A round tour of the whole estate cost 20 euros including the Grand Trianon but I paid 16 euros in total to enter only the state apartments and the garden (8 euros each). Spent half a day in the garden and troves, basking in the warmth of the sunny weather. Found a companion during my train ride and we both decided to walk and explore the place together.
I packed some sandwich and had my lunch in a corner of the park (although picnic is not officially allowed)
How to visit The domain
The Castle of Versailles is open every day, except mondays and certain French public holidays, or when official ceremonies are held
There are three different ways to explore the Chateau of Versailles, its gardens, and the Grand and Petit Trianons: independent visit, audiotour, or guided tour.
We took an individual and also an audiotour , special audioguide covers Louis XIV's suite, the Hall of Mirrors, and the apartments of the Dauphin and Dauphine. The audioguide is available in eight languages (French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Mandarin Chinese).
The tour lasts one hour.
Touring the gardens
The landscape surrounding the main palace is as impressive as the building itself. Carefully manicured vegetation is placed all around the palace grounds in various shapes and patterns. On a pleasant day, this will be a highlight of a trip to this region. There are also many fountains on the grounds. The Latona fountain near the chateau itself is one of the more famous ones. If you have ever been to Chicago and seen the Buckingham fountain, then you will notice that fountain was greatly inspired by the Latona fountain.
Ever since Versailles and is gardens were built, many other rulers have made attempts to build something as grand as this. Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee in Germany are two such examples. Also, Peterhof in St. Petersburg has some techniques that were borrowed from Versailles. Although, I think Peter the Great did build a superior fountain system.
When we visited, it was a crowded Sunday. However, that is the day that all the fountains are turned on and classical music is played. therefore, you get a tradeoff. Come on Sunday, you get the display and the crowds. It will be a battle to take a photo of those fountains since one person always has to get in everyone elses picture. If you come on another day, it may not be as crowded, however you do not get the fountain display. My suggestion? Since there is a lot of room outside, take two days to visit Versailles. On Sunday, see the fountain display. On another day, tour the inside of the palace and see other areas of the grounds. Fountains coming to life with classical music is certainly part of the Versaille experience
Useful phone numbers
The most common European emergency number 112 (following Directive 2002/22/EC: Universal Service Directive) and also standard on GSM mobile phones. 112 is used in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom in addition to their other emergency numbers.
Here are some useful phone numbers that you might need while in France:
Hospital-based Ambulance (SAMU): 15
Fire Service-based Ambulance: 18
Fire: 18, 112 calls are answered by 15 or 18 dispatchers, depending on the caller's location. 115 for homeless.
If I found the garden crowded, then the palace was packed. There were lots of tour groups around and the flow of tourists just never stopped. I tried to squeeze into some of the tour groups to listen to the guides, but there were so many people that I only caught a few words that I already knew -- Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI. Great, now I know what follows "Louis" so that has doubled my knowledge of French history.
Since I didn't have the patience to listen to the guides, and I didn't know what to look for in the palace, I soon found myself getting bored. I just walked from room to room without really knowing the significance of each.