Let’s start off by stating this, loud and clear: I am NOT a people person. About 8 billion people on this planet and I can only tolerate 30 of them. And not at the same time. So whenever I know I’ll be in a mingling situation, or by definition overcrowding, I really have to put my “normal human” filters on and work extra hard at being normal and not show that all I really want to do is get the hell out of there.
So my day out in Versailles was not nearly as enjoyable as I thought it would be.
Palace of Versailles – How Much is Too Much?
“Too many people” doesn’t even begin to cover how crowded the palace gets. A human mass formed at the very beginning and slowly made its way together through the many rooms in a tight, locked, uncomfortable compound. A very firmly locked compound that I did not care for.
It was one of the most infuriating experiences of my life. I had no willpower whatsoever, as I was surrounded on all sides by people who apparently think audioguides are just the most fascinating thing. I could barely circulate to get to the promised velvet rope in the hopes of snapping a photo without being almost pushed over. Sweat pearled on my forehead — I desperately wanted to take my jacket off, but I didn’t think I could handle the crowds with just one arm available. I needed all the coordination I could get.
At some point, I started to think Justin Bieber was probably hiding in one of the secret doors in the corner because I could not find another rational explanation for the crowd’s behaviour. It was already frustrating enough being stuck there and not enjoying the visit one little bit —but I noticed just how much it truly sucked when I got back home and started editing my photos.
90% of my shots were ceiling shots.
Mind you, the ceilings at Versailles are works of art of their own right, mind you — but I would’ve hoped for at least a handful of shots depicting just how grand and ornate the state rooms were. Not a chance.
So here’s to Versailles’ ceilings, the only thing you are really going to see on your visit. It’s a good thing they’re so pretty.
Palace of Versailles – A Few Good Shots…
Although I was not kidding as to how crowded Versailles gets, I did manage to get a few good shots of the state rooms. Torrents of pushy visitors not included.
Palace of Versailles – The Gardens
And what better way to relax from the exhausting palace tour than to enjoy the lavish, massive gardens of Versailles? It’s one freaking chance the gardens are so big – I felt like I gained back my little personal space.
It was my second time at Versailles, and that’s probably what’s gotten me so riled up: it was just as worse as the first time. I blamed my first bad experience on the holidays (I visited on December 31st), and figured it would be better if I went back mid-week.
I was there on a Tuesday and people, it did NOT get better.
On the way back to Paris on the RER, I actually came up with a tip (this site IS called Eurotrip Tips after all): visit the gardens first, and beat the crowds. Maybe other smart people thought of this before I did, and to them I say, why didn’t you tell me before?
But since visiting the whole castle grounds will take you at least half a day, if not a whole one, you should probably start with the gardens – and enter the castle when the crowds are through.
Not that I will go back a third time to test this.