The Best Versailles Itinerary | French Californian

The Best Itinerary for Versailles

Remember how I used to live in Versailles, France? I spent over three years walking those streets, exploring the château grounds, and riding the train back and forth to Paris countless times. I think you could say I’m pretty familiar with it! That’s why I finally want to share my perfect day in Versailles.

I’ve gotten messages from travelers asking for advice about how to tackle Versailles in one day. With the main chateau, the massive gardens, two smaller palaces, more gardens, a hamlet, and not to mention the surrounding city itself, planning a successful, efficient day trip to Versailles is completely overwhelming if you’re starting from zero knowledge.

But that’s alright! I got you!

I’m going to lay out everything you ever wanted to know about spending a fantastic day in Versailles. First, I’ll go over some practical information. Then, I’ll give my ideal itinerary, step-by-step, including a walking route on a custom Google map!  You can take or leave whatever you want, but this information is bound to be super helpful.

Here we go!

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Marie Antoinette's Garden in Spring - French Californian

Marie Antoinette’s Garden During Spring

Every time spring rolls around, there’s always that first perfectly temperate, blue-skied, wonderful day of the year. Whenever it arrives, without fail, I find myself proclaiming it the BEST DAY EVER. It can’t be the best day ever if it happens every single year! Aside from my excitability when it comes to weather (yes, I can and will discuss weather in casual conversation), last Sunday really was perfect. Apparently, the rest of Versailles thought so too, because droves of people were outdoors.

None of my 3 friends could come with me, so I explored on my own. But it’s all the same to me – I explore alone most of the time. It’s actually therapeutic for me, to wander around and observe beauty (and take pictures of it).

I made my way through town and towards the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s domain, comfortably removed from the main palace and all the strict rules and regulations that came with it. From here, she created a universe filled with romantic gardens and farm animals. When I explore this area of the grounds, I like to think that I can still feel her presence lingering.

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The Gardens of Versailles in Autumn

During the two years I’ve lived near the Versailles gardens, can you believe I’ve never seen the fountains when they’re turned on? You see, there are lots of Baroque fountains and groves peppered throughout the massive gardens, but since they’re so old, they can’t be running water constantly. So every weekend (excluding weekends in winter), all the fountains turn on and the entire garden is filled with the sounds of water and Baroque music. It really adds to the ambiance – which is impressive, considering the gardens already have a ton of ambiance to begin with.

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In the Tuileries garden

Visual Diary – Summer’s Over

The change in season has brought about many changes in day-to-day life. In early September, not just one, but three friends moved into town. Two of those friends were originally made during my study-abraod adventures two years ago, all of us hailing from different parts of the US. It’s amazing that all of us find ourselves back in the same place once more.  My weekends now consist of dinner with friends, wiiU game tournaments, and friendly meet-ups for coffee or walks through the park. I haven’t felt that crushing sense of boredom and depression that hit me all too frequently in the past months.  Filling a life with even the smallest of meaningful activities makes such a big difference.  Having people I trust in my immediate surroundings makes me feel less like an alien and more like I have a place here.

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Visual Diary: French Summer

How does one have a quintessential French summer?  The biggest requirement is to abandon all work and responsibilities and head for the beaches of Greece or the Côte d’Azure for the entirety of August – my version of a getaway will come later in the month.  What is also typically Parisian is attending an awesome music festival, and sipping cold rosé, which I also have not done yet, since I’m a hopeless home-body. What I have been doing, however, is enjoying the pleasant weather in the form of picnics, sunbathing, and lounging on the terrasse of bars and restaurants with friends.

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