Paris Day 2-Visiting Versailles
Versailles wasn’t originally on my list of things to do during our 3 days in Paris but several friends told me it was worth a day so I squeezed it into our packed itinerary and I am so glad I did! If you are visiting Paris and can find a day for it I would definitely recommend it as I think it may have been my favorite thing we did while there. The Versailles version of this post is written in more of a how-to style as compared to my other travel posts, everything we did worked out pretty well so if anyone reading this plans to visit sometime in the future, I hope this helps!
Château De Versailles is huge and incredibly busy. Plan on spending your entire day there. Bring a backpack with sandwiches, chips, and water and find a seat in the vast gardens to soak in all the beauty.
If at all possible, avoid visiting on days that the Louvre or Musee d’Orsay are closed because that makes it that much busier. Buy your tickets online ahead of time. The ticket line is separate from the line to get into the palace, which is long enough on its own. Waiting an extra hour or so on top of that to buy tickets just makes it that much worse.
Even if you already have tickets, get there early! The palace opens at 9am and there will already be a line forming at 8am. We didn’t arrive until around 10:30am due to breakfast and train times and we waited about an hour to get in (we already had our tickets) and the place was packed!
Don’t spend all your time in the palace. It’s crowded and annoying and the beauty of Versailles lies in the gardens and the other places on the property. Cruise through the palace; check out the rooms, get some pictures in the hall of mirrors (with you and the hundreds of other people in the room), maybe stop for some hot chocolate at Angelina if you haven’t already visited them in Paris, then get out of there!
Rent bikes to get around the gardens and to get to the Grand and Petit Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet. The line for the trams is ridiculously long and it moves slow and just isn’t as cool. When you exit the palace it is not very evident that you can rent bikes-it looks like the tram is your only option. It isn’t. Walk down towards the gardens and the pond and once you get to the bottom you will see the bike rentals to your right. It is inexpensive and it allows you to explore all the remote, quieter places on the property more quickly than walking or riding the tram. This was my absolute favorite part of the day. You leave the crowds of tourists at the Palace for quiet, green trails with nobody else in sight. The paths are generally flat so the ride isn’t very difficult at all. I could spend days here just attempting to take it all in. You can even rent row boats if you feel like getting out into the large pond-just an endless number of things to explore!
We ended up leaving Versailles around 3pm but I definitely could’ve stayed for a few more hours just riding around. After stopping back at our B&B to freshen up, we headed to a tiki-themed bar called Dirty Dick that Mike found on Yelp. I was a little hesitant but the reviews were great so we gave it a shot and it was awesome! It’s owned by an ex-pat who knows how to make some pretty mean cocktails-these aren’t your average sugar and rum tiki drinks. Dirty Dick was voted one of the best cocktail bars in Europe and it’s no wonder why. All of their juices are freshly squeezed and their mixers are all homemade. I had 3 different drinks (I couldn’t help myself!) and I loved every single one of them.
Not only were the drinks outstanding, the people and decor were great as well. A guy that I’m guessing was some kind of distributor was there while we were there and when he overheard we were on our honeymoon he gave Mike a small glass of the most incredible rum either of us have ever tasted-Santa Teresa Bicentenario-apparently a rare, ultra-pricey bottle…we enjoyed every tiny sip, and we don’t even like rum!
I could’ve stayed all night but that probably would’ve ended badly…so we peeled ourselves away and headed down the street on recommendation of the owner for a 3 course prix fixe dinner at Les Affranchis. Even though we weren’t 100% sure on what exactly it was that we ordered, it was delicious nonetheless and after the 3rd course we were rolling ourselves home to rest up for Day #3 in Paris-the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay!