Visiting The Palace Of Versailles From Paris



Palace of Versailles Where Are Those Morgans

The Palace of Versailles is one of the most popular day trip options from Paris. If you have enough time in your Paris itinerary, we highly recommend making the trip because it’s a unique and beautiful experience. However, many others will have the same idea so you can expect the palace to be extremely busy.

There’s much more to see than just the palace complex, including stunning gardens and smaller estates within the grounds. It’s a great place to visit for the entire family with numerous walking trails and activities for kids. In this Palace of Versailles guide, we show you everything you need to know about visiting from Paris.

Our Paris Experience

Two people taking a selfie in the Grand Trainon Gardens
Mark and Kristen taking in the Grand Trianon gardens

We personally visited the Palace of Versailles on a day trip from Paris in November 2023. It was a cold and rainy winter day, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying everything the palace has to offer. And even though we visited in winter, Versailles was still very busy and crowded so it’s important to do a little bit of planning no matter what time of year you visit.

For our Versailles trip, we decided to make an entire day out of it so we included the Main Palace, the Gardens, Trianon Estate and the Queen’s Hamlet. It was a lot of walking and it took us 8 hours in total. Below, we’ll show you what’s worth visiting and how to maximize your time at Versailles. Read more about us.

Palace Of Versailles History

Exterior view of the palace of versailles during a rainy day in November
Exterior view of the Palace of Versailles on a rainy day

The town of Versailles is located about 12 miles (20 km) southwest of Paris and it was deeply loved by King Louis XIII. In 1623, the king built a small hunting lodge on the current site that is now the Palace of Versailles. His son, Louis XIV spent a lot of time at Versailles as a child and later expanded the original hunting lodge between 1661 and 1715. He transformed it into the large extravagant complex visitors can walk around today.

In 1682, King Louis XIV officially moved the French Court and government to the Palace of Versailles and a succession of kings ruled here until the French Revolution in 1789. Two important treaties were also signed on the palace grounds which play an important part of France’s history.

The Treaty of Paris was signed at the Palace of Versailles in 1783, ending the American Revolutionary War. Then in the 19th Century, Versailles was used once again by Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis XVIII, Louise-Phillippe and Napoleon III as a seasonal residence.

The Treaty of Versailles was signed in the Hall of Mirrors in June 1919, formally ending World War I. In 1979, the Palace and Park of Versailles were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It now welcomes 15 million visitors per year making it one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions.

For the 2024 Summer Olympics, the Palace of Versailles will host equestrian events and the modern pentathlon. All areas of Versailles will remain open to visitors during the games, and public transportation will be provided to help spectators easily get to competition sites.

Need help planning your trip to Paris?

Our popular Paris travel guidebook helps you with planning every aspect of your visit, including must-visit attractions and museums, where to eat and stay, itinerary ideas and map!

View Paris Guidebook
Where Are Those Morgans Paris travel guidebook

Visitor Information

The Palace of Versailles is open every day of the week (except Mondays) beginning at 9:00am. Weekends, especially holiday weekends, are the busiest time of the week so try to visit during the week if possible.

However, the park and the garden are open everyday, and they’re free to visit from November to March. But from April to October, access to the gardens between Tuesday and Sunday may require an additional fee due to the Musical Fountains show. Here are the official opening times for both high and low season:

High season (April 1st – October 31st):

  • Palace Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00am to 6:30pm
  • Estate of Trianon – Tuesday to Sunday from 12:00pm to 6:30pm
  • Gardens – Daily from 8:00am to 8:30pm
  • Park – Daily from 7:00am to 8:30pm

Low season (November 1st – March 31st):

  • Palace Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00am to 5:30pm
  • Estate of Trianon – Tuesday to Sunday from 12:00pm to 5:30pm
  • Gardens – Daily from 8:00am to 6:00pm
  • Park – Daily from 8:00am to 6:00pm

There are various ticket options and tours you can book, but we’ll go over this at the end of our guide after we show you everything you can do at the palace grounds.

Things To Do At The Palace Of Versailles

When you visit Versailles, there is more to see than just the main palace. If your itinerary allows, we recommend you spend a whole day here because it’s a fascinating place to explore. Here are a few of our favorite things to do on site:

1. Visit The Palace

Man posing for a photo inside a large hall at the palace of versailles
Mark in the Gallery of Great Battles

The Palace is where the majority of visitors at Versailles spend their time and you should plan for at least 2-3 hours. Inside, there are over 2,300 rooms and you’ll follow a predetermined tour route. If you’re planning to use an audioguide, it might take you longer to get though all the rooms because there are also various displays to read.

Some of the more famous rooms within the palace include the Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Apartment, Marie Antoinette’s Bedchamber, the Gallery of Great Battles, the Opera and Coronation Room.

We visited at 9:30am just 30 minutes after the palace opened and it was already extremely busy. We had to wait in a 30 minute line just to enter the palace even with our timed entry reservation. It was raining and there was nowhere to hide from the elements, so we got soaked. If you’re visiting on a hot day or in the rain, make sure you’re prepared if you have to stand outside before entering the palace.

2. Enjoy The Gardens

Woman walking through the tree line near the Petit Trianon
Kristen walking through a section of the gardens

After visiting the palace, you’ll be lead out to the large gardens. Access is free of charge unless you visit during a Musical Fountain show and Musical Garden day (mostly Tuesdays, Fridays and weekends between March and October). For specific days and tickets visit the official website here.

If you want to see the gardens, you should plan for at least 2 hours. There are over 300 sculptures and some of the popular sites include the Great Lawn, Apollo’s Fountain, Neptune’s Fountain, the Orangery and the Groves.

There are 3 main walking paths you can explore including the Water Walk, the Royal Way or the King’s Garden Grove. We love the Royal Way because it follows the Great Lawn and ends at Apollo’s Fountain. Once you get to the Grand Canal, you can make a right to head towards the Estate of Trianon.

Travel Tip: From the Hall of Mirrors, look out of the large windows for a full perspective of the beautiful gardens from above. The view will stretch all the way to the Grand Canal so we think it’s one of the best views you can see of the gardens.

3. Musical Fountains Show

Woman in a raincoat standing in the gardens of versailles
Kristen at Latona’s fountain in the garden

From March to October every year, you can enjoy the Musical Fountain show and the Musical Gardens. The Musical Fountains perform every weekend while the Musical Gardens can be seen from Tuesday to Saturday. Additional tickets are required and you can buy them here.

Here are the current prices for each option:

  • Musical Fountain Show: € 10,50
  • Musical Gardens: € 10,00

Entrance is free for children 6 and under.

Unfortunately, the fountains were not playing when we visited in November, but it’s on our bucket list. There is also a Night Fountain Show with fireworks and dramatic lighting effect which occurs over the Grand Canal. For a complete list of shows, click here.

Travel Tip: If you purchase the Palace of Versailles Passport, you’ll have access to the musical shows included in your ticket.

4. Grand Canal

View of the Grand Canal as seen from the Hall of Mirrors
View of The Grand Canal as seen from the Hall of Mirrors inside the palace

The Grand Canal is one of the most breathtaking scenes at the Palace of Versailles. It stretches an impressive 23 hectares, which took 11 years to complete, and there’s no better place to take in the grandeur of the estate than at the Grand Canal.

Rowing a boat on the Grand Canal is one of the best things to do at Versailles. If you’re visiting with kids, this might be something you want to add to your Versailles itinerary. You’ll find the boat rentals near La Flottille restaurant. Four people maximum are allowed in one boat with a minimum time of 30 minutes.

Travel Tip: The Grand Canal is located within the park of Versailles. It’s always free to enter, making it a very popular spot.

5. Trianon Estate

Tourist posing for a photo outside the Grand Trianon
Mark at the entrance of the Grand Trianon

The Estate of Trianon includes the Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet. It originally comprised of a single estate and was purchased by Louis XIV in 1661. This was where the French royal family would go for walks, hold dinners and put on their famous parties.

For your first stop, head to the Grand Trianon, known for it’s beautiful pink marble columns and pilasters. Inside, you can explore the North and South Wing including the Mirror Room, various Bedchambers, Chapel Rooms, Family Drawing Room, Malachite Room and Map Room. If you have time, you can also take a stroll around the Grand Trianon Gardens which showcase various statues and fountains.

Next, head to the Petit Trianon. It’s a neo-Greek-style building originally used as a small summer dining room that’s completely surrounded by stunning gardens. Not far from the Queen’s Hamlet, this was a quiet place Marie Antionette could escape from the court. You can explore the ground and first floor as well as the Petit Trianon Gardens.

Travel Tip: If you have time to walk through the gardens, check out the Small Lake and Rock Pavilion. It’s a beautiful spot with a unique grotto.

6. Queens Hamlet

Main building within the Queens Hamlet
The main building within the Queen’s Hamlet

The Queen’s Hamlet is technically part of the Trianon Estate, but we think it’s unique and deserves its own section on our guide. This was one of our favorite stops at the Palace of Versailles because it’s so different from the rest of the grounds.

It was originally built between 1783 and 1786 as a rustic getaway featuring several smaller structures for Marie Antionette. The hamlet was where she could escape palace life and enjoy a private life with friends.

While you can’t go inside all of the buildings, you can enter a few of them. You’ll find small informational displays inside as well as beautifully manicured gardens outside of each small complex. The Hamlet is the main centerpiece and it was inspired by the half-timbered houses of Normandy.

7. Small And Great Stables

Large white and marble sculptures of men with horses
White marble statues in Versailles

Located about 10 minutes from the main palace on the town side, you’ll find the Gallery of Coaches and Sculpture Gallery inside the Small and Great Stables.

The Gallery of Coaches is on the ground floor of the Great Stables. It’s free to visit and includes two large galleries showcasing an impressive collection of grand ceremonial Berlin Coaches. Inside the Small Stables, you’ll find the Sculpture Gallery which is home to ancient Greek and Roman statues.

8. Rent A Bike or Ride The Train

Visitors riding the Les Petit Train at Versailles
Visitors riding the Petit Train

The Palace of Versailles is an enormous complex, and if you want to visit the different sections we’ve discussed it will require a lot of walking. Alternatively, you can rent a bike or ride the Petit Train to get around.

Both regular and electric bikes can be rented for €10,00 or €16,00 / hour respectively. The minimum hire period is 30 minutes and you can pay with cash or card. However, a valid ID is required and rentals begin at 10:00am near Little Venice on the banks of the Grand Canal.

Another great way to get around the grounds is the Petit Train. You can board the covered coach train at the north terrace after visiting the main palace. The full circuit ticket price is €8,50 and a return ticket costs €4,50. Children under 11 are free if accompanied by an adult.

9. Grab A Bite To Eat

Long line of people waiting for a table at Angelina
Long line of people waiting to eat at Angelina

Depending on how long you plan to spend at Versailles, you might need to grab some lunch. Inside the palace, we found the food prices to be very inflated, but you can eat at Angelina, the Grand Café d’Orléans and the ORE Restaurant.

There are two restaurants in the gardens located between the Apollo Fountain and the Grand Canal, La Petite Venise and La Flottille. The Brasserie de la Girandole is a seasonal option within the Gardens as well.

We had a quick snack at Angelina and then a full sit down meal at La Flottille, a quaint 1900’s brasserie with a set menu or à la carte dishes. We ordered a Crepe Normandie for €10,00 and a royale pizza for €14,00. The prices seemed to be a little cheaper outside of the palace if you can wait.

Travel Tip: Picnics are allowed in the park between the Palace and the Trianon palaces. However, you can not picnic in the gardens and you can not bring food into the palace.

How To Get To Versailles From Paris

Man standing on the platform at Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche train station
Mark at the Versailles Château Rive Gauche train station
  • Address: Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles
  • Location: Google maps

The best way to get to Versailles from Paris is by train. Use the RER Line C to Versailles Château Rive Gauche train station because this is the closest option to the palace. It will take about 30 to 45 minutes by train depending on where you start in Paris. From Versailles train station, it’s about a 10 minute walk to the palace. Here are the official time tables.

We used the train and thought it was a very efficient way to get to Versailles. It was clean and on time, and once we arrived at the train station, it was very clear how to get to the palace. If in doubt, all you need to do is follow the crowds straight to Versailles.

If you want to use the bus, the RATP bus line 171 runs between Pont de Sèvres and the Palace of Versailles. It takes about 30 minutes without traffic. Or you can use a ride share app such as Uber, but we wouldn’t recommend that option because it’ll be far more expensive.

Travel Tip: Purchase a return ticket when you first arrive at the train station to avoid the long lines coming back into Paris after your visit. All trains leaving Versailles Château Rive Gauche will go through Paris.

Here are a few photos to help you picture where you need to go:

People taking the escalators to the RER C train line
Look for the RER Line C train
Man buying a train ticket at a paris train station
You’ll have to purchase tickets prior to boarding the train
A walking path leading to the palace of versailles in france
This is the way to the palace from the train station
Long line of tourists standing in line to purchase a ticket for the train back to paris from versailles
Long line of people waiting to buy train tickets back to Paris

Getting Versailles Tickets + Avoiding The Line

You can buy tickets for Versailles on site at the ticket office in the South Minsters’ Wing which is to the left of the Honour Courtyard. The lines to purchase tickets can be extremely long, we’re talking 1-3 hours and you’ll risk not being able to visit the palace because tickets can sell out.

There are many tickets options for Versailles and it can be confusing. Here are the most common ticket options:

  • Versailles Palace Ticket – Palace only with audioguide included
  • Garden Ticket – Free entry on days without a fountain or music show
  • Passport Ticket Palace, Gardens and Estate of Trianon

Due to the high number of visitors everyday, admission to the Palace of Versailles can only be guaranteed by securing a ticket through online booking in advance. You should only purchase through the reputable websites we list below and you’ll need to choose a timed entry slot on the day of your visit.

We recommend avoiding the long ticket line on site and booking your ticket online in advance. There are many platforms you can purchase a ticket from including:

We visited with Tiqets’ Paris and Versailles bundle. It included the Louvre, Palace of Versailles and a Seine River Cruise. We could reserve a timed entry reservation for all 3 attractions and it was a little cheaper than buying all the attractions individually. Our ticket included access to the Palace of Versailles, Trianon Estate and Gardens so it’s equivalent to the Passport Ticket.

Even with a timed entry ticket, you’ll have to wait in a line with all of the other visitors who have the same time slot. After gaining entry into the palace, you’ll then have to wait in the security line which took us another 20 minutes during our visit. Unfortunately, both lines are unavoidable.

Travel Tip: If you can not purchase a ticket online in advance for the day you want to visit, you should book a guided tour to avoid the long ticket line and secure your spot. Browse tours below.

Best Tour Options

Visitors waiting in the long timed entry ticket line at the palace of versailles
A large crowd waiting in the timed entry reservation line

Now that you know everything you can see at Versailles, here are the top rated tour options:

Travel Tip: When buying tickets or a tour, make sure you read the fine print and understand which sections of the palace will be included.

Our Recommendations For Versailles

Tourist walking around the unique buildings at the queens hamlet
Kristen exploring the Queen’s Hamlet

The top recommendation we have for Versailles is taking your time touring the palace and walking through the gardens. This should take you around 3-4 hours.

Personally, we thought it was worth visiting the Trianon Estate including the Queen’s Hamlet because the crowds were much thinner, but it will add another 2-3 hours to your visit and requires a lot of walking.

If you only have a half day to see the Palace of Versailles, you should plan to visit the Palace and some of the gardens. You won’t have enough time to see the Estate of Trianon or Queen’s Hamlet and the palace is where you should focus your time. The Estate is similar to the Palace, but on a smaller scale.

We did not visit the Gallery of Coaches or the Sculpture Gallery because we ran out of time. We wanted to see the Trianon Estate and Queen’s Hamlet since they are unique to Versailles. So if you have extra time, we’d recommend prioritizing the other estates on the grounds unless you’re interested in seeing the carriages previously used by the royals.

Tips For Visiting

People using golf carts to get around versailles on a rainy day
People using the golf carts to explore the gardens on a rainy day at Versailles

After visiting ourselves, we’ve compiled a small list of helpful tips to help you make the most of your trip to Versailles:

  • Buy tickets in advance online. Don’t wait until you’re at the palace to buy tickets because lines are long and they might sell out.
  • Visit during the week. Weekends are the busiest times at Versailles so visit on a weekday to avoid the larger crowds.
  • Audioguides are available. Offered in 12 different languages, this is a great option of you want to learn about the palace, but don’t want to book a tour.
  • Plan to spend a whole day at versailles. There is so much to see, we recommend making an entire day of it.
  • Free admission is granted the first Sunday of every month from November to March. However, you’ll still have to book a time slot to visit the palace.
  • Guided tours give you access to closed rooms. Most visitors follow the general tour route, but you can visit lesser known locations often closed to visitors by booking one of these tours.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Your visit to Versailles will include a lot of walking so make sure you wear shoes that won’t hurt your feet.
  • Prepare for the weather. When waiting in line for the palace, you’ll be exposed to the elements so plan accordingly.

Our Versailles Photos

We spent an entire day at Versailles and tried to see as much as possible. Here are a few of our favorite photos:

Man holding an umbrella being blown away
Mark and our umbrella blowing away when we arrived at Versailles
A vibrant garden with small monument and grotto area at the palace of Versailles
Petit Trianon gardens with grotto
A royal bedchamber in the Grand Trianon
A royal bedchamber
Large painting on the ceiling of a room at versailles
Beautifully painted ceiling inside the palace
Woman taking a photo in the hall of mirrors at the paalce of versailles
Kristen inside the Hall of Mirrors
Statues along a large pond outside the Palace of Versailles
A large pond immediately outside of the palace
Row boats in the grand canal at the palace of versailles
Rowboats for rent along the Grand Canal
Framed photo of the Petit Trainon and Gardens
The stunning Petit Trianon at Versailles
Woman standing next to a large white door
Kristen posing in front of the large doors
The timed entry reservation line to get into the palace of versailles
The very long line of visitors waiting to entry into the palace (book your tickets ahead of time)
Exterior entrance to the restaurant La Flottille
Main entrance to La Flottille restaurant (where we ate)

More Paris Guides

Want more France content? Head over to our France Travel Guides to explore Paris and beyond.

We hope our guide to visiting the Palace of Versailles as a day trip from Paris helps with planning your itinerary!

Please let us know if you have any questions about Versailles in the comments below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

Enjoy this Versailles guide? Pin it for later!

Note: This article contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these affiliate links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

All Rights Reserved © Where Are Those Morgans, LLC. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, maps, graphics, etc.) in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

Leave a Comment