Possibly one of the most well known palaces in the world, The Palace of Versailles is a place you do not want to miss during a trip to Paris. Though it stood through 3 kings and a revolution, the beauty and magnificence of the palace and its gardens remain intact.
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles, or more commonly known as simply Versailles, is a royal chateau built during the 1600’s. When the chateau was built, Versailles was a country village, however nowadays it is a wealthy suburb of Paris, 20 kilometres southwest of the city. Versailles was the centre of political power during the reign of Louis the 14th, 15th and 16th, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution.
Full of history, opulence and beauty, Versailles has become one the most popular attractions here in Paris – and the lines sure do show it. With a common waiting time of 2 hours to walk through the palace doors, we highly recommend opting for a skip-the-line ticket (which you will need to organise in advance) to have most of your day trip spent in a long que.
We explored Versailles on a bike tour with Fat Tire Tours, cycling through the stunning royal grounds, having a cheeky picnic along the water, before using our skip-the-line passes to step foot into the palace.
Versailles with Fat Tire Tours
At 10am we meet up with our group at the Fat Tire shop before heading to the train station for our 9am train to Versailles. 30 minutes later we had arrived, grabbed our bikes and began to make our way into town to the famous city market to shop for our picnic supplies for later that day.
We locked up our bikes and made our way through the markets. Wanting to french style picnic seeing as we were in Paris we went for baguettes, cheese, and chocolate croissants for dessert – the perfect French picnic if you ask us. We then popped our picnic into our baskets and cycled towards the Chateau’s enormous grounds.
Zipping through an incredible network of beautiful trails and tree-lined paths our first royal stop was Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet. The Queen is famed for her desire to escape the pageantry of the Versailles court and this rural hamlet was the perfect place to do so. There she regularly spent her days, finding the country life to be quite charming. To describe the Hamlet, picture a real life village from Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, it truly felt as if you had stepped into a farmyard fairytale.
Sticking with the theme of Marie Antoinette, the next stop on our cycling trip was to explore the Petit Trianons. Built in 1768, this gorgeous chateau was used by the Queen for her exclusive use and enjoyment. She would come here to escape the formalities of court life and to hide from the burden of her royal responsibilities.
Before heading to the stop we had all been waiting for, the Palace of Versailles, we cycled up the 1000 metre long strip of water overlooking the chateau and indulged on our French feast.
After lunch, we continued through the grounds and entered the chambers of the Chateau itself. Our bike tour included skip-the-line access to the Chateau and we were lucky enough to avoid the tremendously long lines!
Walking into the Palace, it was more regal and lavish than we ever could imagine. Enormous canopied beds, exquisite artwork, marbled walls, and gold in every direction you look. It’s easy to see why the French felt resentful of the privilege enjoyed by the aristocracy, passionately beginning a revolution.
We ended our day exploring the Palace. Seeing the room where Marie Antionette’s guards were killed as they protected her from the mob at the beginning of the Revolution. Walking through the breathtaking Hall of Mirrors where King Louis greeted guests, and centuries later the Treaty of Versailles was signed to end World War I. Admiring the lavish royal bedrooms, covered from roof to floor with gold and rich materials.
After experiencing Versailles for ourselves we can now see why millions come each year to visit this spectacular royal chateau.
Book a Versailles Bike Tour with Fat Tire Tours for 90.00€ per person.
A big thanks to Fat Tire Tours for taking us out to explore the stunning Palace of Versailles. As always, our opinion is our own.