Quite sure you have already heard a lot about the Palace of Versailles and how magnificent this must-see place is. On your next trip to Paris you cannot miss the house of Louis XIV, the Sun King (le Roi Soleil), and its gardens. And before we even enter his royal palace, I would like to invite you to visit the adorable city of Versailles, which hides treasures other than the palace. Come with us!
With about 86 thousand habitants, the city of Versailles is about 14 miles (40minutes by train) from the center of Paris, and personally it is a lovely place to spend a day or two. Full of these adorable little cafes and creperies, beautiful gardens, a few museums and these very friendly markets where you can experience like a local.
Market of Notre Dame – experience it like a local
This is a very lively city, where you see people getting together and sitting by the bench to catch up or just go to the market together. It means there are a few options in the city, and you want to double check which one is open the day you are visiting the city. You can visit the Flower market and right after that go to the Notre Dame Market – opens everyday expect Mondays – with fresh local products. There is a closed market, as requested by the king: “a place where it is possible to find every amenity, the covered market, benches, stalls, other necessary things to accommodate the merchants and to cover their merchandises” and an open-air food market right outside. It is a great place to taste French cheese, escargots – stuffed with garlic and parsley butter, ready to be baked and served, and charcuterie. You will see the ladies with their shopping carts choosing vegetables! A great place to prepare for our next step: the picnic.
Picnic at Pièce d’Eau des Suisses
If you are in France, and it is not winter, you want to prepare a picnic and do what they do best around here: VIVRE LA VIE. Can you picture yourself, sitting by the lake in this beautiful garden with a bottle of champagne and a few French pastries? I know that is not extremely hard to imagine and this is our invitation, do not miss this opportunity. Pass by a local boulangerie (bakery) grab a croissant and a dessert, then you just need to buy your wine/champagne at the local supermarket and voilà you are all set to enjoy a sunny day by the lake of the royal city.
Get lost in the small passages
Even thought you’ve got everything planned for your visit, now it’s the time to wander around the town and feel its energy because it is filled with this narrow passages, shops, cafes, antique shops and you have only to enjoy it. From the Square of Notre Dame you can find the Rue des 2 Portes and explore this ‘secret’ passageway, here you can make a quick stop for a coffee at the Les Biscuits de Madame Georges, this charming place that offers you everything you need for the best tea-time.
I know you are having a great experience following the tips above but if you are still in town and you want to have an unforgettable dinner experience, you definitely want to go to the Reminisens Restaurant. This theater and restaurant will take you back in time to the intrigues of the Versailles Court at the XVIIth century with their immersive dinner show, you will taste the typical French cuisine and discover the Court’s fashion, a few gossips, the baroque decoration and music. You can even become a member of the Court if you wish so with their participatory theater. Voilà, a lovely way to enter in contact with this rich history of the Versailles Palace.
Now that you have enjoyed this gorgeous town, we will bring you some crucial information about the palace itself on the next articles! See you soon!
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Thyago Capuano – Licensed guide in Paris