Question, how to get by at Versailles!

Ok so on this cold day of Jan 2019 and cloudy wintery day I like to bring about a eternal question. How to see Versailles with quicker entry and less crowds? I mean less crowds because to the world most see castle , easy visit are history indeed. Even for locals!!! Any more detail question, ask me ::)

I have read many blogs, newspapers, magazines, etc of people telling about how difficult is to get to Versailles past its lines and a even more crowded place. Well, I admit do not have the magic formula but after living almost 10 years in the city, been friends of the Castle ,and visited upteen times even taken folks there as touring, believe I can have my five cents worth on the subject.

Versailles

Avenue de Paris from near tourist office to the Castle

First, you need to get here from whatever you are from, even folks living in Versailles! Many people go to the cram parking at Place d’Armes because it is in front of the castle and voilà they made it. However, for just a pleasant walk among historical buildings you can park at  Parking Sceaux ,avenue de Sceaux next to train station RER C Rive Gauche at end you find the gardens jardin des Etangs Gobert. You come by car on the A13 direction Rouen and get off at exit/sortie 5 Versailles Centre, followed it all around until castle.

The parking on my fav site Neoparking is here: neoparking on Sceaux Versailles

Versailles

Avenue de Sceaux from castle towards parking

Perhaps you like to come by bus, many folks like this way of public transport than again most take the more hazarduos way of the train or RER C. You can come from Paris by bus no 171.  Bus 171 of the RATP system runs between Pont de Sèvres and the Chateau de Versailles.  Metro line 9 to Pont de Sévres and also Paris RATP bus lines 17, 40, 42, 39.34, 26 ,160 ,169 ,179 ,279, 291, 389 and 467 reach the Pont de Sévres stop.

This is the schedule to check for after october: RATP bus 171 schedule as of Oct18

You can take the bus express on tours with ticket included from this service. Granted never use it myself. The shuttle provides transfers between Paris (leaving from the Port de la Bourdonnais  near Eiffel Tower) and the Chateau de Versailles. More here: Versailles Express bus

Once in the city, there are ways to get around to the main sight of the Château de Versailles domain; and I say main sight because as in my previous posts, Versailles has a lot more things to see.

The nice thing we even did to get from the center of Versailles to the shopping at Parly II mall or even to get inside the domaine by the Porte Saint Antoine was to take bus no 19 of Transdev line. The Allée Saint-Antoine begins to the south in front of the Grand Canal , and ends about 1 350 meters to the north on Boulevard Saint-Antoine, where is the Arc de Triomphe of the Porte Saint-Antoine. The bus is taken from Avenue Saint Cloud almost to the corner of Avenue de l’Europe and you need to get off at Parly II or Arboretum and walk back down about 300 meters to the entrance at the Porte de Saint Antoine. Right next is the Hameau de Marie Antoinette and follow by the Petit Trianon and Grand Trianon,the gardens and a whole world of Versailles!

Here is the schedule, just get it updated when you come. transdev idf bus line 19 to Porte Saint Antoine Versailles

Versailles

From corner Avenue de l’Europe to Avenue Saint Cloud stop of bus 19 waiting

For info, the Parly II in Le Chesnay, our favorite area mall ever! and I have written a previous post in my blog: My previous post on shopping center Parly II

For travel in Versailles, the best is the Phebus Versailles bus network TRI bus .It goes from all major train stations in the city to the Castle, and Trianons. The TRI bus is part of the Phébus network in Versailles and can be used to get to the Trianon Palaces. From to train stations “Versailles Château Rive Gauche”, “Versailles Chantiers” and “Versailles Rive Droite” In service from April to October, (high season) check for schedules.

The official Phebus network is here, just check it when coming for updates: Phebus bus network of Versailles and TRI bus line

Versailles

Phebus network bus TRI

Petit Train inside Domaine property if you want a quick look and rest from walking this is the little train. From the North terrace of the chateau > Petit Trianon, Grand Trianon, Grand Canal (Little Venice) then back (possibility to get off at a stop and then go back to a train with the same ticket, except the last train of the day). More here:  http://www.train-versailles.com/en/

There are different entries to the Domaine of Versailles (the local name given to the castle, trianons, hameau,gardens whole complex) . Access to the park is free for pedestrians and bicycles. Vehicles must pay an entry fee (last was 5€) except for persons with reduced mobility (PMR) on proof. My favorite entry on foot or by car was/is at the Porte Saint Antoine . Access to the gardens, reserved for pedestrians, is free except for the days of Grandes Eaux and Jardins Musicaux ( Water show and musical) from April to October. Some of the entries on foot are Grille de la Reine (Queen’s gate),by the boulevard de la Reine. The Grille des Matelots,by the road of Saint-Cyr L’école D10. By the before mentioned Porte Saint-Antoine,on the side of the town of Le Chesnay ( just to your right is the Hameau of Marie Antoinette and thereafter the Petit and Grand Trianon as well as the Castle from the back of the Grand Canal. By the Grille de Neptune, by rue de la Paroisse/rue du Maurepas crossing rue des Reservoirs (see previous posts on these streets) near the basin of Neptune from which if you take the allée de Trianon you can ,also, go to the Grand and Petit Trianons, and the Hameau of Marie Antoinette.

Versailles

allée de Saint Antoine to Porte de Saint Antoine inside Domaine de Versailles

To purchase tickets and try to avoid as much as possible the ticket purchase lines (security lines are unavoidable) you can do so at the Counters with staff or automatic machines in the south wing of ministers (Aile des Ministres), the building on the left when you are in the courtyard of the castle.. There is only one entry for all individual visitors at entrance A, Pavillon Dufour!

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map showing access points inside the Domaine of Versailles ,this was in the process of changing too

VErsailles

chateau de Versailles inside tiket office aile des ministres

It is possible to avoid the first line by buying in advance its ticket. Purchase at the tourist Office, avenue de Paris by the Novotel hotel ; sale of the ticket Château + 1.80€ of commission, (check if fees have change) avoids the lines/queue to the ticket lines of the castle. Some Cafes and restaurants sell the Château ticket without supplement, non dated, valid two years after the date of issue and without obligation to consume. However, check to see if this practice is still done. Le café Bleu Roi, 7 Rue Colbert, Tel. +33 (0) 1 71 42 85 30. The Brasserie du Musée, 2 Place Gambetta, tel.+33 (0) 1 39 50 18 08. Le Café Place d’Armes, 1 Avenue de Saint-Cloud, tel. +33 (0) 1 39 50 03 60. Le Saint Claire, 2 rue de Satory , tel.+33 (0)1 39 50 11 42.

Another possible area my oldest son worked next to it is the Place des Manéges, located on the Avenue du Général de Gaulle between the City/Town hall and the Château. They are undergoing renovation now that will be finish in April 2019 according to the City.  The building of the Manéges (or merry go around)  was a former military building under Napoleon III. It was demolished in 1988 with the exception of its portal which remained on the Avenue du General-de-Gaulle. A commercial and hotel complex called “Le Manéges” was inaugurated in 1991 on its site. Do not know if with the renovation the office still on but as you come out of Rive Gauche train station is just across the street you can check if available.

Versailles

les maneges on ave du Gen de Gaulle from Rive Gauche train station

Of course, there are many online purchase ticket possibilities that are well recommended such as the FNAC stores, ticketmaster , and may hypermarket such as Carrefour, Leclerc, Auchan, etc on their in store cultural ticket sales.

One last word, best days to come. Huh! well do not come in any French Holidays 2019 or around them if bridges or ponts are available ( New Year Jan 1st, Easter Monday April 22, Labor Day ,May 1st, Victory day (WWII) May 8, Thursday of Ascension May 30, Monday of Pentecost June 10, National Day July 14, Assomption Day August 15, All Saints Day November 1st, Armistice Day (end WWI) November 11, and Christmas December 25) , Wednesdays as it is school children off day and Mom will take them out, weekends as the world comes to Versailles. The rest is up for grabs.

An an anecdote for outside viewing only. This building houses the CRCV or the research Centre of the Château de Versailles, created in 2004. It is interested in research and training on the places and expressions of power in the 17C and 18C. However, as said just for passing by as it is not open to the general public. Located at the Grand Commun building to the left looking at the castle and go to 1 rue de l’Indépendance américaine. More here in English.Recherche Center at the Chateau de Versailles

Versailles

long building is the Grand Commun

There yo go hope it makes it a bit better coming to my beloved Versailles. Yes there is a lot folks but that is why you want to come too; it is awesome. Anything else is worth it. Enjoy it

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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