Visiting the Palace of Versailles

Visiting Paris doesn’t just mean checking out the Eiffel Tower or marvelling at paintings and sculptures in the Louvre. Probably equally well-known, and just a dozen miles or so out of downtown Paris, you’ll find the Palace of Versailles, and it’s definitely worth a visit.

The palace itself dates back to the 1600s and King Louis XIV, and back then Versailles was a village in its own right. From 1682 until 1789, it was even the capital of the French empire, so it’s more than just a pretty building. These days, you can tour various parts of the palace and see furnished rooms and artifacts from the time, and the palace gardens are also open to the public.

Getting there is an easy day trip – or a half day, at a push – from Paris central. You can reach Versailles either by train or bus – there are close to a hundred trains a day that stop there. The French call the palace the Chateau de Versailles and it’s usually open every day except Monday, starting at 9am and closing at 6.30pm in summer, and an hour earlier in winter. The impressive gardens have slightly longer opening hours.

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