Archive for January 2nd, 2011

January 2, 2011

Best Shopping in Versailles, my shopping

Everybody’s favorite subject,and the family past time ::) Having a large family shopping is an event, and one to have patient and enjoy it. I would like to share with my readers some of my favorites hunts in Versailles and nearby, these are my choices for a local living point of view but it can be use by visitors too. Of course, will leave you the shopping inside the castle to you. Hope it helps.

We are big fan of the L’Occitane for many many years, the store in Versailles is very nice and friendly getting you nice products from Provence. 39 rue de la Paroisse, tel +33 01 39 02 06 74. It is very near the collegiale Notre Dame church. Open from tuesdays to fridays 10h-13h30 and 14h30-19h, Saturdays 10h-19h; Sundays 10h-13h and English is spoken. webpage

For jewerly, watches, etc the favorite in town is ‘Eté Joaillier, 38 rue de la Paroisse, tel +33 01 39 02 38 38. next to l’occitane store. open tuesdays to saturdays from 10h15 to 19h, English is spoken too ! webpage

Bags ,handbags, leather, and travel accessories the ultimate is the Le Tanneur,7 place Hoche, tel +33 01 39 67 07 37. open tuesdays to saturdays from 10h to 1çh30, Saturdays and Sundays from 10h -19h30, always remember to leave that hour for lunch time ::) webpage

For gifts, souvenirs, t shirts , you come here Select Souvenir, 10 ave Charles de Gaulle, in the Les Maneges building across from RER station rive gauche. Tel +33 01 39 02 34 97. no webpage but plenty to see on way in or out of Versailles.  Open tuesdays to Saturdays from 10h to 19h. And you might meet a member of the family there ::)

For designs and comtemporary tools for the kitchen,bathroom, living room, or office with gifts galore try my cute Désir d’Intérieurs, 17 rue Carnot, tel +33 01 30 21 39 19. open tuesdays to fridays from 10h to 19h Saturday 10h-19h30. English spoken. Webpage

For flowers a bit away but worth it near Chantiers train station, Symphonie Florale, 42 rue des Chantiers, tel +33 01 39 50 20 22. open Mondays 14h-19h, Tuesdays to Saturdays from 8h to 20h30, Sundays 9h-13h. English spoken. No web.

For toys, kids games of European and French design and fabrication you cant beat the La Maison des 3 Ours, Carrés Saint-Louis, 24 rue Royale, tel +33 01 39 49 47 66. open tuesdays to saturdays from 10h30-13h and 15h-19h. English spoken. webpage

For wines ,other than going to the chain Nicolas, my favorite is at  4 rue Royale, tel +33 01 39 50 17 03. open tuesdays to fridays 9h30-13h and 15h to 20h , Saturdays 9h30 to 13h30 and 15h-20h ,Sundays 9h30 to 13h.  You can definitively be satisfied at Aux Caves du Chateau, 9 place Hoche, tel +33 01 39 50 02 049. wines, spirits,champagnes, with gifts in mind too, and artisan beers all since 1840. Open tuesdays to saturdays from 9h-13h and 15h-19h30. Sundays in the mornings 9h-13h too. English spoken. webpage

For cheeses go to Fromagerie Le Gall ,in the marché Notre Dame building named Carré à la Marée; tel +33 01 39 50 01 28. open tuesdays to sundays 7h30 to 13h. tuesday to thursdays 16h to 19h, Fridays and Saturdays 15h30 to 19h. English spoken. the best cheeses in town from all regions of France including the real ones from the farm to you ! webpage

For teas from around the world and to find that rare one, the one to visit is La Route du Thé, 26 rue de Satory,on the ave Sceaux side of chateau, tel +33 01 39 53 12 07. open tuesdays to saturdays from 10h30 to 19h, English spoken:webpage

For chocolates try the real thing from a local chocolatier, Maiffret Chocolatier, 37 rue de la Paroisse, near church collegiale de Notre Dame, tel +33 01 39 02 71 01. all is made in house from 100%cocoa beans of the best regions, also try the macarons and pâtes de fruit. webpage

Of course could not forget, the market or marché public, my all time favorite, and regular as noted above in the cheese store is the Marché de Notre Dame and Halles Notre Dame, the difference is the Marché is open air, fruits,veggies, etc alternating with a clothing market while the Halles are covered market dating from the domaine de Clagny (1665 AD). There in the carré Notre Dame (from chateau follow straight out to your left and take ave Saint Cloud to the corner of ave de l’Europe and rue Marechal Foch,you take a left and the marché is right in front of your eyes). Marché open Tuesdays,Fridays,and Sundays from 7h30 to 14h , and the Halles open tuesdays to saturdays 7h to 19h30, some Mondays and Sundays from 7h to 14h.

If you prefer buying flowers in a market to take home, then the best is at sidewalks on ave Saint Cloud just by the underground parking Saint Cloud corner ave de l’Europe. Open Tuesdays,Fridays,Saturdays all day and Sunday mornings. There are ,also, flowers at the Marché Notre Dame see above.

For all your Cigars needs, and pens, and wallets, and the best advice from all over the world products of great quality. Gifts, pens, and English spoken try La Havane, 21 rue Hoche, tel +33 01 39 50 66 11.webpage

For all your telephone questions, needs head for Orange, the best in France in my opinion. the Store is at 2-4 Rue au Pain, right around the Halles de Notre Dame market, webpage is online, the store you can get more information especially if a visitor.

For fish and seafood, of course I know, you need to have a kitchen but so what I also know many of you do when visiting so I am giving away my poissonnerie or fish market L’Espadon, Halles Notre Dame, Carré à la Marée, open as the Halles Market above. webpage

And of course the bakeries cannot be forgotten, several are good, but my choice for the blog will be Boulangerie (Maison) Guinon at 60 rue de la Paroisse (district of Notre Dame yes), doing it since 1802 and still the best, go for it when in town. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays 7h To 20h, Sunday 7h to 13h30. tel +33 01 39 50 01 84, webpage

For coffee lovers try La Finca, 15 rue de deux Portes, tel +33 01 39 50 33 52.  At the area around the marche de Notre Dame on the chateau side as you stand in the center. Go around the Halles Notre Dame and it is there its a tiny place full of coffee grounders machines. No webpage.

For groceries there are the Leader Price chain store at 58 rue de Chantiers (near train SNCF station)  ; Marché U, 4 rue du Marechal Foch   ; Monoprix, 5 ave Georges Clémenceau (also by ave de l’Europe entrance) ; 8 a Huit, 6 rue Royale   part of Carrefour ;  and Franprix, 5 rue Rameau.  You have bigger markets outside if you have a car, but these in town are pretty good for your needs.

There are several good libraries or book stores in town , however, my favorite is Gibert & Joseph, 62 rue de la Paroisse, near church Notre Dame,  chain also in Paris, webpage

For photo info ,and developement head for Photo Station,  50 rue de la Paroisse, tel +33 01 39 67 02 74 no webpage but just near church of Notre Dame.

For clothing I shop sometimes at Damart or Burton. Damart is a chain webpage and Burton is at 11 rue Georges Clemenceau, tel  +33 01 39 53 70 78 no web. simple shoes at Eram, 13 rue du marechal Foch, webpage .Haircuts at Jean Louis David, 15 rue du marechal Foch, webpage

Pharmacies are many but my is at Pharmacie de la Paroisse, 33 rue de la Paroisse, near Notre Dame church. tel +33 01 39 50 78 85. For the press other than on Relais H at the train stations, my is at Lolita Presse, 83 rue du marechal Foch. near rive droite train station. Several post offices too the one I use most is at La Poste ,47bis rue du Marechal Foch; between the market of Notre Dame and the train station rive droite. Several banks including the HSBC and Barclays but I do BNP Paribas along rue du Marechal Foch.

If you have problems with your laptop or computer while here the pros at  VART electronique will definitively help you, either direct you to a reputable repair store or do it or give you the parts you need. they are at 42 ave de Saint Cloud, tel +33 01 39 51 56 33. Any country will do, they do them all !!!  just north of the ave de l’Europe and ave saint cloud you go right to a side street call allée de l’avenue saint cloud. no web there have been there for ages …

if you are looking for antiques, head here first The Antiquaires de Versailles , you might save yourselves time. The site has all the info you need in English here–Rubric__iDRubric–29250@@.htm

If you want to walk in a quaint old fashion street full of goodies and feel like in times past while enjoying nice little restos like the creperie A la Côte Bretonne and small misc stores like Cachemise ready to wear clothing,then head for the Rue de deux Portes off rue Carnot to the the marché Notre Dame .

Well I think I touch the basics most, if left anything else you want to know, let me know. If in town do let me know please, would love to meet you if possible. Cheers and happy shopping.


January 2, 2011

Getting to Versailles,and around it

How to come to Versailles? A question many times ask and usually connected with Paris. First, an explanation on geography as I am from Versailles. We are a separate city, in a separate geographical area totally independant of Paris. We are the Capital of the state,province or as we are Department 78 call Yvelines in the west part of Paris. We are the de facto capital of France for any constitutional changes to the French Constitution when the government moves over to our city.

The most direct way to come to us is by car, renting one at CDG airport is the most usual route or Orly can be done too (my favorite way to travel=car) . The site is used very often by locals and travelers alike, just sometimes does not provide the uptimum route. Here are my routes as follows,

From CDG Roissy en France ( department 95, or Val d’Oise northeast of Paris) ; You go out of airport on the N104 or Francilienne road, the signs along the route tells you that you are on the Francilienne or A104, direction Cergy-Pontoise , the entire western section is still getting additions and number changes but the road remains the same, it later changes to the N104 before coming to the N184 by the intersection with the A15 (that can take you into Paris or towards Rouen in Normandy),you stay straight on the road and it carries you onwards to Versailles by boulevard Saint Antoine direction Chateau.

From Orly airport in city of Orly, department 94 or Val de Marne south of Paris, you take from either terminal Ouest /West or Sud/South the road A106 direction Paris,to the A86 exchange direction Sceaux/Antony/Versailles that is get on the right lane and turn around towards the left or west into the A86. Follow this road straight to exit 2 /N186 road Chateau.

From Paris most folks dont do it, so wont go into that, but its very easy indeed as the avenue de Paris that leds to the chateau well well the king name it so because it took him directly between Versailles and Paris its the D10 becomes the D910 and goes into Paris by the Porte Saint Cloud. Lol!

By a good reader suggestion, I forgot my favorite thing to do ,drive a car and find a parking garage. The city has plenty all over, my most useful are these; Parking Sceaux ,this is just after the rive gauche train station on ave Général Charles de Gaulle, intersection with rue Royale turn left and first ramp up to the parking open and metered, try the coins machines along the side road as you come in to the parking instead. Parking avenue de Saint Cloud, very easy at the avenue and corner with ave de l’Europe away from the chateau will be your right hand side, you see the flower market on your right too. Parking place du Marché Notre Dame, at the market right off rue du marechal Foch, a bit tight but very nice and elevators bring up right in the middle of the market ! Parking place Saint Louis, this one is by the Cathedral Saint Louis, the big P and Cathedrale will guide you to it. Its right off place Saint Louis. You have a smaller parking right on Parking ave de l’Europe open air but very convenient to castle and market too. you need to enter thru ave de Saint Cloud turn right on ave de l’Europe and the parking is on your right. Vinci Park already has details on 3 webpage here   tariffs are usually about 1,50 € first hour and a max of 16€ per day. You can park on the street but they have meters and risk of scratches on your car.I use parking garages exclusively all over Europe. The other parking are in the city of Versailles webpage in French but well explained if need help let me know.

There is another way by RER/Metro/Bus, this is RER B from CDG to Gare de l’Est train station in Paris, here take line 4 direction porte d’Orléans but stop at Strasbourg-Saint Denis to connect with line 9 direction Pont de Sévres and get off here. Then take bus No 171 right to front of Chateau de Versailles on ave de Paris. One more from CDG is to take RER B to St Michel-Notre Dame station in Paris, and there change to RER C to train station rive gauche in Versailles (the closest to chateau). You can,also, take the Cars Air France or buses from Air France to Montparnasse train station ,this is the line 4 of the buses, there take the train to station Chantiers in Versailles (farthest from Chateau at more than one km)  ;come out on the TRI buses to Chateau. Yet another one is to take the Roissybus bus service to Opera metro station in Paris and there connect with line 3 to gare Saint Lazare in Paris to take train to gare/station rive droite in Versailles, then connect with TRI buses to Chateau.

From Orly, take the Cars Air France buses line 1 or 2 to Montparnasse, then train to Chantiers station in Versailles. You can ,also ,take the navette bus from Orly to the gare de Rungis, from here RER C to gare d’Austerlitz, and again the RER C direction Versailles rive gauche station.

From Beauvais-Tillé airport best is to take a taxi to the  gare or train station at  Beauvais (11 – 15€ update prices please) ,then take the train to the  gare du Nord in Paris. There take the RER B to stop ST Michel-Notre Dame, and follow that with the RER C to Versailles rive gauche station.

The site for the ile de France train service is and for the Paris region transport is this one is good for RER/Metro/Tramways,and buses. The No 171 at pont de Sévres is here

The tourist TRI bus service in Versailles ,and all other local lines under company Phebus that connects arrival at all 3 Versailles gares or station to the Chateau and Trianons is here first the hours/horaires then the map of route or plan.

If you want to go thru the back of the chateau and feel curious, go to Gare de l’Europe at the corner of ave de Saint Cloud, from chateau to the intersection where you have the Hotel de Ville on your right but turn left into the ave de l’Europe next corner on your left is ave saint cloud the bus stop No 19 there every 30 minutes take it for 1,80 € to stop Arboretum/Parly II , get off walk back down towards Versailles about 200 meters you will see the porte de Saint Antoine, walking is free on the gardens and the Hameau de Marie-Antoniette is right on your right as you enter, then the Trianons one after the other. The schedule for the bus 19 is here

The RER C can be taken at several locations in Paris to go to Versailles in addition to St Michel-Notre Dame, and gare d’Austerlitz, there is Auber, Musée d’Orsay, Invalides, Champ de Mars/tour Eiffel, Pont de l’Alma, Javel,Porte Maillot, Ave Foch, Ave Henri Martin, etc etc. Best to grab a metro/RER map right off the airport on the in terminal tourist offices.

This is a nice map layout of the grounds to help your directions,

And of course, the city has a lot more than the Chateau, just walk into the districts of Notre Dame (left side facing out the chateau) or Saint Louis (right side facing out the chateau) or go up ave de Paris into the district of Montreuil and see the mansions of the court (they want it some privacy away from the bustle of the castle so build away) here is Madame Elizabeth (sister of louis XVI who ended in the same faith as his brother) and Madame de Provence (the sister in law who made thru the revolution) and others. IF tired use the Phebus local bus system is very good and easy to use. the link is above for the TRI tourist buses but the local is here too ,have in search for an itinerary (in French of course) the ones my family use daily ,

Hope it helps your travels, of course its impossible to cover all the angles so if any questions remains feel free to contact me here. Cheers!


%d bloggers like this: