Things to do in Versailles when you’re not sightseeing

photo by Thierry on Flickr

Versailles is known chiefly for being one of the most popular attractions in France, and when hearing the word, most people automatically think of the eponymous palace that represents one of the biggest excesses of Louis XIV – lavish interiors, pure luxury wherever you look, and the elegance of French aristocracy. But Versailles is in fact an entire town rife with all manner of attractions, and you can easily forget yourself and spend hours and even days wandering through the classy streets. But if you’re done with the sightseeing, you don’t have to leave town just yet, because there are many other things to do in this town besides gazing in wonder at historical attractions. Here are some things to do in Versailles when you’re not sightseeing.

Take a tour of the city

Stunning historical attractions aside, Versaille seems like just another French city, with large shopping areas, restaurants and cafes, and of course, little secret places and stories that you can’t really know about unless you area a local. A walking tour of Versaille is a great way to get to know the city, and private tours will give you a more in depth introduction into the culture and history of the city than any guidebook.

Shopping

photo by Richie Diesterheft

In any town or city in France, shopping is a good way to spend time (and money). The Palace has some excellent souvenir shops where you can buy gifts and mementos. The city center also has several good bric a brac and souvenir shops (just look around Boulevard de La Reine, the Rue Chantiers, Rue Mar Foch), but if you are interested in high end shops, these aren’t in short supply either.

Eating

photo by Patrick Stahl on Flickr

Many people who visit the Palace stay on the palace grounds to eat, but the restaurants around it are often overpriced. Versaille on the whole, however, has a good range of restaurants of all kinds, from cheap eateries to bistros where you can indulge in hearty country cuisine. Place du Marché is recommended for those who want to try some authentic French cuisine at the market, while L’Resto du Roy has a menu full of delicacies from all around France.

Going out for the evening

Versailles is a dignified city with little nightlife, but although it’s difficult to find any multi-levelled nightclubs, there is a nice little concentration of bars in the city center where it’s very easy to mingle with the locals. Most of the young people in the city crowd to the bars around Place du Marché, and in summer the place is filled with very pleasant outdoor terraces.

 

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