Heading to Historical Versailles


I spent a night in Versailles where I checked out Palace of Versailles and had a great, 3.5 hour dinner by the water and then a Paris by Night car tour. Had some great convos with the former President of Vivendi International – Games, whose house and family I stayed with, which I will summarize on my main blog.

The Versailles hood is upscale and a 10 minute drive / 15 minute train from Paris. A lot of wealthy families seem to settle slightly outside Paris to avoid the hustle bustle and then make the easy commute.

The Palace of Versailles is nice but frankly was a bit of a letdown. Maybe this was because some parts were under construction. Maybe because I had to pay 10 euros to get in because I look old and couldn’t get in as an under-18 year old person (I want to support cultural instituations anyway). The ornate architecture and gold was nice but inferior to Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum. The park was beuatiful — set up like Washington Monument in D.C. — but still only about equal to other spectacular European parks. I’m sure if I visited Palace of Versailles by itself I would have been more impressed, but since I’ve seen now virtually every major site in Western Europe, it pales in comparison.Img_1506

We had a great dinner by the water in Paris. Politics, business, you name it. For the second night in the row the oven broke — this time in a restaurant. Come on, can’t the French get the cooking right?! We wrapped up at 11:30 PM and then did a 45 minute Paris by Night tour, which was great, but getting home at 1:30 AM killed me (as did getting up early to go for a run and then catch my train).

Summation: Versailles can make a good day trip from Paris, but spend as much time outside lying in the park as you do inside. And try to avoid long queues!

Ben Casnocha
Ben Casnocha is the author of the bestselling business book
'My Start-Up Life: What a (Very) Young CEO Learned on His Journey Through Silicon Valley", which the New York Times called "precocious, informative, and entertaining." He founded Comcate, Inc., an e-government software company, at age 14. Ben's work has been featured in dozens of international media including CNN, USA Today, CNBC, and ABC's 20/20. At a conference in Paris PoliticsOnline named him one of the "25 most influential people in the world of internet and politics".

BusinessWeek recently named Ben "one of America's top young entrepreneurs." He writes prolifically on his blog which the San Jose Business Journal called one of the "Top 25 Blogs in Silicon Valley." He's also a commentator for public radio's "Marketplace."

In addition, Ben has given speeches at dozens of universities and organizations around the world. He has traveled to more than 25 countries and he also co-runs the Silicon Valley Junto, an intellectual discussion society for business and technology executives. In his free time Ben enjoys playing chess, ping-pong, reading, and writing.

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