Day Trips From Paris: Versailles


This is the first in a three-part "Day Trips From Paris" series where we explore day trip options in Versailles, Giverny and Reims.

Day Trip To Versailles, France

One of the easiest and most famous day trips from Paris is Versailles, home of the extravagant château which inspired so many other royal palaces. It was here that Marie Antoinette strolled in the gardens and pretended to be a shepherdess in her Hameau (hamlet). It was here armed Parisian women converged and forced the King Louis XVI to return with them to Paris. And it was here that the Treaty of Versailles was signed, ending World War I and sowing the seeds of World War II.

The gardens designed by André Le Nôtre cover nearly 50 acres, including formal parterres, wooded groves, water basins and fountains using water pumped from the Seine by an ingenious 17th-century hydraulic system. The spectacular Apollo fountain, with the sun god’s chariot drawn by galloping horses, marks the entrance to the forested park, a 1,500-acre expanse that includes the cross-shaped Grand Canal. Every Tuesday, July through October, classical music plays throughout the gardens between 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. To avoid crowds, arrive at 9 a.m. or two hours before closing.

Extend Your Stay

Although Versailles is an easy day trip from Paris, you can also make it a more relaxed two-day visit. Spend the first day seeing the main château and gardens, and the second day exploring the smaller Trianon palaces and the Hameau. The Trianon Palace hotel, which almost adjoins the royal domain, has a two-star restaurant run by Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay, a simpler brasserie, a Guerlain spa and a terrific indoor swimming pool.

This piece originally appear in the April/May/June 2015 Traveler magazine. Click here to access the full issue.

By Hideaway Report Staff

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