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If there’s one thing that I tell tourists to skip when they only have a very short time to spend in Paris, it’s the Château de Versailles.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a majestic masterpiece of architecture and an unrivaled example of royal pompousness (or is it ostentatiousness?) but it takes a while to get there from Paris.

First, you have to take the RER C (which is already difficult enough to access if you don’t live on one of the very few metro lines that has direct access to it), then travel 25 minutes or so to the outskirts of the city (Zone 4, if you must know), and then walk a bit to the castle itself, and then fall in line for a LONG time to buy a ticket, then actually go into the castle and stay there for a good hour or two because that’s how much time you need to properly ogle at the marbles and statues and paintings and ceiling frescoes and take pictures inside the Hall of Mirrors and gaze at the magnificent chandeliers while trying to fight for elbow room. Then you will have to go to the gardens – because, let’s face it, no tour to Versailles is complete without exploring the grand gardens. Unless you can afford to rent a small open-air car of sorts, you’ll have to walk for a good two or so hours around the gardens, exploring every nook and cranny, then walk all the way to the Trianon of Marie Antoinette then walk back to the castle through the gardens again, before you get to the train station to take the RER C back to Paris.

Whew. Even I got tired typing all that.

Suffice to say, it takes a day trip to properly appreciate what Château de Versailles is all about. If you don’t have time, skip it. If you do, don’t miss it for it’s actually worth the trip.

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