I have to admit that when my family said they wanted to spend one of their days in Paris at Versailles my heart sank a bit. Don't get me wrong, the chateau is gorgeous and historically important, but all I could think about were the massive crowds we would have to brave and the incredibly long line we would waste most of the day in. I tried to warn them, but I don't think they believed me. Perhaps they thought I was exaggerating, but they quickly understood once we got there. No joke, we arrived to a line of about three thousand people, snaked up, down, and around the large courtyard in front of the entrance. We soon realized that in order to see the chateau, we would have to spend most of the day in that line. And PS, everyone in that line had pre-purchsed tickets, just like us.
While the main house of Versailles is beautiful and worth visiting, it isn't worth wasting your day in line to see, especially with the incredible gardens and other smaller palaces on the grounds. So we took action and skipped the chateau and headed straight to the gardens entrance, where there was little to no line. In my opinion the massive gardens, Petit Trion (another palace on the property), and Marie Antoinette's little "hamlet" are far more interesting (and less crowded) to explore.
It was definitely the best decision. We had such a fun day exploring the gardens, wondering the hamlet, and taking pictures. It wasn't the most beautiful summer day, but it didn't rain and the cloud cover kept us from overheating. I wore this Karen Millen dress that I picked up on sale at Printemps with my trusty denim jacket (my favorite for travel since it goes with everything!). Naturally I did a bit of shopping while in Paris. I much prefer the shopping in Paris, London, and Berlin than in Italy, so whenever I visit, I like to indulge a bit.
What are your thoughts on Versailles? I have heard from friends that the Château de Fontainebleau is just as interesting as Versailles and actually more enjoyable to visit, since it sees a fraction of the number of tourists. I think I am definitely adding Fontainebleau to my travel list.
PS - You can see more pics from our time in Paris here.