There were two major things that made me decide to book the escorted Versaille tour with Genie. Firstly, I didn't want a restrictive tour package with super early departure times & no free time and secondly I was nervous about getting the right train at the right location for Versailles so being escorted through this process eased my mind.
The genie tour was perfect. The tour price included roundtrip train tickets, admission to gardens and palace and 2 hours of a guided tour. We met at the office location near the Musee d'orsay with a young lady representing Genie and another couple booked on the tour at 9:30am.
Basically we followed her to the train station (short walk) she gave us the one way train ticket and got on board. It's about a 30 minute train ride to Versailles. Once we got there we walked to their office location and checked in with our voucher. The young lady then gave us our return train ticket and told us we were going to be guided by another woman, her name was Emily.
We were now a group of maybe 18 people and walked to the Versaille Palace (10 min). There are two parts to Versailles, the gardens and then the palace.
As we walked through to the Gardens we noticed the line to buy tickets was huge . We were given garden passes and then had about one hour of a guided tour. Emily explained we could re-enter the garden afterwards with the same pass. After the garden tour we walked up to the Palace. By this time the ticket line had hundreds of people in line.This is where the guided tour pays off. We were allowed in through a seperate entrance bypassing the extensive lines.
She handed out earphones so that we all could hear her during the guided tour through the palace. This lasted about an hour and then we were off on our own. We went directly back to the gardens which we thought were the most amazing part of Versailles.
There are 3 cafes to eat lunch in the garden. We ate at the Marie Antoniette cafe near the lake. The food was wonderful. Afterwards we rented a golf cart to ride over to the Trianon, Petite Trianon and Marie Antoniette's farm. By this time we were getting really tired and there was a line to get in to see the Trianon so we just rode around for the one hour rental period. The entire area is just breathtaking. There was music playing the entire day as you strolled through the gardens and once an hour the fountains were turned on for about 10-15 minutes. Just beautiful!!
We left Versailles around 5:30 and easily took the train back to Paris. I hope I didn't drone on too much, but when I was researching our trip I know I was looking for a very detailed trip report so I could make the right decisions for our trip.
If you are planning to visit the Louvre I would recommend booking a tour guide. If you want to brave it by yourself buy your ticket at the hotel (lines at Museum are long) It is massive and the self-service audio guides you rent are horrid since only a small amount of artworks are included. The opposite is true for the Musee D'Orsay. Rent the audio guides here. Each piece of artwork has a short audio description.
If you need any further questions answered don't hesitate to ask.