While visiting any place I usually go for early morning tour of that city. It is the probably the best way to start your day and vey much satisfying. While walking along the street of Paris I mesmerized with the beauty of the city, even at this hour of morning I am not alone on the street few health concern people are along with me but still it is very quiet and peaceful. At this point I remember one saying by Nietzsche that “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking” I totally agree with this. I love walking it is like meditation in motion and allow creative thoughts to enter your mind. While in Paris I want to utilize my each second of a day to capture the beauty of this place.
After morning exploration of the city, I quickly get ready for my day’s trip to Place of Versailles. But before planning for it just remember that smart travelers avoid weekend and start early in a day . Although Palace open for visitors at 9 AM but its garden open at 8 AM so you can first visit garden and then Palace to avoid morning crowd. The Versailles being in the suburbs is just about 12 miles away from the center of Paris. There are three train stations in Versailles, the closest one of the Palace is Versailles Château Rive Gauche. Once you have arrived the Versailles station the Palace is just 15 mins away walk.
Access to the Palace and the Estate of Trianon is free for visitors under 18 (or under 26 residing in the EU) and for others you have to buy ticket. Access to garden and parks is free but on the days of musical fountain show you must buy ticket. The Palace of Versailles is a very big area to be covered so for all practical purpose and convenience I have divided this area into three sections. First section includes Royal Palace, Hall of mirrors, the King’s state apartment. Second section is Garden and groves and the third section is the estate of Trianon. So, if you want to cover estate of Trianon then buy ticket which gives you excess to all places otherwise buy ticket which include Palace and garden.
This Palace was once the political capital of France. Louis XIV transformed the hunting pavilion of his father into luxurious residence which is unparallel in the Europe’s history. No one seen such magnificent Palace before. Around the year 1700 Versailles was the cultural capital of Europe. France spent about half of its annual GNP to build Palace for Europe’s King of Kings.
Each room of the Palace is lavishly decorated with its own theme. Do not forgot to explore the King’s and Queen’s state apartments, the Royal Opera house and the Hall of Mirrors.
Second section is Garden of Versailles. From the central window of Hall of mirrors you can take grand perspective of this garden. It took 40 years for André Le Notre to complete the garden of Versailles and to create grand perspective that reached to the horizon, illustrating the King’s complete dominance over nature. Stroll through legendary gardens and admire its beauty and then comes the Grand Canal. The tour of the Grand Canal will allow you to discover magnificent views of the Palace of Versailles. The distance to cover is 5.5 kms. The Grand Canal is the main element of the east-west perspective of the Garden of Versailles. Le Notre transformed this humid part of the park into a gigantic water reservoir. The Grand Canal of Versailles became an essential decorative element of the gardens, a source of changing light, which is to discover in any season. It is possible to rent boats, bicycles, or Segway’s.
In between if your stomach is growling with hunger then don’t worry there are lot of restaurants and tea rooms lined up near canal where you can grab sandwich , pastries, waffles and hot drinks and there are fine dining restaurants too in case if you are not in hurry.
Third section is the Grand and Petit Trianon. From the Palace, there are three ways to reach the Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate: By foot through the gardens (around 30 minutes) other way is with the Little Train: from the Palace stop (North Terrace in the Gardens) to the Grand Trianon or Petit Trianon stop (around 20 minutes) Or you can also rent electric vehicle from the water parterre.
Even kings and queens had their private life and this place is the testimony of their private life where they would go to escape the rigors of court life. Then, go to Marie Antoinette’s Estate, and discover where she would seek refuge in private. After visiting the estate you can take exit from there to the main city.
If you manage visiting Palace on time , take a walk in the city and enjoy all its highlights. You can visit Palace du Marché Notre Dame. It is a fantastic covered marketplace and open air market. This colorful market offers all kinds of delicious food products. Other attractions include Eglise Notre Dam it isn’t grand as the cathedral but by far more lavishly decorated and less austere. Near Eglise Notre dam you find town’s most prominent squares Place Hoche, this fine square was laid out during the reign of Louis XIV. For shopping you can visit shops near city center – Boulevard de la Reine, the Rue Boulvard de la Reine, the Rue Chanteur, Ru Mar Joffre.
You can comfortably back to the Paris city by late evening. This end my fourth day in Paris.