First day in Paris!!

We were so lucky because we had living in Paris a cousin of bruno who is a wonderful host! She gave us a ton of tips for visiting the city. Since we had already been in the usual tourist route for Paris, we wanted to see a city from the parisian perspective.

So first day:

We stayed in Malakoff, so it was actually closer to Versailles than the center of Paris, so we decided to go there on our first day. We bought the tickets online here the night before – we chose the passport ticket for 20 euros each.

We catched a train in the train station of Malakoff in the direction of Rambouillet and got out in the Versailles Chantiers stop. From there it was a nice 15 minute walk from the station to the palace. We stopped on our way in a patisserie and bought two sandwiches for lunch (it was worth it, since everything inside the palace is expensive).

It is a WOW first impression. The greatness of the palace is unbelievable! And the amount of tourists also! Although we already bought the tickets, the line to enter was huge! We were almost an hour outside just to get in! And at every entry you have to pass a security check in, so everything is even slower… (they had no problem with our sandwiches). We arrived at noon and finally entered at 1PM.

Inside, the palace entry was so crowded that we decided to see the gardens first. They are really impressive! Just the size of it and the artworks in the walls, the fountains, the walkways surrounded by trees… it was amazing! We decided to get down first to the grand and petit Trianon, since we already knew that the inside of these palaces were decorated with part of the furniture of the time of Marie Antoinette.

So after a long walk (if you follow to the right of the palace), trough the amazing gardens and the fountain of Neptune we arrived at petit Trianon. On the inside the paintings and the decoration of that time were really beautiful! And then we followed to the gardens. With the entrance to the petit Trianon you have access to the Queen’s Hamlet – it is a little village that was the private meeting place for the queen and her closest friends. It is actually a little village with several little farms, a mill, a boudoir, the queen house (who was closed at that time for renovations) and a beautiful lake in the middle. It was for sure one of the catching moments of the day for us!

Then we went walking all the way to the grand Trianon trough the gardens (really long walk, since we were already tired! You can do it from outside the front of the petit Trianon to grand Trianon by a train, but you wont see the gardens of the Queen Estate). The grand Trianon has a beautiful white and black marble floor and amazing columns that was built by Louis XIV for himself and his lover at the time – Marquise de Montespan. It has a beautiful courtyard and inside also has paintings and furniture of that time and temporary exhibitions. If you get out of the grand Trianon trough the gardens and follow left, you will see the Grand lake with peddling boats and a beautiful place to rest.

After all this we still had to see the palace! So we went back trough the gardens again and went outside the palace and then again inside (the same ticket was valid). We picked up the free audioguide at the entrance (it is in several languages). So now, with much less crowd, we could calmly see the palace.

The palace has a lot of videos that you can hear trough the audioguide of its story before and after the french revolution. Afterwards you have huge rooms all decorated with paintings of the palace and its inhabitants at the time of the monarchy as well as the beds, toilets and room furniture used at that time. The two rooms that were more impressive for us were the Hall of Mirrors (an impressive room used for balls all decorated with gold and mirrors with an amazing view of the gardens) and the Battles Gallery (an amazing gallery with a glass ceiling with paintings of the battles and heroes of France). At that time the queen’s apartments and the dauphin apartments were closed for renovation, but we still got to see in the down floor the Mesdames apartments, who were beautifully decorated. In total we were in the palace about 1,5 hours.

We left at about 6 PM, still tried to get to the carrousel museum that is outside, left of the palace, but it was already closed.

At recommendation from our host, we went to see Versailles city. It is a very picturesque, beautiful city with a lot of shopping streets. We went to the Marché Notre Dame, close to the church, and it was a really nice place – you had art galleries, shopping, a lot of restaurants and at that time a lot of french just drinking a beer and relaxing after work.

After resting there for a little bit, it was time to go back. We bought train tickets again – to go and come back by train 3,8 euros each – and came back home.

In total we spent – 20 euros for the entrance ticket, 9 euros for the sandwiches and 3,8 euros for the train ride – so 28,3 euros each. We checked the cellphone walking count – 22 km – so be prepared! Really comfortable sneakers and a water bottle are essentials! If you can not walk that much, the little train that goes inside the park is an alternative (at a 7,5 euros for a full day or 4 euros single trip). You have several places you can fill your water bottle in the gardens and free really clean toilets, so that you don’t have to worry.

It is overwhelming in the beginning, especially because of the crowds, but if you escape it and, like us, start with the gardens, it is really an amazing experience.