Chateau de Rambouillet
For centuries chateaux have been home to famous, wealthy, and often royal people.
These days, there are few chateau that are home to royalty. However, there are two chateau in France which are still home to the closest thing France has to royalty today.
In Paris is l'elysee Palace is home to the president of the republic and is closed to the public (although the gardens will be open to the public soon). The other chateau is the Chateau de Rambouillet, the summer home of the French President, and also to visiting royalty and dignitaries from other countries.
What to see
The chateau is open for visits throughout the year. It is only available for guided visits. Visits are available in French and English. In the high season these are at 10, 11, 2, 3, 4, and 5 o'clock. In the off season the last tour is at 4 o'clock.
Highlights of the visit include:
You can also explore the ornate French gardens with a uniquely designed three-pronged canal in front of the chateau.
Also included in the entry ticket is the Queens diary built by Louis XVI as a surprise present for Marie-Antoinnette and can be visited, although it is a 15 minute walk from the chateau.
Things to do
How to get there
Rambouillet linked to Paris by the transilien line trains.
Trains for Rambouillet leave from Montparnasse station roughly every hour and the train ride is about 35 minutes. The train will be heading to Chartres.
When the train arrives at Rambouillet exit the station and turn left onto Rue Sadi Carnot. Turn right into Rue Chasles and follow this through the town. At Place Felix Faure (where there are some good restaurants, cafes and bars) keep heading straight into Rue du Charles de Gaulle. The main entrance into the chateau is at the end of Rue du Charles de Gaulle.
Approximate Distance from Paris: 52km/32mi.
Time to get there: 34 minutes on the train plus 15 minutes walk.
Transport Method: Regional train from Gare Montparnasse (use the green ticket machines, not the yellow ones). The train is in the direction of Chartres.
Approximate Price: 8.50 Euro for entry into the chateau plus 7.50 Euro for the train ticket.
Worth: Half a day for the chateau and a whole day if you explore the town.
Website: http://chateau-rambouillet.monuments-nationaux.fr/ (available in English)