I still have a lot to share about the Amsterdam portion of our trip to Europe, but for today I’m jumping over to Paris. My daughter has been learning about World War I and was asked to bring in photos from her visit to Versailles, which means that I am editing those photos first. 🙂
Palace of Versailles.
While we were in Paris, we did opt to take a day trip out to the Palace of Versailles. I have so many photos from this part of the trip that I will be presenting them in a multi-part story.
We decided the night before that the next day would work best for our schedule. It’s best to order tickets online. If you are good at planning ahead, you would probably do this prior to heading to Paris. We wanted to watch the weather before making our decision. The concierge of our hotel was very helpful in ordering up our tickets and giving us the printout of the ticket.
The cost to visit the Palace and the Estate of Trianon is 20€. The gardens are free unless there is a musical fountain or garden show. If you are under 18 (or under 26 if you reside in the EU), then there is free admission. When traveling with 3 teens this is a welcome surprise (just be sure to have i.d. for any child that might look questionable as to whether they are under 18. Such as my 6’6″ teenager. Only the Louvre questioned him in two entry points, one of which asked for i.d.).
How to get there.
I mentioned in my last Friday Faves that we stayed at the Hotel Opera Richepanse, located at 14 rue du Chevalier de St. Georges. This is located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. The metro line 8 was easily walkable from the hotel. Both to the Madeline and the Concorde stop.
Based on Google maps, it is perhaps slightly closer to the Madeline stop, but the Concorde stop is beside Place de la Concorde and Jardins de Tuileries and I enjoyed seeing those spots every day. Speaking of Google maps… the app was VERY helpful in navigating the city.
Versailles is considered Zone 4, so it is not the standard Paris metro ticket for riding around the city. I’m sure it was better to purchase a round-trip ticket, but we purchased them one way on either end. The cost was 3,55€ per person (at the time of our trip, April 2017). The metro was a little overwhelming with this day trip being our first use of it.
We took the 8 line to Invalides, where we caught the RER C to the Gare de Versailles Chateau/ Rive Gauche stop. It was about a 30-minute train ride from where we got on at the Invalides stop. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the train station. There are signs everywhere, but there are also crowds all heading that way as well.
Versailles is definitely a sight to behold.
Originally the site of a hunting lodge for the future Louis XIII, the rebuilding of the residence from 1631-1634 laid the basis for the palace as it is today. Louis XIV was the one who would love the place and build it into the masterpiece that it would become. More work was done under the reign of Louis XV.
Louis XVI would spend a lot of his time in Versailles until the court would leave for Paris in 1789, where Louis XVI and Marie-Antionette would be executed along with over 1200 others at Place de la Concorde during the Reign of Terror.
It was hard to imagine that such horrific events happened at Place de la Concorde while standing with my girlie and watching the sunset.
Back to Versailles.
Here is where I tell you to learn from my mistake.
I had read if you don’t get there early (i.e. -you are traveling with teens), visit the gardens first and then come back to tour the palace.
If you look at the first photo of the palace, you will see a white tent. This is where they do a cursory look into your bag. Then you get in line to see the palace. All of those people in the photo above are in line. There are four or five rows, stretching from near the white tent to near the palace gate. We are in the final row before you are in line along the gate and walking through the entrance.
Once inside, they will scan your ticket and then you put your bags through a scanner and walking through the metal detector. You are then free to explore the palace.
That line to get inside was 1 1/2 hours!
I thought it was a requirement to get through security.
THIS IS ONLY FOR THE PALACE.
There is an entrance with signage to the left of the pillared part of the building for the gardens. We arrived to this crowd around 10:45 a.m., when we left the estate at 4:30, there was not a line! The palace did not close until 6:30. Had I understood that the line was palace security only, we would have done the gardens and Trianons. The Queen’s hamlet was ultimately the destination that I most wanted to see.
Don’t get me wrong. The palace was definitely stunning.
Its architecture was magnificent.
The history palpable.
We stood inside the Royal Gate, which was originally torn down in the French Revolution and was re-created with gold leaf and unveiled in 2008.
Standing inside those gates, it was hard to believe that during a moment in history, this was where the Royal Court stood.
It would be inside these walls that the Treaty of Versailles would be signed on June 28, 1919, officially ending World War I.
My words and photos can’t do justice to the amount of history held between these walls. In a tying together of visits to two wonderful cities, Versailles felt like a good conclusion from a history component to the fact that we visited the Anne Frank museum while in Amsterdam.
I hope that you’ll check back for more from my trip to Versailles… the interior, the gardens, the hamlet and more.
Plus I have plenty more to share from the wanderlust created by Paris and Amsterdam.
Let your light shine!