Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Dork's Guide to Versailles

Sorry for the long delay. I've been meaning to write about Versailles since my post on the Louvre, but stuff got in the way and I was forced to hold it back many, many times.

As my European adventure was coming to a close, I was asked by my cousins which place in France impressed me the most. And I remember answering "Versailles". Each of them had their favorites too, but they agreed that Versailles, in one way or another, rocked.

Getting to Versailles can be a bit tricky. First, let's try to get your tickets.

Option 1. You can buy your tickets right at Versailles. But check out the line:

Versailles
A long a winding road...


So let's scrap Option 1. Moving forward...

Option 2. If you are planning your visit to Versailles way ahead of time, you can purchase your tickets from their website. Go to this page. If you want access to all parts of the estate, pick The Passport (Les Passeport). This includes tours of the Palace, the garden, Marie-Antoinette's estate and a portable audio guide. Cost: 16-18 euro (about $25). While purchasing you will be asked what date you are visiting. Pick any day except Monday or any holiday because most if not all parts of the museum will be closed. Be sure to go to Versailles on the specified date!!

Option 3. If you are already in France or simply forgot that Versailles existed before your trip, you may opt to buy your ticket from an FNAC outlet. FNAC is sort of like their Barnes and Noble and CompUSA combined. I found it daunting just figuring out what FNAC was until I got lucky and asked someone who understood what I was saying. I kept asking "What is F-NAC?" or "What is F-N-A-C?". All I got were looks of bewilderment. So I had an epiphany: They say their letters differently! To say FNAC in French you say it like: EF EN AH SAY.. just think of it as if you're mouthing "Effin' I say" with disgust. LOL ... There are many FNAC stores scattered in the city. The one nearest my hotel was the one in Saint Lazare. Google FNAC Versailles to find out what's nearest you. Once you're in the store, approach an FNAC person and ask "Tickets to Versailles?" and pray he'll understand the "Versailles" part and point you to the right direction. You must say "Versailles" correctly or you will fail. It's pronounced ver-'sigh.

Ok, so you think buying tickets is a chore, try taking a train to Versailles.

Versailles is about 45 minutes from Paris. The station you want to get off at is Versailles Rive-Gauche. The only train that goes there is the RER C line. It is the yellow line in the subway map. Do not confuse it with the 9 line, which has a mustard color. The C train has many stops, but depending on where you're billeted, it may or may not be available in your nearest train station. Because the Opera station was the closest to me, I first had to take the 8 train to Balard. Then I got off on Invalides, then caught the C train to Versailles Rive-Gauche (see illustration).

Versailles Map

There are schedules posted in the station for trains leaving for Versailles. If all else fails, approach other tourists and ask which train they are waiting for.

Once you're in Versailles territory, again, follow the flock of tourists until you reach the palace grounds.

Versailles
Finally!! Can we go back now? LOL


Have your tickets ready and flash them at the unfortunate folks lining up on the left side of the palace. Haha. Go straight to the right side where you'll find the entrance. Pick up your audio guide. From what I recall, this is the very first thing you'll see:

Versailles

I *think* this is a chapel where Louis married Marie Antoinette. The chapel reflects the expensive taste of the royal couple. It is **just** a chapel but it looks more like a cathedral to me!

Versailles - Hall of Mirrors
This is me standing in the famous Hall of Mirrors. The hall was used by Louis XV to walk from his room to the chapel. Whaaaat? It was later used by his grandson for private functions and weddings.


Versailles - Fireplace
I felt like a dwarf standing next to this gigantic fireplace. >.<


Versailles - Exterior
A view of the back of the palace from outside.


Versailles
One of the many vast ponds found in the estate gardens.


Versailles - Maze
Me being a dufus and pretending to be lost in the garden maze hehe


I have lots more pictures here that I can show you if we ever meet :P Versailles is a must-see if you're in France. If you're wondering whatever happened to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, well, due to Louis' lameness as a King and Marie's numerous scandals, the masses plotted against them and resulted in the French Revolution. The royal family was arrested, tried and convicted of treason. Louis and Marie were executed by guillotine. Only one of their 4 children survived -- their eldest daughter, Marie Therese, who I believe married some rich guy in Russia :P

6 comments:

  1. Just reading this very expensive blog post made me poorer! LOL.

    Nice pics, Drew!

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  2. Wow. I want to go there as well! Maybe if i say yes to my mom's offer, i'd be able to enjoy my own euro tour :D

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  3. Hi Drew!

    Great post! I'm sorry but I'm about to ask a totally unrelated question. I saw your post in Alleba.com's blog. I just want to ask, does Yahoo have something similar to Google's Insights for Search and Trends? Can you point me to where I could find it in Yahoo? I'm really stumped. Thanks in advance!

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  4. Wew...kakainggit naman

    bloghopping here...

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  5. @lyle: LOL.. this trip made me literally poor!

    @mica: you should visit France during your tour :P

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  6. thanks for the tip on the train system out to Versailles....great stuff

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