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Our Paris Untour next Spring will include a day trip we plan to make to Versailles. We will be in the 2nd Arrondissement on Rue Marie Stuart. It appears that the most convenient train station for us will be Gare St. Lazare. We plan to take an early train so that we arrive by 9:00am.

My questions are as follows:
1) Is the Gare St. Lazare train station a good choice for the trip to Versailles?

2) Is it easy to purchase train tickets at the train station on the day of departure? Or is it better to get the train tickets ahead of time? We do not want to be in a long line waiting to buy tickets with the train ready to leave.

3) Are the grounds at Versailles wheelchair friendly?

4) What day of the week is best for visiting Versailles to avoid crowds?

5) We will be on a tight budget. Is it feasible to bring a picnic lunch and eat on the grounds? Or is there a reasonably priced cafe or restaurant there?

Any information that you can provide would be appreciated.
Thank you.
Bill & Eleanor Kover

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It is an easy train trip on a new line.(something between 20 - 40 minutes ride. I think you can buy tickets at any machine in any train station...to avoid standing in line, but check with Joanna in Orientation as to the point to point that you purchase. When we lived there we had a different pass than the one you will have...so I am not sure if part, or none of the journey is covered by the pass.

Not sure about the wheel chair....a visit to the Versailles website might give you more information. I believe the grounds would be delightful, but not sure about the interios. The grounds are wonderful, crowds or no, and perfect for picknicking. You can get a small taste watching the short video I made. I hope they don't blare the music as they did when I was there. I highly recommend going down the lanes away from the main flow of traffic.

Rick Steves tells you to go early or later in the day to dodge the crowds but later in the day didn't work at all for us....but then again we were going in the latter part of August, prime tourist season. I wonder if the crack of dawn might be a better strategy...at any rate, prepare for crowds....it is a matter of crowds....or unbelievable crowds, I think.
Bill and Eleanor,
I couldn't remember what kind of access Versailles had. I remember steps down to the grounds, so I went online to the following link and found this information for you
http://www.chateauversailles.fr/en/


To help you plan your visit...

The department dedicated to visitors with disabilities or special needs will be happy to answer any questions.
Tel.: +33 (0)1 30 83 75 05 (fax: 77 90).
E-mail: handicap@chateauversailles.fr

> reception at the Château
> reception at the Grand Trianon
> lecture tours for groups
> prices
Marlene:
Thanks for taking the time to research this information.
Bill,
First, if you haven't already done so, go to Amazon and purchase a Streetwise Paris Map. It is a laminated foldout map that is really great for getting your bearings and planning out your routes. Frank carried it in his pocket the whole trip and I used it for months before planning out routes before we got there.

To get to Versailles, you need to take the RER train line "C".
It looks like if Gare St Lazare is the closest metro station to your apartment then you will need to take line 13 (direction Chatillon-Montrouge). You will use your 5 day Paris Visite Pass or a metro ticket for the ride.
Next you will get off at Metro stop Invalides and take the connecting tunnel to get to the RER line C. to Versailles. This ride is also covered by the 5 day pass or you can purchase a ticket to Versailles from there. They say take any long train that starts with a "V", You definitely need the long train not the short one. You will want to get off at the Rive Gauche metro stop and then walk to Versailles from there.

My notes from research (Rick Steves) say “To reach Chateau, turn right out of train station, then left at first boulevard. It’s a 10 min walk to palace. Use toilet just before the Palace Gates since others are few and far between!!!! "
We went into McDonald’s along the way and used their toilet.

Since we did not want to use our 2 day Museum Pass for a day at Versailles, we decided to go with Rick Steves suggestion of buying a 1 Day Pass for Versailles. If you buy it in Paris, you can get train fare for just a little more. You must buy this at the RER line not the regular Metro line.
Since we didn’t go during our 5 day Paris Visite Pass, we used a metro ticket to get to the RER line connection.

This is what Rick S says about the pass:
“VERSAILLES ONE DAY PASS(Le Passport) for ~E20 /person weekdays, E25 Sat-Sun. Purchase at train stations, RER stations that serve Versailles, Ile de France TI in the Louvre, FNAC department stores, the TI in Versailles, and at Versailles itself.
The Versailles One Day Pass covers entrance to just about everything, gives you bypass-the-line privileges & provides audioguides. It gives you priority access to Chateau, Domaine de Marie-Antoinette, shuttle train around the gardens & fountain spectacles. If buy this pass in Paris (for E1.50 more), it also covers your train ride to and from Paris.”

Now I will tell you what we found:
Very easy to purchase this pass at RER station the day we went (a Friday)
It saves you standing in another very long line to buy a ticket when you get there but that is about it.
There is no priority access to the Chateau because everyone must stand in the same long line to go thru the security check before entering. (There might be some type of priority with the wheelchair).
Although it is supposed to give you audioguides, when we got there both stands were closed!!!
The fountain only have a “spectacular” on weekends when it is more crowded so you don’t have to pay to be in that area on weekdays.
Shuttle train around the gardens was supposed to be included but when we got there , we were told that it wasn’t covered under that pass any more.
You do get entrance to the Domaine de Marie-Antoinette, however, the day we were there, it was closed by the time we got to it. There was a concert being held on the grounds that day and everything closed very early.

I believe the admission to Versailles is about 14E and to Domaine de Marie Antoinette is about 9E. On weekends during the fountain displays, it costs a few Euros to watch them.

We went on a Friday in high season – June. There was a large crowd all day but I think a weekday is your best bet. The Chateau is closed on Mondays!!!!!!!!

We took a ham and cheese sandwich and some water in our backpacks. This was a life saver because it was a little walk to the concession area in the gardens.

Have any questions????????????

Marlene
Thanks Marlene.
Were you able to picnic or eat your sandwich anywhere in the gardens? Is there any restrictions about picnicing with wine?
Bill & Eleanor,
I came across the pamphlet we got at Versailles. It shows definite access areas for Disabled...ramps, lifts, etc. I will scan these for you and email them to you as soon as I have a chance.
Marlene

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