The Versailles is undoubtedly a tourist magnet, but I felt it was worth braving the crowd to see the splendors it held inside. Now, before I send you off to see the Versailles with my wholehearted recommendation, I’d like to share some hindsight I’ve gained from the mistakes I made during my visit.
- The fountains don’t run everyday. My trip to Paris had been arranged last minute so I hadn’t had the time to do as much planning as I would have liked. So while I knew that I wanted to see the château of Versailles, I hadn’t given much thought to the gardens. This was probably the biggest mistake I made regarding my visit to the Versailles. Consequently I hadn’t known that the fountains shows were only on during the weekends in the summer. Ahh, hindsight.
- The Versailles is not a half day trip. I had planned the first half of the day for the Versailles and the second day for the Louvre. I might as well have had #fail stamped across my forehead. I spent 3 hours in the château alone, and about 2 hours between the gardens and Petit Trianon. Even after 5 hours I still missed out on all the groves (all the red boxes on the map above), the Grand Trianon, and the Queen’s Hamlet (which was unfortunately closed during my visit).
- Don’t forget to adjust your camera’s ISO in the gardens. If you enjoy taking photos in the manual setting, don’t forget to adjust your ISO when you step out into the gardens. To be honest, my mind was blown by the time I walked out of the château so I forgot to lower my ISO once I got outside. I had cranked up the ISO to 1600 in one of the darker rooms within the château, and was kicking myself when I started editing the garden photos. If you are planning on taking a point and shoot camera or a hybrid without a viewfinder, keep in mind that it can be difficult to see the screen in the bright sunlight.
- Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats are a must in the summer. It’s not just the line at the entrance that you’ll be exposed to the sun, it’s in the garden as well. It’s called a garden, but keep in mind that it covers 230 acres. That’s the size of 174 football/soccer fields put together! That’s a lot of ground to cover without a hat to protect you from the sun. Which brings me to my next point..
- Rent a bike. Even if you had enough time to see the whole garden, it’s likely that your legs and feet will give out before you do. So if you want to explore all the hidden groves and fountains in the garden, be sure to rent a bike. I spotted a bike rental next to the grand canal, but it appears you can rent one in the village or opt for a bike tour instead.
Your turn ♥ What tips do you have for traveling abroad?