Photo by Nick_Salmond
Louis XVI’s castle at Versailles is one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring monuments, not to mention one of the most visited tourist spots on the globe. If you’re joining the masses of tourists on the RER C from Paris out to the castle, be sure to visit Marie Antoinette’s estate while you’re there.
Yes, this fantasy-park (and the mistress who inspired it) became a lot more famous after Sofia Coppola’s 2006 film, but seriously. It was worth a visit even before that. In addition to an entirely charming make-believe peasant village, her estate also includes the two palaces of the Grand and the Petit Trianon, get-aways of Queens and royal mistresses since the 1690s.
To get to the estate,, walk through the gardens of Versailles, turn right half way down the giant reflecting pool. From there the walk takes about 15 minutes. Entrance to the Domaine de la Reine is €9. Entrance to the chateau is free for students of art, art history, architecture, and the like. The fantastic gardens of the chateau are open every day, and totally free except for special festival dates.