We rose early in our Parisian apartment and made the trip out to Versailles, the famous royal chateau until the beginning of the French Revolution. We watched the movie Marie Antoinette the night before, and the scenes filmed in the chateau show the exquisite architecture, gardens and the clothing that would have been worn in Marie Antoinette’s time (just watch it with the sound off – the dialogue is awful!).
Despite arriving at sunrise (which I suppose isn’t that early in winter), we faced a massive line getting inside and we moved with the crowds at a shuffling pace inside the main building. It was by far the most lavish and beautiful of all the chateaus that we later visited around France, but I couldn’t help feeling a bit stifled! Making our way out into the huge gardens (which are free to access and had some locals jogging through) was a relief, and the topiary, perfectly trimmed hedges and many fountains are equally impressive. We also visited some of the smaller chateaus in the complex, which were less over the top in decor and less crowded. My favourite room was a beautiful yellow themed sitting room, almost cosy in comparison to the main palace.
I don’t recommend trying to do Versailles and the Louvre in the same day, as we did – we were ready to drop by the end of it!