We reserved the first half of our last day in France for a short trip to Château de Versailles. Seems fitting doesn’t it? Also, considering the itinerary my husband drew up for our Paris trip, it seemed better to venture out of the city on our last day.
I’ve always been fascinated by this place – even before the public’s whole Marie Antoinette obsession that followed the release of Sofia Coppola’s movie. Side note: Didn’t like the movie. It lacked character development. Great shots and soundtrack though. Also, Kirsten Dunst was perfect for the role.
There’s just something so intriguing about this palace. From its grandeur, the lavish lifestyle of its former inhabitants, and for it being the setting of their downfall as well. It actually makes you want to wish that the walls can talk.
To this day, the château remains to be a symbol of France’s absolute monarchy or what they call the ‘old regime’.
The easiest way is by taking the RER train (not the Metro) to the Versailles Rive Gauche station. From there, the palace is only a short walk. There will be maps all over the station.
It’s best to book your tickets online as lines outside the palace are horrendous. Especially if you’re visiting in the summer. We were lucky that it was starting to get cold during our visit so we didn’t end up sweating and burning under the sun while we waited to get inside, tickets in hand. We stood in line for about 15 minutes which isn’t so bad though. But of course, on warmer days, the wait will definitely be longer. A ticket that will take you through the palace and the gardens is at 15 Euros. This price also includes the audio guide. If you want to enter the Trianon estates, there will be extra fees.
Located about 20 kilometres from Paris, Versailles used to be a sleepy village but nowadays, its a bit of a posh suburb. Louis XIII had a hunting lodge built in this area but it was later on expanded and renovated by the Kings that followed him: Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI.
The château has indeed come a long way from its stone and brick hunting lodge days. It’s the epitome of grandeur – with art and gold leafing in almost every corner, painted ceilings, intricate sculptures, and lavish furniture. It can be overwhelming.