Paris- To Versailles or not to Versailles??

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums PLACES & SPACES Paris- To Versailles or not to Versailles??

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    Chloe Tait

    I’m going to Paris in July- and am doing the usual tourist thing but should i go to Versailles? I think I want to but other people have told me its a bit over rated..
    Oh and if you have any other essential places or spaces i should see while i’m there i’d love the advice.

    Lisa Town

    If you can, go to Versailles! Especially if it is a nice day. The interesting thing is that the locals just consider the gardens like their neighborhood park, so it’s not just tourists. People go there with their families and so it’s not just tourists but people enjoying the gardens…strolling, biking, boating. My husband and I rented a bike which was awesome and it was a beautiful day in early August and so we got a couple ice cream bars and sat by the main pool with our bare feet hanging over the edge and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. We actually ended up dripping a little ice cream into the water and these gigantic prehistoric fish came up and tried to eat our toes. I’ve never seen anything like it!

    As a landscape architect…you might also enjoy the Viaduc de Artes and Promenade Plantee. It’s the elevated park that atop an old, unused viaduct. The arches of the old viaduct were turned into retail and art spaces.

    Lee Attinger

    I would definitely visit Versailles while you’re in Paris. I thought it was amazing when I went and I’m not very easily impressed. The scale of it alone is mind blowing. I would suggest skipping the indoor tour though unless decadent furniture is your thing.

    Chloe Tait

    WOW thanks so much- its hard from guide books to tell what are the good places to go and see.. especially from a landscape point of view 🙂

    Mark Simmons

    Versailles is well worth a visit once in a lifetime. It’s grand and over the top, but classic. You’ll get a good sense of what Andre LeNotre’s great shaft of space means. I agree that unless you’re really into Baroque interiors, skip the indoor door. When I was there with friends we had a picnic in the gardens, along with hundreds of other people. There are other spaces well worth visiting, as well: Jardins des Buttes Chaumonts near Pere LaChaise cemetary, which is well worth a visit. Also Viaduct des Artes (an interesting raised planted walkway), Parc Andre Citroen (a must see!!!), canal St. Martin, Jardins du Luxembourg (more classic), the architecture inside the Institut du Monde Arab is amazing. There’s lots of large and small plazas, which one stumbles upon just by wandering around Paris. Paris is easy to visit as a tourist since many major roads radiate out from plazas. There’s a great pocket mapbook you can get in any bookstore in Paris called “Paris Par Arrondisements”. Paris is divided up into sections called arrondisements and the book logically follows the city plan. It includes Metro stops and points of interest. Have a great trip!


    I loved Versailles! We rented bikes as well which I highly recommend since the gardens are so large. Take time walking around the fountain with the horses. It changes from every angle. We opted not to go inside since the gardens are much more interesting!!

    Jaime English


    I was just there in April. It made me cry. Loved it! I would have spent two days instead of one if I were to do it again. I thought Paris itself was overrated and that Versailles was surprisingly way better then I expected. I was there on a day trip from Paris and went straight to the gardens and skipped the castle. The gardens are free and the lines for the castle are endless.

    Definitely rent a bike and ride through the woods to get to the end of the park. It’s a great break from the tourist crowds and gives you a sense of how expansive the place is. It’s a lovely setting.

    Also, go to Marie Antoinette’s garden. It is a must. Every turn there is a new little piece of garden that you have never seen before.

    For me the experience of the spatial arrangement was the most moving. Just a totally different scale and feeling than anything else I have experienced.

    Of course you’ll only know if you think its worth it if you go yourself. Have a blast.

    Carol Bellows

    DEFINITELY VERSAILLES!!! It is much more than the structured gardens of Louis. There are the woods… and the vastness of the project. I did a project that involved researching Louis XIV; I think he was OCD, with a need to order and categorize everything. Do some research so that you know what you’re looking at.

    Gabino Carballo

    DO go to Versailles and if you get the chance, visit Vaux-le-Vicomte, the original source of inspiration for the former. Smaller scale but cleverer design all the way through.

    Robert Such

    Sure, but don’t forget

    Edoaurd Francois’ Flower Tower

    Edoaurd Francois’ Eden Bio

    Patrick Blanc’s green wall in the Pershing Hotel

    Blanc’s green wall at the Quai Branly Museum

    Parc de la Villette Paris by Bernard Tschumi. The open air cinema in the summer evenings is magic.

    The sunken garden in the Very Big Library. If I remember rightly, the library cafe has an open balcony overlooking the forest.…

    +1 for Seaux. Remember getting hot and sweaty there. No, not what you think. I was jogging, with a girlfriend. How’s your French? Un sot sur un cheval tient de la main gauche un seau. Dans sa main droite, il porte le sceau du roi. Le cheval fait un saut et les trois… (?) tombent à terre. Comment écrit-on “les trois s… ?

    +1 for the Bois de Boulogne, but also the forest of Fontainebleau. Love that place.

    Robert Such

    Oops, that should be Edouard François, not Edoaurd Francois.

    Ryan A. Waggoner

    And what great suggestions by everyone else. I was there two years ago and it was an amazing day trip. Definitely try to see as much of the site as you can by bike or boat.
    Like the others have said the Parc André Citroën, Jardin du Luxembourg, Parc du Champ de Mars and the Parc Esplanade des Invalides are great too. We tried to get a few sketches in at each one, which made them that much more interesting. Enjoy your time there!

    Chloe Tait

    Thanks so much everyone for the suggestions!! I just got back 2 weeks ago and wanted to say thankyou for the tips on places to go. I’ll post some pictures on my profile and put the link incase anyone is interested 🙂

    Thanks again


    Trace One

    the San Chapelle, one of the most extreme examples of flying buttresses and stained glass, before they exceeded the limits of the technology and the churches actually fell down…it is gorgeous! the Rodin museum – absolutely love it…Loved Versailles, but there are many famous chateaus onthe Loire -Chambord, chenenceaux..all really great for landscape…

    Tthe prixe-fixe lunch meal is usually incredible food, also, the best deal..

    waah. I want to go to!

    Ryan A. Waggoner

    Awesome Chloe…hope you had a great time, I know I’m jealous…can’t wait to get back!

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