Paris Daytrip to Versailles
All over Paris, you'll find advertisements for day trips to Versaille via motorcoach ranging anywhere from 25 to 50 euros. Ignore them! Getting to Versailles is ridiculously easy via the regional RER line. Take it from Gare du Montparnasse toward "Versailles-rive-gauche-château". It's about a 40-minute ride on a double-decker train for only 4 Euros, and the château is an easy 10-minute walk from the train station (there are many signs and many many tourist shops). The ride is actually really interesting, taking you from glamorous Paris through the spirals of the lesser and more ghetto arondissments.
When touring Versailles, get there early. There is A LOT to see, and honestly, when are you going to go to Versailles again? Also, there will be crowds - I went in the dead of winter, and so did every Japanese school boy in Paris.
That said, make sure you look at every inch of the place, floor to ceiling. Everything is meticulously decorative, down to the Zeus faced window locks. I love the audio tour because it really brings history alive, and also draws your attention to these details. For example, I have read a bit about the history of the château, but being that it is so big, it was hard to visualize what went on where. The queen's bedroom, where the Royal births took place, is overly ornate, with a four poster bed with original feather plumes on top. But the audio tour points out a hidden door in the wallpapered wall, where Marie-Antoinette and her children escaped the crowds that ambushed her bedroom during the Revolution. Don't feel like a dork with the headphones on, just pretend they're your cool iPod's.
Aside from a historical residence, I tend to forget to think of Versailles as a museum to hundreds of ornate relics, sculptures and paintings. The king's chief decorator, painter Charles Le Brun, designed each room from floor to ceiling, as well as served as royal portrait painter. Le Brun also designed the incredible planetary themed ceilings of Louis XIV's Grand Apartment, which have been erected by various painters over the years. An architectural feat can be seen in the Royal Opera House. Seating for over 700, the floor is mechanised, so that it may be raised to become level with the stage for balls and banquets!