A Paris day trip to Versailles brought us to the majestic estate just 25 km outside of the French capital. It’s world-renowned for its opulent interior and dramatic gardens.
Gold extravagance enhance the palace, while the gardens are an immaculate example of symmetry and creativity.
While it is a popular tourist destination, too many visitors skip it as they find it too difficult to get there. However, with or without a car, getting to Versailles from Paris doesn’t have to be drama.
A popular Paris day trip to Versailles attracts big crowds, and with that comes long queues. Regardless of how you get here, our top two tips:
- Get tickets in advance.
- Pay the extra fee to have tickets that skip the line ticket. (reserve your skip-the-line entry
- Arrive early, even before the palace opens.
- Take a tour. (reserve your skip-the-line tour of the Palace and Gardens here)
See below for more options, as well as options starting with travel from Paris to Versailles.
Inside the Palace of Versailles
Initially, a small hunting lodge built by Louis XIII in 1623, it was enlarged into a royal palace by Louis XIV.
We toured the interior before making it out to the world-famous gardens. All of it is pretty incredible. Our entrance fee included a recorded tour of both the interior and exterior of the Palace of Versailles. They are available in 11 languages.
Great Hall of Mirrors
The Great Hall of Mirrors, the most famous room in the palace, is always crowded. I am sure the photos we often see of it empty are shot when the palace is closed to tourists. It was wall-to-wall people when we visited.
The Royal Chapel
While we cannot enter the two-story royal chapel, we can see it from the main level through an open doorway or look down on it from the upper level. Only the king and court were allowed in the upper level.
King and queen’s bedchambers
The king and queen each had their own gold trimmed and elaborate bedchambers. Aside from the gold, red dominated the king’s bedchambers as a symbol of his power. The Queen’s bedchamber is also where she publicly gave birth. Historically, royal births were public events. This eliminated any question as to who was the heir and confirms the baby was both a boy and alive at birth. In fact, in 1982, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge became the first British royal to be born in a hospital.
More Images from our Paris day trip to Versailles
And then there was this odd art exhibit going on, with random, giant, out-of-place pieces of art everywhere. While fascinating in their own right, they were out of place and distracted from the palace ambience.
The Gardens are a highlight of our Paris day trip to Versailles
The gardens actually have a fascinating history. You can read more about Versailles fountains and gardens here.
The fountain show is over one-hour long and takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from April to October. On Tuesdays and Fridays, there is a musical garden show.
Make your Paris day trip to Versailles a tour:
If you don’t have a car, the train is the easiest way to get to Versailles from Paris, It’s a ten-minute walk from the station to the palace. You can do it on your own or on a tour. Here are the best tour options we can find from Paris to Versailles.
Versailles by train with audio tour: This open-end option starts at a central meeting place. You will travel via train to Versailles. It includes a skip-the-line entry ticket and an audio guide or live guide option to the palace as well as time to explore the gardens. Your return train ticket is untimed, allowing you to stay as long as you want. ⇒ Reserve your train tour here
Versailles by bus with an audio tour: This 4+ hour tour starts at a central meeting place. You will travel via air-conditioned bus to Versailles and have a skip-the-line entry ticket. Depending on the date and option selected, your tour will either be half or full day and may include the audio guide (headset) and fountain or music show. ⇒ Reserve your bus tour here
Versailles with small group guided tour: Starting from your hotel, this 8-hour small-group tour via minibus to Versailles. It includes lunch, a Skip-the-Line entry ticket and a guided tour of the State Apartments and Hall of Mirrors, as well as time to explore on your own. ⇒ Reserve your small group tour here.
Versailles full-day bike tour: This 8-hour tour takes the train from Paris to Versailles, and from there, you will begin your bicycle ride through the royal forests, visit a food market in Versailles, have a picnic lunch (food not included), then visit the palace where you will have time to wander on your own. ⇒ Reserve your bike tour here.
Paris day trip to Versailles and Monet’s Giverny
If a visit to the gardens of the world-famous impressionist Claude Monet is on your bucket list, you can combine it with a tour of Versailles. Both of our recommended tours include:
- Entrance to Monet’s house and garden
- Skip-the-line entry at the Palace of Versailles
- Guided tour of Versailles
The main differences in the tours:
From Paris: Small Group Tour to Giverny & Versailles: This 9-hour tour begins with pick up from your hotel. This tour does not include lunch. You will travel via minivan in a small group of not more than 8 participants. ⇒ Reserve your tour here
Monet’s Giverny & Versailles Palace Full-Day Trip from Paris: This 9-hour tour begins at a central Paris meeting location (at the Pullman Hotel near the Eiffel Tower). This tour includes lunch. Travel is via coach.
⇒ Reserve your full day tour here
Tips for your Paris day trip to Versailles
- This place is busy and crowded every day, but most crowded on weekends and Tuesdays.
- If you haven’t pre-purchased a skip-the-line tour, get there early. It is less busy if you can be in the first group to enter for the day.
- Times and access to different sections of the property vary by season and can be found here.
- Be sure to get an audio set, available in 11 languages: French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Korean, and Polish.
- Certain groups of people are entitled to free or reduced rates. Check here to see if you qualify. These include:
- Visitors under 18
- European Union residents under 26
- School children
- Teachers in French schools (upon presentation of their Education Pass)
- Disabled people and the person accompanying them
- French job-seekers (upon presentation of proof dated less than six months)
- The Palace of Versailles sits not far outside of Paris. It, along with the Arc de Triomphe, are my favourite places to visit in Paris.
- Regardless of where you go in the Paris region, there are lots of people. Don’t miss our best tips for avoiding the crowds in Paris.
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