The Palace of Versailles

Before I went away, I bought a nice digital camcorder so that I can start doing videos on the blog. Well, the time has come for my first video. Please be kind in your critiques- I’m still learning how to make and edit these things. So, without further ado, here’s my first video on the Palace of Versailles, the former palace of the French kings outside Paris, France:

Travel Tips for the Palace of Versailles

  • Get there early- the queue to move through security gets really long.
  • The Gardens are free on the weekdays and cost 8 Euros on the weekend.
  • There are a lot of restaurants around- they are expensive. If you plan to sit down and eat at the Palace, expect to pay around 20 Euros.
  • Most people see the Palace first then the gardens, then Marie-Antoinette’s Estate. Go in reverse order to avoid the biggest crowds.
  • Get a Paris Museum Card and save on waiting in the ticket lines. Moreover, the pass is great value since you get into a host of other museums with it. It saved me about 15 Euro.
  • The audio guide for the Palace is O.K. If you really want to save money, Rick Steve’s has a free audio guide that was pretty good, despite some corny jokes.
  • Hardly anyone visits the apartments of the dauphin and the dauphine in the Palace. Equally beautiful and without the crowds.
  • Most of the Palace is closed on Monday. Don’t go on Monday.

If you are looking for more things to do in Paris, check out my five day Paris itinerary.

  1. On Twitter, you mentioned that you were nervous about what people would think of this first video, but no worries. Both it and your comments are well done and helpful.

    Outdoors several times, wind seemed to be hitting your mike. Whatever happened, this is the one thing I’d correct next time.

    Backpacking, you look so clean and well-groomed. Not in the Charles Manson mode I sometimes fall into on longer trips!

  2. Rachel

    I’m glad you added video! I enjoyed it, but was surprised at how crowded it was. Hope you’re feeling better after that cold!

  3. As an extremely critical videoblogger, I give your first edited video two thumbs up :) (It’s way better than my first attempt was) You’ll play around with the editing later; what’s important is you’re an excellent and interesting host and gave us some fascinating facts as well as some lovely scenery! If this is you sick (which I wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t written it), then I can’t wait to see you host videos in full health! I’m sure lots of people will be very interested to see this!! Great work Matt :)
    BTW, how did you manage to get your tomatina video to get thousands of hits in such a short time??
    Great to hear a voice and see the guy behind to blog finally 😀

    • I worked with adobe premiere and final cut pro all last semester. would end up using movie maker alot because it would render faster on my laptop. If you have some questions I can try to help

    • NomadicMatt


      thanks for the words of encouragement. With the La Tomatina video, I stumbled it and it comes up as #1 for the search “la tomatina 2009″

  4. Very cool! I love the idea of a video tour….much more exciting than a few photos. It’s also neat that you explained a lot of history. Wish I could hear you over the crowd a little better, but I love where you’re going with this!

    I was in Paris for a few days last summer and was debating whether to take the trip out to Versailles, but I’m so glad I did. While they were doing renovations on some of the areas, the ornate and over-the-top opulence blew me away. There was so much history there, and the place was just sprawling. Definitely worth seeing at least once in your lifetime!

  5. Great start and look forward to more videos! Only suggestion I would add is to make an opening title screen shot at the beginning (to give your videos a uniqueness and branding mark) and to add music when your not talking. Like some French music while your were walking around or panning, giving it a more “French” feel vibe. Keep it up Matt!

  6. Sound! Sound! Viewers will usually forgive video, but you can never underestimate good sound. I’d say grab a wireless mic or at least a basic shotgun, and immediately amp up the quality 150%… keep the clips coming…

    • NomadicMatt

      Yeah it was a windy day. I was hoping my program would edit that but I couldn’t figure it out! A mic is in order though

  7. I thought you presented well and the video editing was good, I like how each section was labelled.

    To improve I suggest music over the quiet bits, a mic to eliminate background noise and maybe a tripod so the camera doesn’t move when it’s just you presenting and to assist scanning horizontally.

  8. Hi Matt

    Really professional if that’s the first one – don’t they take so long to edit & get up? Like your style as a travel presenter – it’s so much better when people talk to camera, makes it more personal. I always fluff my lines and have to do several takes. Hope you don’t mind a few suggestions as I’ve been experimenting too, and you can find quite a few posts that I wrote about the things I learned from my first few attempts – you can see my video articles here. There’s one about tips on doing short videos and also about optimising your Youtube channel.
    – Agree with other commenters about music – you can get it free at
    – Make sure you add your blog address at beginning, end and possibly middle and possibly mention in the spoken intro & close
    – You need to keep the video short – around 3 mins is good if possible, you can cover the same content, just tighten up the editing and keep the spoken bits shorter & snappy. No-one has the patience on the internet for long videos. The length is one of the first things I glance at when I press play.
    – Use a small clip-on mic to get better sound when you’re talking to camera, to get over the wind and background noise – they’re really cheap
    – Ref Windows Moviemaker – it that is the free one that comes on the laptop, I quickly found it was very basic – it doesn’t have enough channels so you can’t overlay cutaway shots which is rather limiting. I bought The entry level Sony Vegas, which is fine but not exactly a pleasure to use. I’d find a friend who does a lot of video and buy whatever they have so they can teach you. The gold standard is Final Cut Pro (massively expensive) and anyone seriously into video is on Apple Mac so better start saving up – I’ve heard that i-movie that comes on Macs is fine too.

    Looking forward to seeing loads more in the future

    • Wow, Heather has some great tips!

      Kudos for putting yourself in front of the camera too.

      The silences definitely need to be avoided – it’d almost be better to keep the ambient sound of tourist chatter, but music would be ideal. I know that can be hard because you have limited options due to copyrighting.

      Definitely want to keep the videos shorter as Heather suggests. The length is always the first thing I look at / think about when considering whether to watch a video or listen to a podcast…and to be honest, I actually stopped halfway through to leave you my feedback. :)

    • NomadicMatt

      You are right about length. It wasn’t until I was halfway through that I realized I was rambling. Hence why the dialogue in the send half is shorter. Future videos will be around 2-3 minutes long.

      And the Mac is the best for video but, I’m a PC guy. I’m not sure I want to make the switch!

  9. I like your first video, Matt. Like Kirsty said, you’ve got a nice presence on the video. You’d probably make a great host for a travel show! Looking forward to see more vids.

  10. Congrats on posting your first video. In no time you will be a pro and become the number one video travel blogger out here on the internet:) Everyone already posted great advice so I have nothing to add but words of encouragement. Keep it up!

  11. To be the first travel video, this is brilliant Matt! I like it, first of all because of the personal touch from you, but also because you alter between your comment and nice view of the scenery. Your informations is substantial and just about the right portion. The picture quality is great too – one see all the needed details.

    I use WMM too. I’m not sure I can teach you anything new, but by all means; send me your questions.

    Btw: It’s not always grey days in Oslo, Norway. I had a globetrotter from Singapore visiting this week and it was a nice and sunny weather – just check my last post! 😆

  12. great job, matt – i enjoyed it! i would echo other comments about the wind, miking you, music, and definitely your website.

    you could also do a really funny series of videos on people/crowds. it was funny how in one room, the lady was backing into you to get her photo of her husband. i’d watch those! :)

    can’t wait for your next video – congrats!

    my husband uses Sony Vegas Pro for videos.

  13. Not bad for a first video, Matt! I recently purchased a great camcorder and I can’t wait to use it. Previously, I was at the mercy of a torture device called a mini dv camcorder….yeah, it was cruel and unusual. Now that I have decided to join the 21st century, I am looking forward to uploading videos to youtube with minimal embarrassment! Thanks for the nudge. Also, I would like to add your site to my blogroll, if you don’t mind. Good stuff!

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