I wrote previously about my visit to Versailles’s gardens last autumn, but the truth is I took hundreds (yes, really) of pictures that day, and not just of the gardens. Though Versailles’s grounds are vast and possibly my favorite part of any visit, my day in fact started at main palace.
For anyone planning to visit the palace at Versailles, my advice is threefold. First, buy your ticket in advance. Second, arrive as early as you possibly can. Third, and perhaps most importantly, expect to be trampled by tourists no matter what you do, and try to be as patient as you can (despite the fact that remaining calm in the face of such chaos is nearly impossible, at least for me).
When I arrived at Versailles, I made my way through security (a zoo) and inside to the palace. The first rooms you come to on your visit are colorful, richly decorated, and tiny – sometimes it can feel like there’s barely room to breathe. Because I had been to Versailles before, I breezed through these, intent on bypassing the small spaces that were clogged with visitors and instead reaching the true star of the show: the Hall of the Mirrors.
Luck was on my side, and by moving quickly at the start, I reached the Hall before the throng of people. In fact, it was nearly empty at the moment I arrived. I couldn’t believe my luck! I had never seen the Hall that way before, and though it’s marvelous under any conditions, it is quite special to see it without people standing in front of every single mirror or flinging their selfie sticks in your way.
Soon enough, the crowds caught up to me, and the Hall of Mirrors filled with people. The spell had been broken, and that was my cue to exit to the fresh air of the gardens.