The famous Palace of Versailles is situated in an historic town, also called Versailles. This private horse and carriage ride is a fun way to see the town before or after a tour of the palace and gardens.
Make your way to the Versailles Tourist Office, which is located near the palace and also the meeting point for your carriage ride. Get a few quick bits of information before climbing aboard a private carriage, then relax for your tour of the city. Select a half-hour tour of either the Quartier Notre-Dame or Quartier St-Louis, or go for a 1-hour tour that covers both neighborhoods.
Quartier St-Louis Tour (30 minutes):
This district was at one time the private game reserve for King Louis XIII. It became a town in the late 17th century and today is one of the most historic areas of Versailles. Here, you'll see the Versailles Cathedral (Cathédrale St-Louis de Versailles), which is the seat of the Bishop of Versailles and one of the country's national monuments.
Pass the Potager du Roi, a garden of fruits and vegetables that first served as the kitchen garden for the court of King Louis XIV and is now on the French Ministry of Culture's list of Remarkable Gardens of France.
See the Court of Scents (Cour des Senteurs), launched in 2013 to honor the important place Versailles holds in the history of perfume. Pass the Petite Ecurie, a former school for royal pages, and get an excellent view of the imposing front of the Palace of Versailles from Place d'Armes on your way back to the Versailles Tourist Office to conclude your tour.
Quartier Notre-Dame Tour (30 minutes):
The oldest neighborhood in Versailles is the Quartier Notre-Dame, which grew around the church of the same name (Eglise Notre-Dame de Versailles in French). During the 17th century, this district underwent some improvements under King Louis XIV.
Here, you'll see the Grande Ecurie on the Place d'Armes, a building that once served as the royal stables. Pass the Place Hoche and the Church of Notre-Dame, which gave this district its name. This church's parish once included the palace itself, meaning the marriages, baptisms and funerals of the French royal family all took place here.
See Place du Marché, the public square in which the market is held each Sunday, as well as the spot where the Marché aux Fleurs (flower market) occurs a few times a week. Pass the Hôtel de Ville, which once held administrative offices for the French royal government and now serves as the city hall, on your way back to the Versailles Tourist Office for the conclusion of your tour.