Am I mad about spending so much time in France for work? I’ll answer that strategically: it’s better than China.
By the way, if you’re confused about the format or purpose of this post, see my first Workaholic’s guide.
In all reality, I have very little time to explore. However, similar to my last trip to France, I found it necessary to make a pit spot– this time in Versailles, on my way back to the Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris before I flew home.
The last time I was in France, I stopped at the Sacré-Cœur which is more on the outskirts of Paris. That worked out great because I didn’t have to spend another 30-60 minutes driving all the way to the city center. I really liked this approach and wanted to mimic it, so after looking at Google Maps on my phone, the obvious choice was Versailles.
Up until the French Revolution, Versailles was the hub of the French Monarchy. The palace was built by King Louis XIV in the mid 1600’s.
Ruth was fuming in jealousy that I got to visit Versailles before she did. I’m sure you can just imagine how into Marie Antoinette she is.
Do: Tour the Versailles palace and gardens
If you are coming from Paris, the cheapest way to reach Le Château de Versailles is by train. You can buy a round trip ticket for 7€. You can hop on the PER rail at any metro station in Paris- just grab the one going towards Versailles-Château – Rive Gauche. The trip takes about thirty minutes each way.
The palace is open every day except Monday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The gardens are open everyday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. During the summer, it doesn’t get dark until around 10, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore even if you get there later in the day.
Admission to the palace is free for residents of the EU under 26 and anyone under 18. For everyone else, it’s 20€.
Also, like many attractions in France, the Estate is free for everyone on the first Sunday of the month from November to March (you can read more about the perks of the low season here).
Admission to the palace, called “The Passport,” includes an audioguide.
Access to the gardens is free.
If you want to visit the palace (I got there too late, but you should), definitely buy your ticket in advance online to avoid lines.
As you can imagine, the palace and gardens are packed on the weekends, so try to make it out on weekday or first thing in the morning, if you can.
Eat: Find a table at Le 17.37
Okay, call me basic, but ending a long work week with a steak dinner is clutch. Le 17.37 hit the ball out of the park. The waitress had to go over the French-only menu with me, but as soon as I heard “steak,” I said “I’ll take it!”
I had a spicy melon soup as an appetizer and finished off my steak meal with what we Americans would call a molten lava chocolate cake – the French just call it chocolate cake. It was gooey goodness.
Definitely recommend this spot over eating on the actual property of the Estate of Versailles. This was a perfect stop on my way out.
Honesty time, in addition to attempting to recover from being sick the previous week, I had very long days working, so did not have the opportunity to work out. Life happens. Here is the first workout I did once fully recovered and back home.
As many rounds of the following, in 12 minutes:
14 dumbbell snatches (7 each arm)
I used a 40 pound dumbbell, but use what allows you to keep moving consistently through the 12 minutes.
I’ll be back in France in a couple of weeks, and this time I’m going to bring Ruth with me! Probably for the best. I can’t afford to keep bringing her dozens of macarons from Ladurée on my way home from every trip.