Being authentic simply means being true to yourself and your beliefs. As slow travelers, we try to live that lifestyle every day.
Taking it slow, making connections, and saving the planet is a huge part of the slow travel lifestyle. What better way to do that than to use public transportation.
For less than €10 roundtrip, you can take the commuter train from Paris to Versailles in under an hour.
METRO vs RER
It would have saved us lots of confusion if we knew the difference between the RER and the Metro before we started.
Here’s a very brief explanation to help you:
The Metro (Metropolitan Railway):
- Is a subway, underground system for central Paris
The RER (Regional Express Train);
- It is a commuter train system. It’s also faster with fewer stops.
- Its service is to central Paris and the suburbs of Paris
The first thing you need to do is find your nearest Metro station. We used the Saint Michel-Notre Dame station which has the line you will need directly to Versailles.
RER C Line
You need the RER C line or yellow line. As you can see on the map, there are plenty of stations where you can catch the train.
Go to the ticket booth, use your best French, and buy a round trip ticket to Versailles Chateau Rive- Gauche (RG). They actually give you 2 tickets ( 1 for each way). Don’t lose your return ticket, you need that to get home. It’s about €7,50 round trip.
Unfortunately, our French consists of two words, “Bonjour” and “Merci”. It’s on our list to learn French someday.
Luckily, most French people in tourist industries speak some English, and also saying “Versailles”–is pretty universal too.
FINDING THE TRAIN
This turned out to be the hardest part of the trip. Unfortunately, the trains are not labeled as you would expect. There is no flashing sign with the destination.
The only sign you will see is a weird 4 letter code on the front of the train and no more.
So the trick to finding the right train is the screens! When your train arrives at the platform, it will say so on the screen.
You are looking for “VERSAILLES CHATEAU RIVE-GAUCHE (RG)” C line and the 4 letter code on the front will be VICK.
THE TRAIN RIDE
When your train arrives it will say something on the screen like “Quai” to let you know its at the platform.
Since the train ends at Versailles just stay on until the end.
They will announce it in English when you get there. It’s about a 35-minute ride from the Saint Michel-Notre Dame metro station. It was a very pleasant ride and the train is clean and nice.
And if you are lucky ..you may get free entertainment! The girl’s face behind me is priceless.
ARRIVING AT VERSAILLES
To get to the Chateau is a short 13 min walk. Head towards Starbucks and then follow the crowd.
ENJOY YOUR DAY IN VERSAILLES
Since this post is about the train journey and not Versailles, I will give you just a few tips on getting in :
- Use your Paris Pass to skip the line
- You may have to go up to the front of the line and ask
- Get the audio guide it’s free
- It’s crowded
RETURNING TO PARIS
Alright, the day is done you had fun and it’s time to go back. Obviously, you just go in reverse.
Some extra reminders though :
- Make sure the train station is “Versailles Chateau- Rive Gauche
- Use your return ticket you purchased at the start to get through the gate
- Check the screens for your train, but you should be able to take any train back to Paris.
- Since Versailles Chateau-Rive Gauche is the end of the line there’s only one way you can go and that is back towards Paris.
I hope this inspires you to take the train to Versailles its such an easy trip once you have all the tips and tricks down!
Happy Trails 👣