The prosperous, leafy and very bourgeois suburb of Versailles, 21km southwest (despite what The Da Vinci Code tells you) of Paris, is the site of the grandest and most famous chateau in France. It served as the kingdom’s political capital and the seat of the royal court for more than a century, from 1682 to 1789 – the year Revolutionary mobs massacred the palace guard and dragged Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette back to Paris where they eventually had their heads lopped off.
Because so many people consider Versailles a must-see destination, the chateau attracts more than three million visitors a year. The best way to avoid the queues is to arrive first thing in the morning; if you’re interested in just the Grands Appartements, another good time to get here is about 3.30pm or 4pm. The queues are longest on Tuesday, when many of Paris’ museums are closed, and on Sunday.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009
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