Discover the Grandeur of Versailles
Getting the most from your visit to Versailles
· 4 min read
Versailles is one of France's most famous landmarks, attracting millions of visitors each year. And for visitors to Paris, Versailles is often at the top of the list for a day trip out of the city centre. If you are also considering whether to visit Versailles, or you have already decided to visit Versailles, here is a guide to help you find out more about what you can expect.
Key Areas at Versailles
The Palace of Versailles was once the residence of French kings and queens, including Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette. Unsurprisingly, the palace grounds are huge, and there is a lot to see. There are three main areas that you can visit in Versailles:
The Main Palace of Versailles
The main palace is where you will spend the most of your time. The palace itself is huge, with over 2,300 rooms. Some of the must-see rooms include the King’s State Apartments, the famous Hall of Mirrors, and the Gallery of Great Battles. As you walk through the palace, spend some time admiring the intricate designs of the furniture, sculptures, and paintings on the ceilings and walls of the palace. Even if you are not the most interested in history, be prepared to be awed by the grandeur of the palace.
The Gardens of Versailles
The Gardens of Versailles are an expansive and breathtakingly beautiful attraction that extends over 800 hectares. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and admire the fountains, sculptures, and manicured lawns. A visit to the gardens wouldn't be complete without a walk along the Grand Canal, and a visit to the Orangery.
The Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate
The Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate are located on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. These smaller palaces were used by French kings and queens as private residences. Visitors can tour the Petit Trianon, the Grand Trianon, and the Queen's Hamlet. The Queen's Hamlet is a small farm and garden that was built for Marie Antoinette.
Pro-Tips for your visit
- You will likely be walking a lot. So it is recommended that you wear shoes that are comfortable.
- The Gardens of Versailles is very large, and you will probably be tired out trying to explore the entire garden by foot. If you are planning to explore the gardens, consider making use of the Petit Train.
- Queues are going to be long. Go early in the day to avoid the crowds.
- Buy your tickets in advance. You are going to have to queue to enter the palace, so you wouldn’t want to have to queue twice.
- Get a guided tour. Not only do these tours usually have skip-the-line privileges, you will also get access to areas that might not be accessible during unguided visits. Also, with a place like Versailles that is rich with history and culture, you will likely need a guide to get the most out of it.
- If you are not going on a guided tour, at least get an audio guide to help you with your visit. Audio guides need to be booked in advance.
- Most people will visit the Palace first before visiting the Gardens. But the Gardens and Park actually opens at 8am ahead of the Palace (that opens at 9am). If you can wake up earlier in the morning, consider starting your visit earlier at the Gardens before heading to the Palace at 9am. Plus point for doing this is that it usually isn’t too hot in the morning, so you can explore the gardens comfortably.
- Food is expensive at the Palace, and the restaurants are going to be crowded. You are likely going to be spending at least half a day, if not the entire day, at the palace. Pack some small bites and bread to tide you through the day. Take note though that you cannot bring or consume food within the palace itself though, so you may want to consider depositing your bag at the free left luggage facilities at the entrance of the palaces.
- Entry to the palace is free on the first Sunday of every month from November to March. But expect the queues to be exceptionally long. If you are planning to brave the crowds, note that you will still need to book a time slot to visit the palace on these days.
- If you are under the age of 18 (or under the age of 26 for EU residents), you are also qualified for free entry.
Getting to Versailles
Versailles is located about 20 km southwest of Paris, making it easily accessible by several transportation options. Visitors can take the train from Paris to the Versailles-Château-Rive Gauche station or the RER C line to the Versailles-Château station.
- Passport ticket (includes admission to the whole estate): €20 (€27 on Musical Fountains Show or Musical Gardens days)
- Palace ticket (includes admission only to the Palace of Versailles): €18
- Guided tours: €10 and must be purchased in addition to a Palace ticket or a Passport ticket.
- Gardens: Free entry from November to late March; from April to late October, admission is charged based on the prices to the Musical Fountains Show (€10.50) or Musical Gardens (€10).
From April to late October
- The Palace: 9.00am - 6.30pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays
- The Estate of Trianon: 12.00pm - 6.30pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays
- The Gardens: 8.00am - 8.30pm daily
- The Park: 7.00am - 8.30pm daily
From November to late March
- The Palace: 9.00am - 5.30pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays
- The Estate of Trianon: 12.00pm - 5.30pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays
- The Gardens: 8.00am - 6.00pm daily
- The Park: 8.00am - 6.00pm daily