We took a day trip out to Château de Versailles during our stay in Paris. The skies were good to us, providing the perfect azure background for our photographs in the gorgeous gardens. Even a simple stroll through the Orangerie proved to be a feat; there were a few groups who rented mini buggies and rolled around the gardens in prideful ease. I do love the tranquility of the gardens, and how they are open to the public free of charge. The locals do their daily activities such as jogging and cycling in the famous lands, once reserved only for the royals, sharing the benefits of this beauty to all who can appreciate. The sprawling lands provided us with much appreciated privacy despite visiting during a peak tourist season. We bought a small lunch from a boulangerie back in Paris and enjoyed our favorite French pastries on a cool stone bench. Needless to say, the château was the epitome of opulence and majesty; the ceilings alone took my breath away.
Entrance is 18euros, and it includes an audio guide. Do not make the mistake of joining the extremely long queue leading up past the golden gates of the Palace without first buying your ticket. The ticket office is located in the left building, whereas the queue is only for those who wish to enter the palace and have already bought their tickets. If you wish to avoid the queue, you can visit the gardens, the Grand Trianon and Marie Antoinette’s estate first as they are rather empty even during peak hours. The queue to the palace would dissipate by late noon, leaving you ample time to enter without having to queue. If you simply wish to visit the gardens, walk towards the left and you would see the walkway leading up to it. Personally I found the Palace much grander than the Grand Trianon and Marie Antoinette’s Estate, which paled largely in comparison, so if you are pressed for time, go for the Palace! If you are up for some exercise, you can rent a boat and float out on the lake in the gardens.
Another tip would be to purchase your return ticket to central Paris before heading to the château, as the queue for the ticket machines are insanely long at the station in the evening. If you forget to do so, be sure to have some coins as some of the machines do not accept cards or bills.
Touristy as it is, I enjoyed the day trip to Versailles very much. Perhaps it was the romantic atmosphere, the luxurious surroundings, or the company, or the concoction of all three elements that created a lovely beginning to our adventure in France.