Versailles: In Which the Crushing Crowds Finally Break My Spirit

I have visited Versailles a couple times before – once in late September; another time in November. And while both times were quite busy (the September visit especially so), I had never quite experienced the true Versailles crush until my visit last April. Or, if I had experienced the crush, it hadn’t bothered me quite so much. But now, as a grizzled, cranky 30-year-old old, I found it somewhat . . . disenchanting. Versailles is magical, to be sure, but somewhat less so when you really have to fight for it.

After braving a long line to get inside, we made our way into the palace itself. The crowds didn’t abate inside the castle, but we tried to enjoy it as much as we could. The Hall of Mirrors, gilded from ceiling to floor, was as awe-inspiring as ever (so long as you only took pictures of the ceiling, and not the throngs of people below).

After surviving the gauntlet inside the palace, we headed toward the gardens. But first: a brief stop at Angelina for some fancy refreshments. While it doesn’t have quite the elegance of its Parisian mothership, the Angelina here does make for a nice break from the chaos of Versailles. Try the frozen hot chocolate if you need to cool off after fighting through the crowds!

Fortified by pastry, we made our way outdoors into the magnificent gardens. Though I have to admit I find them somewhat more stunning in autumn, the springtime gardens at Versailles are nothing to sneeze at! Unless, of course, you have seasonal allergies. Ba-dum-bum!

Next, we hopped aboard the little Versailles trolley and made our way to the Grand Trianon (which has long been a favorite of mine). While the Grand Trianon doesn’t contain the same level of treasures or finery as the main palace, I almost enjoy it more: it offers room to breathe while still being really gorgeous.

Before making our way back to Paris, we also briefly popped by the Petit Trianon, which was looking just lovely on the day we visited. I love its small yet super romantic gardens.

The Bottom Line: I really, really love Versailles: the château is filled with priceless treasures, the gardens are impeccable and stunning, and the history is all around you. But I think, after this most recent outrageously crowded visit, Versailles and I just might be on a bit of a break for a while . . . though I’m sure I won’t be able to stay away for too long.

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