Versailles may be best known for its monumental, world-renowned château, but the town has much more to offer than you might think, and is a very interesting place for those who love history, architecture and places linked to royalty. It took the will of the Sun King and all the talent of Jules Hardouin Mansart, the first architect, and gardener André Le Nôtre to make it happen.

If you’re coming to the Paris region, make a detour to Versailles – you won’t be disappointed. Here’s a quick overview of the best that Versailles has to offer visitors.

Visit Versailles

Chateau de Versailles Garden

The Notre-Dame district, a program of beauty

Originally built by King Louis XIV to embellish the surroundings of the Château, the district boasts a church, a museum (the Lambinet Museum on the French Revolution), a theater and the much-appreciated market des carrés de Notre-Dame. Held 3 times a week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sunday mornings, this well-stocked market is sure to delight.

The antiques district: watch out for the bargains!

Close to the Château and the Notre-Dame district, this area of Versailles will delight lovers of beautiful things and old things. Some fifty antique dealers offer a varied selection of items: from toys and jewelry to furniture and crockery, books, paintings and home decor, it’s impossible not to find something you’re looking for. The place is frequented by professionals and private individuals alike, so it’s the place to be if you love to bargain, that’s for sure! The antique dealers are organized into four areas linked by courtyards and alleyways, making for a pleasant stroll, I assure you.

The Monbauron-Montreuil district, a village atmosphere

This grouping of two village districts offers cobbled streets, a hillock and a decidedly more modest village atmosphere, unlike the area around the château. Here you’ll find the estate of Madame Elisabeth, sister of Louis XVI, whose park is well worth a visit.

The Saint-Louis district, at the heart of history

This district is made up of Vieux-Versailles, the town’s original medieval village and now its historic heart, and the Saint-Louis district, originally the king’s hunting reserve and subsequently urbanized.

There are many historic buildings to discover here, including the Récollets convent, Saint-Louis cathedral and the famous Salle du Jeu de Paume! The atmosphere here is tranquil and pleasant. There’s also a twice-weekly market, with organic produce on Saturday mornings.

The jewel of the Grand Trianon

Located to the north of the château grounds, the Grand Trianon palace is a red marble marvel dedicated to Madame de Montespan, who enjoys her own estate. It is currently furnished with Napoleon-era furniture, the original having disappeared during the Revolution. This does not prevent the place from impressing visitors with its refined decor and charming style.

The perfectly regal Château de Versailles

The main attraction of Versailles is, of course, its setting: the château can be visited every day except Monday, with opening times that may vary according to the season. Tickets can be booked online, and I recommend that you anticipate your visit to avoid the queues, which can be very long. In any case, it’s a very busy place due to its appeal, especially in summer and during the tourist season.

It’s very extensive and includes many rooms: bring good shoes and open your eyes wide, the visit is undoubtedly worth the detour. You’ll find the famous Galerie des Glaces and the King’s apartments.

Versailles gardens and château grounds

The grounds of the château are immense, and thanks to their carefully laid-out layout, they offer stunning views. The sense of space is striking, and the water features magical. Once you’ve explored the park’s paths, you’ll be able to discover the gardens adjoining the château, including the orangery and the bosquets.

Outside the château, there’s also the king’s kitchen garden, the garden of the Gobert ponds, and the Versailles arboretum. Once again, make sure you’re well-shod for a pleasant stroll!

Visit Versailles

Château de Versailles

Getting around Versailles, and how to get there ?

Accessible by train from the Saint-Lazare station in Paris, the town is served by the RER, which will leave you not far from the gates of the château. You can get around by car, but it’s probably by bike that you’ll get the most out of the whole of Versailles. This solution will be all the more appreciated as you won’t have to worry about parking, but beware: the weather should be fine as much as possible to avoid turning your outing into a bad experience.

Relax, eat well and enjoy a drink on the terrace

If you can afford it, don’t miss British chef Gordon Ramsay’s Le Trianon on boulevard de la reine. I also recommend Le Pincemin, on boulevard du roi, or La Table du 11, both Michelin-starred. More affordable, Le Gabérem is a worthy choice.

And for a quick meal, why not try a pizza at O’Bottega on rue du général Leclerc.

Conclude the afternoon with a cake and a hot drink at Stray Bean, rue royale, which offers coffee specialties such as mocha latte, flat latte and, more original, golden milk.

Versailles, beauty and goodness

If you’ve still got a little energy left after all that sightseeing, you can take some time out for shopping and discover boutiques such as CapsuleMarket, a designer boutique, or Atelier Badani, which offers engravings, calligraphic posters and other artistic creations.

And don’t forget to visit Art et Chocolat, where you can pick up a few sweets to put in your bags rather than your pockets, so you can take them home intact!

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