.
Other smaller museums are all over Paris, many of them quite rewarding to visit. And then there is Ste. Chapelle which for me is an absolute must.

And I would not be true to my faith if I did not mention Vaux le Vicomte. Designed and built for Nicolas Forquet by Louis le Veau, Andre le Notre, and
Charles le Brun it is a masterpiece of chateau building. The three men just mentioned are the same ones who were
"requested" by Louis XIV to design and build Versailles.
If you are going to take a trip out of the city, you might consider the tour by Paris Vision that takes you to both Vaux and Fontainebleau on the same day.
I would go back to both of those places before I would make a return visit to Versailles.
Old Feb 28th, 2001, 02:58 PM
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Given a choice of a single daytrip out of Paris, I personally favor a visit to Chartres and its magnificent cathedral over Versailles. And if you do go to Chartres, be sure to catch Malcolm Miller's tour of the cathedral - just show up at the entrance to the cathedral giftshop. (I believe they take place at 11 and 2:30 daily, but do a search here for "Malcolm Miller" to get details and feedback.)
Old Feb 28th, 2001, 11:33 PM
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If you get to Versailles first thing in the AM, take the guided tour (which shows rooms that the general one didn't), walk around the gardens, you can be back in Paris before 3 PM. You don't have to spend the entire day. If you've seen the palaces in Vienna and Florence then you might think that Versailles isn't as grand, but I thought it was pretty cool for the most part. Plus, like the other poster said, the historical portion was really quite interesting. If you're not going to go to Versailles, I would recommend a day trip somewhere out of Paris.
Old Mar 1st, 2001, 08:01 AM
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Though I'm not very fond of Versailles myself (I don't real like the gardens "a la francaise" nor the architecture of this period), it's difficult to advise someone not to see Versailles. It's possibly the most important monument in the second half of the XVII° century in Europe, and it has been the model for numerous palaces all over the continent.
If you have a minimal interest in architecture, it's an absolute must-see.

The interiors are really worth it for their decoration (once again, not my cup of tea) but you must know that there's only a limited number of rooms with furnitures (and the tours/tickets don't allow you to see all of them... there's different visits including different rooms) but they're impressives.

The more I think about it, the more I believe it must be part of a 6 days stay.

Also, you should avoid the tuesdays (the Louvre is closed, and there's more tours) and the saturdays (more parisian visitors, without the benefit of the fountains), though in march it shouldn't be that crowded.

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