Before setting off on our trip to Europe, K and I had toyed with the idea of bringing Sophie Rose to the Versailles Palace for a day trip outside of Paris.
I’d been there two years ago during the summer, but K, my sister and her boyfriend T hadn’t. But when we considered the logistics of an 1.5 hour train ride which may be super packed, we took it out of our itinerary.
However, when we finally arrived in Paris, it turned out that Sophie Rose was such a cheerful and bubbly trooper that we imagined it would be possible after all!
So completely spontaneously, we bought tickets to the Chateau just the night before and made a day trip!
As it turns out, the Chateau is indeed pretty baby-friendly 🙂 Or should I say, if you plan carefully and prepare smartly, your baby can enjoy herself there too! Here’s our experience!
The sky was very overcast when we were there and there looked to be a threat of rain! That seems to be weather typical of the time transitioning between Winter and Spring. It was a pretty chilly 6-9 degrees so we did dress up warm!
On the upside, there were no long queues, no huge crowds trying to board the RER trains to Versailles, and the staff were very friendly and patient in assisting us. I had thought the French would disdain noisy children but I was quite wrong! Sophie Rose was pretty much the centre of attention everywhere we went and people, especially Parisians, went out of their way to make things easier for us, from offering seats on the train, to playing and making faces to her as we lunched, and even making conversation with us (stilted Anglais vs stilted Francais)
Baby S was this sunshiney the entire train ride there:
I can only attribute this to her absolutely adoring my sister and T. It’s like K and I don’t exist anymore, because she saves her sunniest smiles for them -_- so ungrateful, this bubba.
Tips for travelling on French transport to Versailles
- Book your entrance tickets to Versailles online before your day trip so you can skip the horrific lines (especially during the summer) and go straight in
- The train ride can be anything from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on how soon you board the RER train out of Paris, so bring snacks, toys and books to entertain your baby!
- If possible, don’t bring your pram but baby wear instead. The RER trains have seats on on upper decks (stairs up) and lower decks (stairs down) and the lower decks are too squeezy for even our tiny Baby Zen Yoyo, so Tula to the rescue!
- Also, prams are a bad idea because the Versailles streets are mainly cobblestone, which makes it really inconvenient if you’re using a lightweight, small-wheeled umbrella pram!
We finally reached the Chateau and of course, started to snap away in front of their beautiful gates!
My sister D takes the best candid photos of us 🙂
Liz Lisa Pink Winter Dress / Uniqlo Heat Tech Footed Leggings / Hunter Boots (best buy ever!) / Cape Coat from Korea / Cream and Coffee scarf from GAP
Chloe Baby Pink Puffer Down Jacket / Ralph Lauren Pale Lavender Long Sleeved Dress / Dusty Pink Collegien Tights / Hamptons Moccasins from The Little Bow Co
What can a 12 month old toddler possibly do at a museum, you ask?
Plenty! I honestly believe that appreciating beauty is something that can be done at any age. My sister and I were really pleasantly surprised at how fascinated Sophie was by the inside of the Versailles Palace, and she especially was captivated by the wonderful Renaissance-style frescoes in the Chapel as well as the rich, intense colors of the portraits.
She kept pointing from one painting to another asking us “What is that?” and then saying “Woooow” when we tried to explain to her what it was about. I’m surprised she didn’t get a neckache from arching her back non stop to take in the huge paintings.
Of course, a real big highlight for us was the Hall of Mirrors, with its gorgeous sparkling chandeliers and opulent gold details. Fewer places I have been have been such a strong physical manifestation of glory and power and magnificence – when you walk through the place you can feel the history and the strong sense of importance and presence. I have a wild imagination (and am something of an amateur history buff), and as I wandered through those corridors (for the second time) I could almost imagine, reflected in the mirrors, through the corner of my eye, reliving the infamous signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
Sophie was so entranced she fell silent! And then reached out as high as she could (but of course, no matter how high she reached those gorgeous hand-cut crystals were out of reach of her chubby little fists, thank goodness).
I hope I was not too sacrilegious in doing this, but I did our favourite toss up with her and she burst into peals of laughter! Another priceless moment captured 🙂
Once it became too stuffy and hot inside the Palace, we decided to head out into the brisk spring afternoon to explore the gardens as well as Marie Antoinette’s Petit Trianon and the Grand Trianon.
If you’re travelling with a baby, I highly recommend renting a golf cart to get around the parks. Its easily a not-so-leisurely 1.5 hour walk to Petit Trianon from the Palace itself on hard, unsteady cobblestones! (I know this because I attempted this with A on our last trip here and it ruined my Repettos and her Tods loafers)
Once we were outside, it was full gear on for Sophie – the winds were bracing, to say the least! Here she is sporting her “xiao long bao” pom pom hat while perched contentedly on T’s shoulders. 🙂
As you can see, the view from there was quite spectacular indeed 🙂
We don’t have many photos from the day because it was just too cold to get our cameras out, but it was a lovely, stress-free and educational trip out. The thing about the palace is that it is beautiful in every season, in different ways. During Summer, it was lush and green and I think its most gorgeous, but spring has its own charm, the trees are bare but their stark beauty is juxtaposed by small daises and the blink-but-you’ll-miss-it spots of green and color slowly making their way back onto the landscape!
My favourite snap of the day:
Sophie just loves to swing about! She can’t walk yet, and can only stand on her own for a few seconds, but boy does this daredevil love to grab our hands tight and swing as high as she can 🙂
And that marked the first wonderful day of our time in Paris! Will blog next about Sophie’s first chocolat chaud at Angelina’s, how to bring a baby luxury shopping (don’t say you never thought of that haha!) and her little birthday party at Laduree before our Zurich and London posts! I promise I will be more conscientious this time 🙂