Technology and globalisation have made it easier to relocate anywhere in the world than ever before. In our new series Moving To, we will be exploring new towns and off-the-beaten-path finds around the world. Whether you’re looking for a change of scenery, a slower pace of life, or just a new place to call home, there’s an endless list of destinations waiting to be discovered.
Many people may daydream about moving to Paris and enjoying the world-class galleries, museums, shopping, food and nightlife, but most of us would settle for a holiday if possible. The reality is like⏤any major city⏤Paris also has its challenges. For instance, housing can be very expensive, and traffic and pollution can be an issue. Additionally, the city can be crowded and touristy, especially in certain neighbourhoods during peak travel seasons.
In this first instalment, we recommend the charming town of Versailles as an alternative to the City of Light⏤a beautiful place to live in its own right and close enough to Paris to enjoy everything it has to offer as well. Located just a short 30 minute train ride from Paris, Versailles is known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and beautiful gardens. With a population of around 85,000, it’s the perfect size for those who want a laid-back lifestyle with a small town feel and all Paris has to offer still on your doorstep.
Versailles is known for its rich history and culture, dating back to the 17th century when Louis XIV moved his court to the Palace of Versailles. The town still exudes an air of sophistication, with many cultural events and attractions throughout the year. The town has a unique blend of old-world charm and modern amenities, offering a variety of leisure activities, cultural events, and excellent dining options. From the ornate palace gardens to the quaint cobblestone streets of the town center, Versailles is a truly enchanting destination.
Versailles Festival – This annual festival of classical music takes place throughout the summer in various venues around Versailles, including the Palace of Versailles itself. The festival features performances by world-renowned musicians and orchestra
Fête de la Musique – Held every year on the summer solstice (June 21), this music festival takes over the streets of Versailles with free concerts and performances of all kinds of music.
Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes – During the summer months, visitors to the Palace of Versailles can enjoy a special evening event where the fountains and gardens are illuminated with lights and music.
European Heritage Days – This annual event takes place in September and allows visitors to explore some of Versailles’s most historic buildings, including the Palace of Versailles and the Royal Opera.
Salon d’Automne – This art exhibition takes place every fall and showcases contemporary art from around the world.
The Gardens of Versailles are one of most spectacular examples of French formal garden design and were created in the 17th century under the direction of King Louis XIV‘s chief gardener, the famous French landscape architect André Le Nôtre, and cover an area of over 800 hectares. If you enjoy the outdoors and keeping fit, then jogging in and around the Palace of Versailles gardens can be a truly magical experience.
The gardens are vast and impeccably manicured, making them the perfect setting for a morning or evening run. Jogging in the gardens can be a peaceful and meditative experience, allowing you to clear your mind and connect with nature. Season passes for the gardens with access to events and the Palace can be purchased for a reasonable price.
For those who enjoy cycling, there are plenty of cycling paths accessible from Versailles to explore the French countryside and nearby areas such as Chevreuse Valley Regional Nature Park. The town also runs a bicycle share program that makes getting around town on two wheels easy. It is also possible to bicycle from Versailles to Paris. One popular route is to follow the Avenue de Paris, which runs straight from Versailles to Paris, with bike lanes for most of the way. This route will take you through the town of Boulogne-Billancourt, along the Seine River, and eventually into the heart of Paris.
Although Paris is right on your doorstep, there are plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants if you just want to hang close to home. There is a large shopping mall a couple of miles north of town called Parly 2 that has all the large brands, fast food restaurants, and cinema on hand. In town, there are many boutiques, a lot of very good antiques shops and an excellent selection of restaurants. You can also make use of the facilities at Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace where there is a spa, fitness centre, pool, cocktail bar and Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin Star restaurant Au Trianon.
Here are some numbers. Based on our research a basic 1 bedroom apartment around 500 sq ft in Versailles is on average around the 1200 euro mark or just under $1300 USD or £1050. Spending in the 1500 euro area will get you a significant upgrade in size and quality and probably accommodate a couple very comfortably. There are definitely many more economical options if you will be living alone as very tiny studios can be had for as litte as 600 euros per month. There are also some more economical options on the outskirts of town. Overall if you are coming from a major US city or perhaps London in the UK you will find rental prices in Versaille fairly reasonable in comparison and compared with Paris prices you are looking at about 25% less in Versaille with generally better quality housing as well.
REAL ESTATE RESOURCES
Seloger is a popular French real estate website that features a wide selection of apartments and houses for rent and sale
Leboncoin is a French classifieds website that features a section for apartment rentals
PAP is a French real estate website that features apartments and houses for rent and sale
Appartager is a French website that specializes in shared apartments and room rentals