"At the Palace of Versailles timing is everything!" Versailles by ringleader

Versailles Travel Guide: 697 reviews and 2,626 photos

Timing is Everything!

Versailles was truly a king's dream-palace. Until the French Revolution the royal family lived here when they weren't about somewhere else (100 years). We were told that Louis XIV spent a half a year's income of France's (Europe's richest country at the time) turning his father's hunting lodge into this incredible, rich palace. Austrian-born Marie Antionette lived here, but moved out of the palace into a more comfortable, smaller place in the gardens because there was social friction between her and her mother-in-law.

As we approached the gates, we knew we were in trouble. Saturday at Versailles means HUGE crowds - especially during vacation times. We were there on Ascenion Day holiday weekend. So, we found ourselves waiting in a long line.

When we entered the palace, we were overwhelmed with the noise bouncing off of the elegantly painted ceilings and walls and wooden or marble floors. There were massive amounts of people swarming around, bumping into us, blocking our view. To a sight-seer, it was a nightmare. So, we did our best to see the sights and enjoy the noisy elegance as best we could. We found out if we could have waited and gone shortly before dinner, it would have been practically empty. But, we couldn't do that.

Mobbed Elegance

Attached you'll find several photos of Versailles Palace inside. I tried to capture some of the elegance inbetween the crowds and share the best with you. It was really quite an elegant place. I think my favorite was the gallery of the great battles of France. I liked the paintings, even though I didn't know their history in war - but I think I liked the fact that there were 1/3 as many people here, and my ears had a little rest.

You can see the mobs of people in the Hall of Mirrors where the famous Treaty of Versailles was signed, ending WW1.This was a LARGE room, so the crowds spread out some when we got here, but not by too much.

The Best Places to Stay, Eat, and Park

Also attached is a photo of the Queen's room - she could count lovely roses instead of sheep! By the way, did you know that the things you say are very important?! Marie Antionette may have escaped with her head during the French Revolution, but when the poor, common people found out that when she heard the plight of their not having bread to eat she recommended, "Let them eat cake." Cake is what she grew up on in Austria, I assume, and perhaps she was really out of touch with the situation and made a careless, unknowing comment - but, it cost her her head.

We stayed in the IBIS Hotel across from the train station in Versailles. It is perfectly located and their room rates lower for the weekend. Also, across from the train station, we ate at a great creperie cafe. We parked our car in the secure garage belonging to the IBIS while we toured the grand Versailles Palace. (Parking cost 9 E).

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Definitely a Palace of Palaces!
  • Cons:Look out for the mobs!
  • In a nutshell:Schedule your visit in the late afternoon or early evening.
  • Last visit to Versailles: May 2003
  • Intro Updated Mar 4, 2004
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Reviews (8)

Comments (3)

  • GinGinCoo's Profile Photo
    Mar 10, 2004 at 4:34 PM

    wow look at that mob at the Hall of Mirrors! LOL, it wasnt like that when I was there almost 9 yrs ago in 95! I'm jealous, you took great pics! while I was stuck with my sure-shot camera then! Now, digital camera rules!

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2004 at 5:13 PM

    An absolutely fantastic introduction with extraordinary photographs. Tips were informative and quite interesting, sometimes entertaining. Well written and the enthusiasm is delightful.

  • Jul 30, 2003 at 5:37 AM

    Welcome to VT...Fantastic start...nice presentation..beautiful phtographs...Awaiting for more of your travellouges and the pictures of the places you have visited...nice day..

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