When my friend, Stephanie, and I were in the planning stages of our first trip to Paris, I threw out the suggestion of a day trip to Versailles. I had visited Versailles years prior and was blown away by its over-the-top opulence. It’s historical importance is awe inspiring. Every direction I looked I saw a carefully manicured shrub, or something covered in gold, or a piece of art that was both stunning and priceless. I knew she’d love it too.
As many visitors to Versailles do, we left Paris early by train and arrived before the gates opened. But we wouldn’t be joining the masses right away. No, first we’d be visiting the State Apartments.
“Behind the walls and royal life of the Grand Apartments lie the private apartments of Louis XV and Louis XVI. Accompanied by a qualified guide, this tour gives you a look into the intimate atmosphere and the refined decoration of these living areas.”
After reading that description on the official website, taking the tour became our priority. And we’re both happy that we booked it because it was fantastic! In addition to making us feel all fancy-like by getting behind the scenes access that the rest of the masses didn’t, it was informative and thoroughly enjoyable. The highlight for us was definitely the Opera House.
It’s absolutely stunning, and knowing that we sat where French Royals and their esteemed guests once sat – priceless!
Afterwards, our balloons of self-importance were quickly popped when we joined the lowly (ahem) commoners and wandered through the rest of the Palace. It was insanely busy, but the over the top surroundings more than made up for the craziness.
But seriously.. it was PACKED!
Having read so much about Angelina online, we decided a visit to Salon de Thé Angelina Versailles would be a nice treat. Decisions, decisions..
Unfortunately, this was probably the lowlight of our day. The food, while good, wasn’t as amazing as we were led to believe. At least for the prices. We still enjoyed ourselves.. but would we go out of our way in future? Probably not.
Next up were the gardens. Approximately 2000 acres of carefully manicured grounds to wander. And make your feet sob hysterically in the process, after spending all morning exploring the palace. So we did what any self-respecting people would do and rented an electric golf cart.
Of course we did!
One of the highlights was Marie Antoinette’s fun and whimsy hamlet, built as a retreat to give the Queen and her friends a place to visit in private without the watchful eye of visitors at Court.
Built during a time when pretending to live a “simple life” while still enjoying the creature comforts of being rich was in vogue, it gave them an opportunity to – get this – dress up as milkmaids and shepherdesses. Seriously! Oh you crazy rich people with more money than should be legal!
If you’re interested in seeing my complete photo album from our visit to Versailles, it can be found here.