• Krista the Explorer

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!

At this point I was jumping up and down almost.

Inside the gates, can't get over the gold trim.

Doing my best to sneak in some photos where you aren't allowed ...

The famous Hall of Mirrors. This was my favourite room in the palace, naturally.

How amazing is this floor?! Channeling Alice in Wonderland before it was cool ... or written!

Taking a stroll in the garden area.

The palace grounds are immense (ignore the random person in the photo), and you can walk through all of it. Or if you prefer there's a little train car you can hop on to get to the other locations around the grounds.

I completely forgot this was here until we were exploring the grounds. The Queen's Hamlet was restructured by Marie-Antoinette and takes on a completely different style than the main palace. It looks like something out of a fairy tale. Make sure you go see it!

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.

Smaller than Versailles, but still one of the largest royal palaces in France, it's a beautiful sight when you pass through the gates.

It boasts a lot of stunning architecture as well as sculptures.

The grounds are beautiful and you can see the palace from most of it.

It has amazing water features as well. And I do love a great water feature.

Picture perfect.

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!


My name is Krista, and like many people I love to travel! I think it's important that people share their travel experiences, so I hope that mine help you in some way in your own travels, or inspire you to travel more! 

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© 2018 by Krista the Explorer