After three days of theme parks, we decided to finish the week with a little more culture by visiting the Palace of Versailles.
We weren’t keen on driving in Paris, but luckily the route to Versailles was fairly straight forward and avoided the city centre.
The roads around Versailles themselves are very quaint and there is a handy carpark directly outside the palace, costing €16 per day. What we weren’t expecting was the sheer size of the queue to enter the palace.
We hadn’t bought tickets in advance, which actually worked in our favour as the queue for tickets was much shorter and they gave you fast tracked access. We opted to buy Passport tickets which give you access to the whole Estate of Versailles, which cost €20 per person with kids getting in free.
Once inside we collected our audio guides and headed into the palace for a self-guided tour.
The audio guides were easy to use, with clear numbers in each section of the palace to ensure you were listening to the correct information. There was even a children’s guide for the kids, although you had to be 8 or over to use it, much to Sebby’s disappointment.
The tour itself started off fairly quietly and we ambled from room to room, stopping to admire artwork that covered the walls and ceilings.
Each room was more opulent than the next and the kids were fascinated by the huge beds and wondered how people actually managed to get in them………we decided on a small trampete in the end!
Items like the Kings bed were roped off, making it easy to take photo’s, but the further we got into the palace, the busier it became.
I was really looking forward to visiting the infamous Hall of Mirrors (Galerie des Glaces) which is a huge hall lined with more than 350 mirrors, but it was jam-packed with people.
It was still a very impressive room, but the kids hated being there as they were constantly being knocked or shoved out the way, so we had to make a fairly rapid exit.
The palace tour took us around an hour, but we sped through the latter stages of it as the kids were started to feel hemmed in.
Thankfully, as soon as we were outside in the magnificent garden, the crowds disappeared and we could relax and explore at our own pace again.
Despite being the end of October when we visited, the gardens were immaculate, with something to explore around every corner.
In fact, the gardens are a children’s paradise, with hidden treasures to find and stunning fountains throughout.
We decided to walk it, but you can catch a land train or hire a golf buggy to take you around as the whole estate covers 2000 acres.
Sadly during our visit the fountains were not working, however we were treated to classical music from hidden speakers throughout the gardens.
Visiting the Palace of Versailles was definitely worth it, but there were parts that we missed including the Petit Trianon, Grand Trianon, Marie-Antoinette’s Hamlet so if you are staying in the city longer, I would recommend a two-day ticket so you get to see it all.
What it did give us was a real sense of French history and the kids have all been researching Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution since getting home.
Would you like to visit the Palace of Versailles or do the crowds put you off?