I won’t need a castle, they’ve got castles in VersaillesPaul McCartney, “Beautiful Night”
Ah, Versailles – a town that oozes history and just a short train ride away from Paris. I was fortunate enough to visit Versailles for the second time in the fall of 2018 with my mom, and the first time in the summer of 2012 right after I graduated from college with a group of 30 or so other students.
If you’re coming from Paris, just the RER train ride alone is stunning. You pass by the Eiffel Tower, the Seine River and through charming little French towns before you arrive in Versailles a little over an hour later. As you get off the RER and make the short walk to the palace, instantly you’re in awe. Saying the palace is enormous is an understatement to say the least. This place is completely over-the-top for 2020 standards, let alone in the 17th century! I personally am not one to sign up for any “touristy” events or tours while I’m on a trip anywhere, but since you’re not allowed inside the palace without being on a tour, for a tour we went!
The tour was incredible. My mom and I booked ours through getyourguide.com and our tour guide was absolutely phenomenal; truly top-notch. I probably learned more about European and French history on this tour than I did in any history class I took in high school or college. It was wild getting to stand in Marie Antoinette’s bedroom, walk through the Hall of Mirrors and personally seeing where the former King and Queen of France lived and roamed.
Part of the Versailles gardens
Then the gardens. Oh my, the gardens. Just as extravagant, magical and perfect as they look in photographs and in movies. The grounds are deceivingly large; you could easily spend 2-3 hours walking through them and barely see everything.
After strolling through the gardens for a couple of hours we finally get to Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet and OH. MY. GOODNESS. Talk about breathtaking. Everything in this area is picture-perfect, truly out of a fairy tale. This little village she had built especially for her was her oasis, and served as a purpose for her to escape the Court of Versailles and the stresses of daily life. And of course, to host little gatherings! I would have spent all my time here too, shoot.
If you’re ever in Versailles in the summertime, there is a spectacular fireworks show over the gardens that’s truly magnificent. I was lucky enough to experience this in the summer of 2012, although the show was short lived for my friend Deanna and I. As it was approaching 1 A.M. we had to make a run for the last RER train back to Paris or else we would have been stranded there!
When our tour concluded, we walked over to an awesome local café, which for the life of me I wish I had written down the name. Since we were on our feet for 10+ hours, a glass (or two) of wine was definitely had and a little indulgence of quatre fromage pasta. On our walk back to the train station we took one last little stroll around town then hit the local Versailles Starbucks before heading back to Paris. Versailles is an amazing day trip and one I highly recommend if you’re in Paris for awhile.
Overall, I would go back to Versailles again and again. There is something so incredible about visiting a place that is so rich in history, and not to mention absolutely stunning at that. I loved getting to spend this time with my mom and cannot wait to come back. If you haven’t been just do yourself a favor and book a trip to Versailles when safe and possible to do so. You won’t regret it – unless you wear uncomfortable shoes. Then you might regret it a little.
Thanks for reading!