- WHERE TO STAY
The Palace of Versailles is conveniently only 9 miles (15km) from the centre of Paris. It is, along with Disneyland, the most popular attraction for those visiting Paris outside the city itself.
You can visit Versailles independently quite easily using the frequent RER trains from the centre of Paris or there are a multitude of tours available as well. We cover how to get to Versailles independently further down the page.
With time as their enemy, many people and many tours visit the Palace of Versailles in a couple of hours covering the highlights.
This is a shame as you can easily spend a full day to get a true feel of the palace and explore the extensive estate and gardens and perhaps even the town of Versailles.
Versailles Palace occupies one small part of the Versailles Estate. If your only have 2 to 3 hours you are probably only going to have time for Versailles Palace. The Versailles Palace Gardens and Estate are free to enter but the various attractions and activities within the estate are not.
You can explore the estate by foot or there is a hop on, hop off small train service. You will require best part of a day to cover both Palace and gardens or estate.
For opening hours and current admission prices do consult the official website (link below) to confirm for when you are visiting.
In overview Versailles Palace is open daily from 9am to 6.30pm (5.30pm November to March).
The Trianon Palaces and Marie Antoinette's Estate are the same but do not open until midday).
The Garden is open 8am to 8.30pm (6.30pm November to March)
Versailles Palace, The Trianon Palaces and Marie Antoinette's Estate are closed on Mondays.Versailles Palace - official website
You can buy admission tickets in advance direct from the Versailles Palace website, (link above). You have to stipulate the date when you visit as it is not a flexible ticket. Queues are very long if you leave it until the day to buy tickets.
You can buy a 1 day or 2 day passport giving full access to the Palace and Trianon Palaces, Marie-Antoinette’s Estate or you can buy a separate ticket just for Versailles Palace or Trianon Palaces/Marie Antoinette’s Estate.
You can enter the estate and just wander the gardens free of charge.
Admission to the permanent collections of the Palace (Grand Apartments, Hall of Mirrors), the Trianon Palaces, Marie Antoinette’s Estate, the temporary exhibitions plus the audio guides are free for under-18s and young people under 26 years old who are residents of the European Union.
Versailles Palace is very popular and crowded. Try getting there for 9am. It can get very crowded in the Palace between 10am and 3pm, especially on weekends and Tuesdays (the day after Monday closing). The estate and gardens have plenty of space for everyone, but if you want to use the toy train service to get around, again there can be queues.
In terms of ticketing the palace and estate of Versailles can be divided up into sections:
The site began as Louis XIII’s hunting lodge before his son Louis XIV transformed and expanded it, moving the court and government of France to Versailles in 1682. Each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it more beautiful.
The Palace's most famous places: the Hall of Mirrors, Grand Apartments of the King and of the Queen, King's Bedchamber and apartments of the Dauphin (the crown prince) are the highlights of touring the palace.
For the tour of the Palace, an audio-guide in 10 languages is included in the price of the ticket. Expect to spend around 2 hours or a little more.
A vast area ranging from the formal gardens in the immediate vicinity of the palace to the vast parkland and lakes.
The laying out of the gardens required enormous work. Huge amounts of earth had to be shifted to lay out the flower beds, the Orangerie, the fountains and the Canal.
You can take bicycles into the park, rent a rowing boat and there are cafes and refreshment kiosks dotted around the estate.
On the far side of the gardens from the palace are a group of fine buildings used to escape the pomp and formality of the palace.
Louis XIV occupied the Grand Trianon, where he also housed his sister-in-law, Princess Palatine, his son-in-law the duc de Chartres and his daughter the duchess de Bourbon. It was beloved by Marie Leszczynska, who lived here in summer. Marie Antoinette gave several performances here but preferred the Petit Trianon, which Louis XIV had given her as a present.
Most people take around 2 hours to visit Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon.
It takes around 20 minutes on foot to walk through the gardens and park between the Palace of Versailles and Grand Trianon. There is also a mini-train providing a shuttle service between the Palace and Trianon.
If you are tight on time or just don't want all the hassle of travelling to Versailles independently and procuring tickets there are of course tours from Paris, which can help beat the long queues.
The bicycle tour option adds a different slant to visiting Versailles and shows the Palace in a totally different perspective and gets very good feedback.
Half day tour from Paris by coach in either morning or afternoon
• Audio-guides available in the Palace • Luxury air-conditioned coach • Entrance to Versailles Palace
Half day tour from Paris by coach to Versailles Palace and Gardens
• Small groups tour • Local guide • Free time to explore • Escorted round-trip transfer by bus • Entrance to Versailles Palace • Musical Fountain Show depending on day
Versailles by Bike Day Tour
Travel by train to Versailles Palace and Gardens, pick up your bike and enjoy a cycle ride through the gardens and see Marie Antoinette's country-style Hameau, the Petit Trianon and the Grand Trianon. Picnic by the Grand Canal then enter Versailles Palace.
There are regular RER commuter trains to Versailles Riverside (note there are several Versailles stations) from Paris on the RER C line. The trains are normally double-decker and follow the south bank of the River Seine for a long way exiting Paris, several trains an hour do the trip.
The most convenient places for most visitors to pick up the train is St Michel (Metro lines 4 and 10 and RER line B) or Invalides (Metro line 8 or 13).
From Versailles Riverside it's a 5/10 minute walk to the Palace of Versailles and is well signposted.
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