Paris - Around Town : Greater Paris (part 2) - Versailles Sights, Bois de Boulogne Features

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A Taste of Greater Paris


You won’t cover Greater Paris in a day, and Disneyland Resort Paris and Versailles both need at least a day.

If you want variety, go to Montparnasse by métro. In front of the busy mainline station, is the Tour Montparnasse – take a trip to the top to admire the view and then enjoy a coffee break in the Panoramic Bar.

When you leave, walk down boulevard Edgar Quinet. On your right is the entrance to the Cimetière du Montparnasse. An hour should be plenty of time here.

Walk towards the Vavin metro station to the historic café/brasserie La Coupole , to have lunch.


Take the metro at Vavin, changing at Réaumur-Sébastopol, to Cimetière du Père Lachaise and explore the city’s other great cemetery. Spend one or two hours searching out the famous names buried here and admiring the architecture of the monuments. Have a coffee afterwards at a neighbourhood café, Le Saint Amour (

2 ave Gambetta
01 47 97 20 15Metro Père-Lachaise).

From Père-Lachaise it is again just one change on the metro, at Nation, to the Bois de Vincennes, where you can spend the late afternoon in the park and admire the château.

Versailles Sights

  1. The Hall of Mirrors

    The spectacular 70-m (233-ft) long Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors) has been magnificently restored. It was in this room that the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, to formally end World War I.

  2. Chapelle Royale

    The Royal Chapel is regarded as one of the finest Baroque buildings in the country. Finished in 1710, the elegant, white marble Corinthian columns and numerous murals make for an awe-inspiring place of prayer.

  3. Salon de Venus

    In this elaborate room decorated mainly in marble, a statue of Louis XIV, the creator of Versailles, stands centre stage, exuding regal splendour beneath the fine painted ceiling.

  4. Queen’s Bedroom

    Nineteen royal infants were born in this opulent room, which has been meticulously restored to exactly how it appeared when it was last used by Marie-Antoinette in 1789.

  5. Marble Courtyard

    Approaching the front of the palace across the vast open forecourt, visitors finally reach the splendour of the black-and-white marble courtyard, which is the oldest section of the palace. The north and south wings were added later.

    Marble courtyard
  6. L’Opéra

    The opulent opera house was built in 1770 for the marriage of the dauphin, the future Louis XVI, to Marie-Antoinette. The floors were designed so that they could be raised to stage level during special festivals.

  7. Le Trianon

    In the southeast corner of the gardens Louis XIV and Louis XV had the Grand and Petit Trianon palaces built as “private” retreats. Marie-Antoinette was given Petit Trianon by Louis XVI.

  8. Palace Gardens

    The palace gardens feature many walkways, landscaped topiary, fountains, pools, statues and the Orangery, where exotic plants were kept in the winter. The magnificent Fountain of Neptune is situated to the north of the North Wing.

    Palace gardens

  9. Salon d’Apollon

    Louis XIV’s throne room is, naturally, one of the palace’s centrepieces, and features a suitably regal portrait of the great Sun King. Dedicated to the god Apollo, it strikingly reflects the French monarchy’s divine self-image.

  10. Stables of the King

    The magnificent stables have been restored and they now house the famous Zingaro equine training academy.

Not all sights are open at once, so check upon arrival.

Bois de Boulogne Features

  1. Parc de Bagatelle

    Differing garden styles feature in this park, including English and Japanese, though the major attraction is the huge rose garden, best seen in June.

  2. Pré Catelan Park

    This park-within-a-park is at the very centre of the Bois. Its lawns and wooded areas include a magnificent 200-year-old beech tree and the idyllic, eponymous restaurant (see Le Pré Catelan).

  3. Jardin d’Acclimatation

    The main children’s area of the Bois incorporates a small amusement park, a zoo with a farm and a pets’ corner, and a Herb Museum aimed especially at children Jardin d’Acclimatation.

  4. Lakes

    Two long, thin lakes adjoin each other. The larger of the two, confusingly called Lac Inférieur (the other is Lac Supérieur) has boats for hire and a motor boat to take you to the islands.

    Boating on lake
  5. Musée en Herbe

    This small museum aims to introduce children to art via regular, changing exhibitions. There is an admission charge.

  6. Stade Roland Garros

    The legendary home of French clay-court tennis hosts the glamorous French Open each year in June.

  7. Château de Longchamp

    At the same time as he redesigned central Paris , Baron Haussmann landscaped the Bois de Boulogne. This chateau was given to him as a thank-you from Napoleon III.

  8. Shakespeare Garden

    Inside Pré Catelan park is a little garden planted with all the trees, flowers and herbs mentioned in the plays of Shakespeare. There is a lovely open-air theatre.

    Shakespeare Garden
  9. Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil

    This 19th-century garden has a series of greenhouses where ornamental hothouse plants are grown. In the centre is a palm house with tropical plants.

  10. Horse-Racing

    The Bois is home to two race courses. To the west is the Hippodrome de Longchamp, where flat racing takes place including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe; in the east, the Hippodrome d’Auteuil holds steeplechases.

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