In July I went glamping with my mother and sister in Versailles. In Versailles you will of course find the world-famous chateau de Versailles, but Versailles is also a good base to explore Paris. Luckily the COVID restrictions were not too bad when we visited, so we were able to explore Paris for two days and on our last day we visited Chateau de Versailles. It had been over 10 years since I last visited the chateau and this time we also bought tickets for the houses of Marie Antoinette, which I personally found the most worthwhile.

Practical information

I really wanted to go to Paris for a weekend, as the borders had just opened and my original trip to Paris was cancelled due to COVID. However, I wanted to visit Paris in the safest way possible and I decided that camping would be the easiest way. I booked a glamping tent with my mother and sister, as in France you are allowed to book accommodations with people that do not belong to your household. I had been to camping Huttopia Versailles before and because of my good experiences I decided to book a trappeur tent with them. This tent featured two sleeping cabins, a small bathroom, a fridge, dining table, a French press, kitchenette and a terrace. We paid € 320 for a weekend, which is quite expensive but the tent could sleep five people and it was very comfortable.

Exterior of our tent
Huttopia also featured a swimming pool
Restaurant at Huttopia

We felt very safe at Huttopia Versailles, as everyone observed social distancing measures, it wasn’t too crowded and the facilities were cleaned often. I really like this camping as it is a relaxed nature camping, there are some facilities such as a pool, but it isn’t overly crowded with children entertainment programs.

From the campsite you can walk to train station Porchefontaine and take the train into the Paris city center. Unfortunately there was some construction work going on when we visited, but usually you can be at the Eiffeltower within 30 minutes.

From Huttopia it is about 40 minutes of walking to the Chateau de Versailles, so we decided to park our car near the Chateau instead. As we visited the Chateau in the weekend, we were able to park our car roadside for free, pretty close to the entrance. You are highly recommended to book your tickets online, but unfortunately that does mean you still have to wait in line. We arrived at 10.30AM with a time slot of 11AM and we had to stand in line for those exact 30 minutes. It takes about half an hour to let everybody in, so if you arrive at your exact time slot, you will be last in line. So unfortunately, even during COVID you will have to wait in line 😉

On the website you will find lots of different tickets and on days with the musical fountains you will have to pay an extra fee (even if you arrive after the fountain show). You can usually visit a part of the gardens for free, but again not when there are musical fountains. We booked the full ticket that also included the palaces of Marie Antoinette.

It doesn’t look too bad in this picture, but you will have to wait in line
Nobody paid attention to social distancing in the waiting line, so we decided to wear our masks

Our honest experience

I went into Chateau Versailles super naive.. because you have to book a time slot I expected that it wouldn’t be too crowded. Boy, was I wrong… I hardly noticed any difference compared to my previous visit ten years ago. When we got inside the palace it felt like we were moving in a traffic jam for our whole visit to the main palace. We tried to keep our distance from other people, but 50% of the visitors didn’t seem to care, so this was very difficult. Luckily, everyone was wearing a mask, but on the other hand this also seemed to be the main reason that people did not keep their distance. Very unfortunate, because if everybody just tried to keep their distance it would have been a much more enjoyable visit with better pictures (for everyone!).

At this point I still had no idea how busy it would be inside
We skipped a few rooms and found this empty spot
It was impossible to take a good picture in the hallway of mirrors, so I decided to take some detailed shots, such as below

The palace is extremely gorgeous, but we got a bit annoyed by the lack of social distancing and therefore did not enjoy it as much as we wanted. The gardens of the Chateau are so enormous, it actually is really easy to have these to yourself. Make sure you bring comfortable shoes because you can walk for hours and not see the same thing twice.

In the gardens you will find some cafes where you can get a simple (or not so simple) meal, which was arranged well. If you do not want to walk as much, but still want to see the whole gardens there are some transportation options. You can board a train or rent a golf cart, make sure to do some research beforehand because you can only board or rent at a few specific locations. The golf carts are ridiculously expensive at € 36 per hour.

In the main building you can buy macarons of Laduree which is a must!

Marie Antoinette’s palaces

We bought a ticket that also gave us access to the Grand and Petit Trianon, which are more closely associated with Marie Antoinette. She may have a bit of a despicable history, she certainly had style and I much preferred these palaces to the main palace! You can definitely see that these palaces have a female touch and they are much more colorful and bright. The gardens of the main palace are mainly grand, while the Trianon gardens feature much more flowers. The gardens are absolutely lovely with the pink marble palaces as a backdrop. The Trianon has less visitors than the main palace and we were very happy about how relaxed our visit was. I later on discovered that you can also buy a ticket to just the Trianon for € 12, which is what I would honestly recommend doing. Especially if you are not too keen on large groups. Please note that the Trianon is located a 40 minutes walk from the main palace, so allow yourself plenty of time if you want to visit all the palaces.

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