What’s Doing in Versailles
Versailles, known for its château as well as for the treaty that bears its name and officially ended the First World War, served as the de facto capital of France for over a century and was the cradle of the French Revolution.
Located just over 10 miles (17 kilometers) from the center of Paris, the town was founded by King Louis XIV in the late 17th century. Louis XIV, known as the Sun King, moved the French royal court and government to Versailles from Paris in 1682.
Today, the splendor of the town is evident throughout and a visit there is a must for visitors to the Paris area. While it exists in the shadow of the château, its combination of charming shops and enticing food makes a day trip to Versailles appeal to all of one’s senses.
WHAT TO DO
Begin your journey at Église Notre Dame, or Church of Notre Dame, a parish church located on the Rue de la Paroisse in the Notre Dame district. The neoclassical church was first consecrated in 1686 under the reign of Louis XIV and was designated a National Heritage Site of France in 2005.
Église Notre Dame traditionally served as the site of baptisms, marriages, and burials for the French royal family and, in 1777, the parish established the Cemetery of Notre Dame, where many French aristocrats, artists, and historical figures are interred.
As you continue your stroll down the nearby Rue de la Paroisse, take a moment to enjoy some of the small shops, cafés, and restaurants lining the street. Two notable establishments are the Gibert Joseph bookstore and the Patisserie Guinon Trateur, a small pastry shop adjacent to the bookstore, which offers a variety of baked goods and chocolates. Two other patisseries worth visiting are the Maison Pelé, located one street over on Rue Carnot and Boulangerie Darras on Rue du Maréchal-Foch, both memorable for their delicious macarons.