A Summer weekend in Versailles
Welcome to Versailles, the setting for the Sun King's palace. The town, designed by Louis XIV's architects in 1682, still respects their urban planning rules and no building is taller than the castle. Here are some tips for enjoying a princely weekend in this royal city. To optimize your visit, opt for a 5-zone Paris Visit travel pass and a Versailles Passport.
Saturday at the Palace of Versailles
A visit to this architectural masterpiece will take a whole day. A Unesco World Heritage Site, the estate extends over more than 800 hectares and the castle comprises 2,300 rooms! Do not miss its most beautiful treasures: the stunning King's Apartments, entirely dedicated to the glory of the Sun King; the dazzling Hall of Mirrors and its 357 mirrors, which will transport you back to the time of the monarchy under Louis XIV with its paintings depicting the political, economic and artistic successes of France; and the extraordinary royal chapel and its magnificent sculpted decor that echoes the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.
Then enjoy an anachronistic and gourmet break at Alain Ducasse's ORE restaurant. France's most renowned chef welcomes you in a contemporary setting, on the first floor of the Dufour Pavilion, with a menu inspired by the cuisine of the past. On the go or for a sit-down meal, you won't regret your visit to this temple of good taste.
Like the members of the court of Louis XIV, next take a digestive stroll through Le Nôtre's sumptuous gardens while the monumental fountains come alive for the Musical Fountain show. Visit the park's various groves to the sound of Baroque music in a musical promenade, then hop aboard the little train to visit the charming ensemble of the two Trianon castles and Marie-Antoinette's hamlet.
Then to finish this royal day with pomp, there's nothing better than an opera in the magnificent setting of the Royal Opera, or if you prefer a spectacle in the mild summer air, the Fountains Night Show offers you a grandiose fireworks display in front of the Grand Canal. Remember to book your tickets in advance.
Sunday in town
Get the day off to a good start and head to the the Notre-Dame district for a visit to the Old Town. There you will enjoy the charming Carrés Notre-Dame market, overflowing (from 7am to 2pm) with stalls and happy customers. Then stroll (or haggle!) with the internationally renowned dealers in the antique district, set in a picturesque village of small houses close to the market. Peckish? Settle in to the terrace of one of the area's many restaurants.
After lunch, a short 15-minute walk will take you to the castle's Royal Stables. Cross the majestic courtyard to reach the Versailles Academy of Equestrian Arts, an astonishing equestrian theater directed by the famous artist Bartabas. At 3pm, watch his show " La Voie de l'Ecuyer", performed to Bach music. A magic moment that you can complete with a free visit of the Stables, a disarming place of luxurious simplicity.
And to end the afternoon peacefully, head to the King's Kitchen Garden. Situated a 20-minute walk from the stables, in the historic Saint-Louis district, it will introduce you to more than 5,000 varieties of fruit trees, and old and new vegetable varieties populate the two-hectare vegetable garden. If the visit has made you hungry, make sure to take home with fruit and vegetables grown on site, for sale in the shop!