Saturday, May 13, 2017
Boarding the RER C train bound for the Palace of Versailles
After 6 years, I was back in Paris to see what I didn't get a chance to see on my previous two visits: the opulent Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles). It's out in the suburbs and requires a commuter rail line, but a normal Paris Visite transport ticket works just fine. In fact, on this trip I was staying at an airport-area hotel (near Charles de Gaulle-CDG in Roissy) and it only took me just two trains from CDG 2 to Versailles, as both are on regional RER lines. The medium-distance RER trains, which are alphabetically labeled (A B C, etc.), complements the city's main Metro train lines, which are numbered (1 2 3, etc.).
RER Trains Between Airports, Central Attractions and Versailles
RER B connects both CDG from the north and Orly Airport (ORY) from the south with central Paris, particularly at these three main transfer stations: [Gare du Nord], [Châtelet-Les Halles] and [Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame]. RER B then connects with RER C at St. Michel-Notre Dame. The world-famous cathedral is just above it.
Beware the station name change! This sign actually covers both the old and new names.
RER C (bound for Versailles-Chateau, formerly Versailles-Rive Gauche) in addition to taking you all the way to the palace in the suburbs from the cathedral in the city, is useful for visiting Les Invalides (Napoleon's tomb), the Orsay Museum, the Louvre (just across the river from Orsay) and of course, the Eiffel Tower. The terminus of the westbound train is Versailles-Chateau itself, or Versailles-Rive Gauche on some older signs, so there's no risk of getting lost. Just be sure to board the right RER C train! Once there, it's a two-block walk to the palace grounds.
The city of Versailles has all the comforts and conveniences of a suburb. If you forgot something at your hotel in Paris or looking for a quick bite while visiting the palace, you can find it at one of the many shops and restaurants facing the train station.
The same motorcoach stop at Etoile (Arc de Triomphe). Air France Bus is now Le Bus Direct.
New Name, Same Great Service
Aside from the renamed Versailles station, another Paris transport icon has changed its name: Air France Bus (Cars Air France) is now Le Bus Direct! Only the name has changed, though. Le Bus Direct still provides fast, easy and comfortable motorcoach service between either CDG or ORY and central Paris, and each other. During my first visit to Paris back in 2010, I took it from CDG to Etoile (Arc de Triomphe). Now six years later, I was taking it from Etoile back to CDG where my hotel is.
It was only fitting that my journey begin and end with an old friend :)