Versailles or Fontainebleau?
Château de Versailles
Versailles had been at the top of my bucket list ever since learning about French history in school. When I actually got to visit it I was beyond excited and felt like a child on their first trip to Walt Disney World. It played such a prominent role in French history (don't worry I won't go on and on about it), and it still stands today as an historic landmark. I visited in the winter, but I've seen photos of the gardens in the summer and they are incredible.
Opening hours: 9am - 6:30pm, closed Mondays
Entry fee: FREE under 26 EU citizens and under 18s any nationality, other concessions available on the website, €20 day pass gets you entry to all parts of the estate!
Getting there: It's only about a 45min train ride from the centre of Paris, then a short walk up the main street!
Château de Fontainebleau
An amazing alternative to Versailles is Fontainebleau. It's not as popular as Versailles, which makes it ideal for visiting even during the peak season. The last time I visited Paris I was looking for somewhere to visit outside of central Paris that wasn't too far away, and having already been to Versailles on a previous visit, Fontainebleau was ideal! I did make the mistake of not looking up the opening days, assuming that it was open on a Tuesday. It was not. However, you could still walk around the palace grounds and since it wasn't open there were practically no other people there. It's set in a lovely French town as well so you can take a walk around it if you have time and get a bite to eat!
Opening hours: Oct-Mar 9:30am - 5pm, Apr-Sept 9:30am - 6pm, CLOSED Tuesdays
Entry fee: FREE under 26 EU citizens and under 18s any nationality, other concessions available on the website, €12 Grand Apartments ticket!
Getting there: By train it's only an hour from central Paris, and then you have to get a bus for another 15mins. You can walk from the train station but it takes a long time. I did that on the way back, ended up getting stuck in the pouring rain and had to sprint for the last train. So wouldn't recommend it unless you have time and it's a nice day.
So, which do you prefer?
I'd love to hear if anyone has visited either of these locations! Or if you have any other recommendations for day trips from Paris for me!