On our second day, well-rested, we decided to spend the day in Versailles. We went down to the Metro and got on a train that took us to an RER station. These are the trains that lead to destinations outside of the city. We got on a nice, double-decker train and headed toward Versailles, a forty minute journey. Once we got there, we got a map and headed to the palace.
Upon arriving, the pure grandeur struck us both. If Louis XIV would have been a gangster rapper, he definitely would have had BLING! All you saw was GOLD, GOLD, AND MORE GOLD! This guy was making up for all those years of being a pauper.
We decided to see the palace first, then tour the grounds, which were my favorite. We went through all of the bedrooms, the Hall of Mirrors, and all of the parlors.
The 230 acres of gardens out of 2014 acres that Versailles is housed on was next on our list. An artist was showcasing this illusion fountain that looked really cool from the Palace. See pic above.
Next was Marie Antoinette’s village. She apparently didn’t like the court life, so she had Louis XVI build her a village away from the palace.
When we finished seeing the grounds, we headed across the street to see the carriage house.
After touring more grandeur, we decided to venture into the town of Versailles and grab some lunch.
The restaurant we wanted to try was closed. (A lot of restaurants close between 2-4 in France.) So, we went to this one. So much rich food, but yummy just as well!
Bellies full, we walked more through the town, shopping and looking. Then we headed to the train station.
When we got to the station, we boarded the train. All of a sudden, something in French came from the loudspeaker. All of a sudden, everyone got off the train and started heading out of the station. We went to ask the customer service and ticket booth workers, but they had all left the station, too.
I was getting kind of freaked out, thinking this was a terrorist plot. We just instinctively followed the crowd down the streets and around several blocks. We finally ended up at the next train station.
We showed the man our ticket and asked what train we should get on. He said he didn’t speak English. We tried asking everyone, but no one could tell us. So, we did what any two idiots in a foreign, non-English country would do….make the sign of the cross, say a little prayer, cross our fingers, and just hop on any train, hoping it was the one going to Paris.
Well, luck was on our side, because, before we knew it, we were thankfully back in Paris, kissing the ground!
- We would highly recommend Rick Steve’s Paris 2017 book. It was very helpful in planning our trip. It told us what days to go where to avoid crowds and when certain places were open/closed. It gave several walking tours of, for example, The Louvre, Notre Dame, Montmartre, etc. Highly recommend!!!
- Check with your bank several weeks before you leave on your trip to see what rate they can get you for Euros. Compare to the going rate in France. If its cheaper or about the same, I would recommend ordering your Euros here in the States. We were charged fees every time we used our debit or credit cards. They took a percentage of our money just to get Euros plus the exchange rate.
- This site helped me with packing and flying.
- Unless you are really good shape, I would recommend getting a cab (expensive) or bus tour to get you into Paris. If you are in manageable shape, you could get a cab to the Gare du Nord Metro station, and then take Metro to your destination station. This way you avoid carrying your luggage up and down so many stairs. We took the RER to the Gare du Nord, and then Metro to our destination station. Along with sweating and huffing/puffing, we got in 12,000 steps before 10 am the day we got there!
- I would definitely learn to use the Metro. After a few tries, we had it down. You can get from one end of Paris to another in a matter of minutes. It is also cheap! When we were there, one trip was 1.10 Euros. Like $1.50. Get the carnet of tickets. It’s ten tickets for around 14 Euros. These tickets can be shared among travelers. Keep your ticket on hand while exchanging trains. Metro security ask to see them, and there is a 50 Euro fee if you can’t produce it.
- I would definitely do a Seine boat ride. We enjoyed a trip on Bateaux Parisienes.
- Learn the main French expressions, like…Hello, Good-bye, How are you?,Check please, Please, Thank you, Do you speak English? Where’s the bathroom? Do you have free wi-fi?
- If you make big purchases (more than 175 Euros), you can get reimbursed for VAT taxes (around 20%) you paid. Have the merchant fill out the paperwork for you. Keep your receipts and present them at your final destination in the European Union. See more detailed information here.
- Things you need:European adapter, Rfid protection hidden wallet, travel neck pillow.
- Try to do as much as you can. There is so much to see. Try to eat French. There is so much good food. And, try to envelop yourself into the culture. You never know if you will ever get back, so enjoy this beautiful city!!