Versailles wasn't on my original list of things to do in Paris, mainly because;
- It wasn't in Paris proper,
- Wayne said it was quite similar to the Louvre, (and the Louvre was better).
- In my online research I'd found several articles by people who were underwhelmed with their visit.
- We were going in the middle of winter.
That last reason probably carried the most weight; I knew the fountains would be turned off and I expected the gardens to be brown and dreary. I'm glad I was talked into changing my mind at the last minute, because I totally loved our visit to the palace. Yes, the gardens were brown and the fountains were turned off, but it definitely wasn't dreary. Both the gardens and the palace were quite fascinating.
We took the Metro from Cadet to Invalides and then caught the RER C train to Versailles. (Someone else gave great details here.) The palace is literally a five-minute walk from the train station, although we stopped along the way to read a couple of signs.
Just follow everyone else through the gate and into the building, but be sure to get a free headset so you can hear all the details in English. The first exhibit, which wasn't there when Wayne visited several years ago, was a series of rooms outlining the history of Versailles.
Through the windows you could get a glimpse of the extensive gardens.
And a more close-up view of the exterior building details.
The exhibit rooms were to the right of this long hallway filled with statues.
After a quick lunch at the cafe, it was time to explore the gardens. When he visited last time, it was a wet and misty day, so Wayne didn't spend much time outside. He kept exclaiming over how extensive the gardens were. It takes at least 30 minutes to walk from one end to the other, and that's without traversing all the various intersecting pathways.
The pond (not the fountain) behind Wayne was dug by hand, by a Swiss army hired for that purpose. We were impressed.
You won't find pictures of statues here, because they were all under wraps, but we were able to see a lot of the non-operating fountains.
The gardeners did a great job of laying out straight lines!
Grand Trianon even had its own set of gardens out back.
Those gardens led to the Petite Trianon.
There was still more to explore, but it was nearing closing time, so we headed back to the main entrance, detouring to see a few more fountains along the way.