Europe: Day Trip to Versailles

If you take a trip to Paris, you MUST take a day trip to Versailles! We were there in October and the weather was perfect.  Get on the train early, wear your good walking shoes, and pack a picnic and an umbrella just in case. You can also opt to eat on the grounds as there are several eateries, but if you ask me, it’s more fun (and romantic if you’re looking for that kind of thing) to picnic on these vast and beautiful grounds.

we took the RER Line C from Paris to Versailles-Rive Gauche station. If you’re like us, you’ll need to ask someone to make sure you’re getting on the right train because, from what I remember, the signage was a little confusing.  But don’t fret because before you know it, you’ll be off to one of the most opulent and beautiful palaces in all of Europe.

When we got out of the train station we walked in the general direction of most of the people, because we figured they were all headed to Versailles as well. If you take a right out of the station and walk down a ways, you can’t miss the palace grounds.

DSC_0072 DSC_0075 Here’s Ryan keepin’ it classy DSC_0076Keep in mind, everything you see that looks yellow or gilded, is actually gold. All of it. GOLD. I wonder how much the gate we’re standing in front of would cost…
DSC_0079We bought the standard audio self-guided tour which was more than sufficient and allowed us through to all the main rooms and sights.

DSC_0084 DSC_0085 DSC_0091 DSC_0093 DSC_0094 DSC_0097 I just LOVE this hallwayDSC_0098 Make sure and take some time to listen to the wonderful audio guide you just paid for…don’t be like me and get too excited and just start running room to room taking a bazillion pictures, anxiously anticipating the moment you can lay eyes on the infamous  Galerie des Glaces- Hall of Mirrors.  See Ryan here taking his time with audio.DSC_0113 DSC_0118 DSC_0120

Hall of Mirrors

240 feet long, with gold candlesticks, crystal chandeliers, and a ceiling painted as homage to Louis the XIV’s reign.

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Marie Antoinette’s bed chambers

Where she lived, slept, went to the bathroom, and had children. This room was designed specifically with her love of flowers and botanicals in mind.  Apparently, she was never really happy here. Oh come on Marie, who wouldn’t love dizzying wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling floral patterns?  Seriously though, learning some of her history, I started to feel sorry for her.

This would have been her view waking up…

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After leaving the palace and turning in your audio guide, your visit shouldn’t stop there. Go out and roam the grounds, maybe not all 250 acres of them, but definitely do some exploring. It had started to rain as we left, so we whipped out our umbrellas and began walking through the trees and gardens on our way towards the Grand Canal (the long strip of water that runs about a mile long starting at the palace and extending onward).

DSC_0222 DSC_0214Go ahead and jump for joy like no ones watching, you’ll want to, trust me. DSC_0227 - Version 2 DSC_0241 DSC_0244The Grand CanalDSC_0268

We saw people in row boats and thought that looked like fun so we rented one for an hour. Note: have a form of ID to hand over for the rental.

DSC_0285 DSC_0290Two minutes into the boat adventure, I start whipping out my snacks, because that’s what I do.
DSC_0302I swapped seats with Ryan so he could also relax a little bit.
DSC_0337We actually had a lot of fun.  So add this to the list of things to do at Versailles.

And if you know me at all, you know I couldn’t leave without feeding the swans some of my leftover crackers.

DSC_0364DSC_0369 and who could say no to that face? I may have fed the fish too…DSC_0376

There are a few choices of places to eat. We grabbed some drinks here, but they sell sandwiches and other yummy things.  Inside the palace there is also an Angelina’s and Laduree. After having spent money on the rentals, I decided not to spend $20 on a macaron and hot chocolate, and bought a mug from the gift shop instead 🙂

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Renting bikes was the best idea of the day! So much fun and worth the rental fee. It was so peaceful with the leaves falling all around and the breeze cooling us down.  Also, it was nice to feel like we were getting a little bit of exercise other than walking.

DSC_0396DSC_0420 DSC_0450FYI: Make sure and pay attention to the “no bike” signs in a few areas or you’ll get a french guard chasing after you and yelling- totally didn’t happen to us- I’m just saying.

Having felt really spoiled at this moment in time and not really believing that WE had just had an amazing day at Versailles, we decided to end our trip on a wonderful note and make our way back to the train station.  I can’t really explain the surreal feelings that come over you as you’re frolicking around the grounds of Versailles, so you will just have to go and experience this yourself.  Yes, I’m suggesting you literally frolic.

DSC_0459This statue sits outside the gates and the entrance to the palace. I can definitely see how the poor citizens would have wanted the French Revolution to come about while they’re living in filth, famine, and disease, and the king is living…well…HERE. DSC_0468We grabbed some food for the ride back. Pictured here is the best sandwich I had in all of Europe. I still think about that sandwich from time to time. I mean, it was meat and cheese on a moist and soft baguette. Can it get any better than that?  It was from the sandwich shop right across from the train station but that’s all I remember. Sorry.
DSC_0475Have any of you ever been to Versailles? What was your favorite part? I hope if you haven’t been, that you get the opportunity to one day. I already want to go back.

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