We were amazing at Versailles. We did it all and never once had to stand in line. Well, except for the bathrooms a couple of times. We let everyone sleep in and arrived around 11:30. The line in front of the palace was huge, we heard rumors it would take 2 hours just to get in. But we walked right past it and went instead to the gardens. It was Saturday, fountain day, so we actually had to pay to see the gardens which otherwise would have been free. And here's where we were a little less amazing. The water show goes from 11-12 and we got in at 11:50. I'm pretty sure there was another afternoon show, but we missed that, too. We did find one fountain as we wandered the gardens that was playing music and shooting water. It was nice to sit and watch it and relax before continuing our exploration under the hot sun.
We worked our way back through the gardens to the Trianon, the smaller palaces and domain of the queen. Our favorite part was the hamlet Marie Antoinette built, her little play village where she would dress up as a peasant (a very clean and well-dressed peasant) and 'work' on her farm. It was all very pretty. The kids especially liked the bunnies and the goat that got its head stuck in its fence. We tried to push its head back through but it just pushed back harder so we had to give up.
We got back to the main palace after 5 hours of exploring (including a long fancy lunch break fit for royalty). With just an hour before closing, there was no line. Kip and Anna had seen enough and chose to find a monoprix and buy snacks. William and Becca joined me to do a super-speed walk-through of the palace of Versailles because I couldn't imaging going there without going inside. It was probably the fastest walk-through ever. They were starting to close areas off for the night. We did the whole loop in 30 minutes, at least the party of the loop they were still allowing people to see. I went through my Rick Steves guidebook afterwards and realized how much we missed. But we did see the famous hall of mirrors from Becca's 'Paris for Kids' book, so she was satisfied. And I was insanely proud of us for going to Versailles and seeing enough to make us all happy without having to stand for hours in the hot sun.