Versailles is a city located on the western edge of Paris, in Yvelines in the Île-de-France region (France). Versailles is a popular day trip option from Paris for the worldwide renowned site of the Château de Versailles and the gardens of Versailles.
You know the premier place of residence for all royalty – that’s the Palace of Versailles. The Lourve was the residence of the French monarchy for a long period of time. And the Louis XIV moved out of Paris to a small town – Versailles and built this palatial residence in 1682. The Palace of Versailles continued to be a seat of royal residence until the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 (Louis XVI). During the French Revolution, the revolutionaries looted and destroyed many of the royal furniture, artefacts and paintings. Much of that is restored today, but as history would show this palace was used for different occasions over the years and it was not until 1837 that the palace was restored to what you see today.
The Palace of Versailles is one of the most popular attractions in Europe. It has been a UNESCO world heritage site for 30 years (since 1979).
Getting to Versailles from Paris Day Trip Guide
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First off, why visit Versailles?
There are many options for day trips from Paris. You can visit St Michel, Champagne region, Giverny, Loire Valley and the list goes on. We have actually highlighted the best day tours from Paris here, take a look. But Versailles tops that list and I will share why
First thing is that, if you love Paris – you will know that what started at the Lourve, reached its zenith at the Versailles and ended at the Trianon – well, the French royal residence! So if you are heading to the Lourve Palace, visit the Palace of Versailles to understand Paris and France and how it had evolved.
Also if you love Paris and luxury (and calling all Louis Vuitton fans out there), the kind of grandeur you witness at the Versailles is like no other. The hall of mirrors is just one example. You should see for yourself.
My reason for visiting Versailles, was to see where the treaty of Versailles was signed. For all history nerds out there, the First World war came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Germany suffered severe losses at the hands of the Allied Forces and lost a lot of their territories. The brutality of the war ended in the stunning hall of mirrors where the treaty was signed. This is the irony of war and peace. If you take a guided tour, which we think you should – it will answer a lot of these questions.
Getting to Versailles from Paris
There are many ways to reach Versailles from Paris.
DRIVE – A drive will take you to Versailles from Paris in 30 minutes. There are parking options available at the Palace grounds. In the town of Versailles, there are parking areas available so that you can walk around and explore.
Here is the route
TRAIN – Versailles is easily accessible by train. You can catch a train from any of the major train stations in Paris to Versailles. Train journey is about an hour and it will cost you 7 euros round trip. There are three train stations in Versailles, the closest one to the Palace is – Versailles Château Rive Gauche.
Once you arrive there, you can either take a cab (4 minute), train (12 minute ride – RER C train zone 4) or walk (12 minute) to reach the palace grounds.
Earliest train leaves at 05:30 am, last train is at 11:52 pm. Check out train tickets at Rail Europe
TOURS: We did a fair bit of research for our trip to Paris and decided to explore the Palace of Versailles in a day tour. There are many options for day tours to Versailles to fit every traveler and budget.
We highly recommend taking a tour to Versailles, based on our experience and research
Versailles is the second MOST visited site in Paris France after the Lourve. Yes, they beat the Eiffel Tower in 2017. Which means to access the Versailles palace, you will have to fight a LONG queue. Fact is you don’t have to take a guided tour to access the building, but it is better if you do so. An adult ticket to enter the Versailles palace is 15 euros and the ticket to access gardens and fountains is additional 18 euros. So,
COST – Palace (15 euros)+ Gardens/fountains (18 euros) + train (7 euros) = 40 euros (or $45 USD). Add additional for cab or additional train to the Versailles palace.
Entry Fee Tickets Booking
A guided tour of the palace with round trip transportation is $51 USD. Check out the no frill Palace of Versailles guided tour.
So in terms of convenience, trip planning, cost and benefits analysis – a tour wins. We have included a list of tour options for Versailles Palace – private tour, half day and full day options, Palace + Versailles Town sightseeing and more. The list is below
- 3 HOUR TOUR FROM PARIS TO VERSAILLES – Quick 3 hour tour to Versailles from Paris. Perfect for travelers with time constraint.
- FULL DAY TOUR TO VERSAILLES WITH LUNCH – Awesome day tour, lots of sightseeing at the palace and the Versailles town with LUNCH – from Paris and back
- AFTERNOON TOUR OF VERSAILLES – Day tour starts in the afternoon for half day with round trio from Paris. Perfect if you are arriving into Paris late morning or just wish to fit Versailles in to your Paris itinerary. Flexible
- PRIVATE TOUR FOR FAMILIES AND GROUP – Versailles involves a considerable amount of walking and the palace can be crowded. Don’t get lost. Take a private tour and ensure your trip is smooth and stress free.
- FOUNTAIN SHOW – SATURDAY ONLY – Evening show (starts around 07:45 pm), it is a stroll and walk through the garden and fountains and a mesmerizing light show (2 hour).
- SEGWAY TOUR OF VERSAILLES – An easy and environment friendly way to explore Versailles’s best sight seeing spots (from outside only, entry tickets extra) and learn about the history.
What happens if you take a tour?
We took a day tour and here is what you can expect. You will have to arrive at a meeting point in Paris (or choose hotel pick up) and then either a bus or a mini-van picks you up to Versailles. Our bus was filled, no empty seats. But it is a short trip, so you will be fine seated in your bus seats. Try to avoid carrying large backpacks or carry-ons. Only carry the essentials like water, camera, etc. If you have to carry backpacks, remember not to keep valuables inside the backpack as you will be asked to keep the large bag in the bus. The bus will be locked while you explore.
When you arrive at the palace, you will be introduced to your guide. The guide takes 5-15 minutes to get tickets for everybody, hands our headphones to that you can hear the guide talk. And then you are let in, into the palace, while the others wait. Tour lasts 1.50 to 2 hours or so. During this time you will learn about the palace’s history and explore all the rooms that are open to visitors, take pictures (yes photography is allowed). After the tour, you are given free time to explore the palace complex or visit the Versailles gardens (separate entry fee). After the sightseeing at the Versailles Palace, you will be taken to other tourist spots in town, provided you choose a tour that includes such attractions.
And then the same bus brings you back to Paris. In short, plan for 2-3 hours to explore the château and 1 hour for the gardens.
The Domaine de Marie-Antoinette is located in Versailles as well and in a full day tour this will be included and you will spend about 2 hours here. So roughly 4.50 to 9 hour day trip from Paris to Versailles.
What happens when you don’t take a tour?
THIS > you have to WAIT in line!
You will be arriving in Versailles via car or train. Once you are at the palace grounds (if you have purchased tickets online), you wait and stand in queue, may be for HOURS. The security men at the gate aren’t helpful and won’t let you in or give you an estimate r an ETA. A guide will help. Take a tour to save some time.
Versailles Guided Tour Tips
In our opinion, book a guided tour and book it ahead of time to ensure you get a tour of your choice and duration. You can select the tour of your choice and in your preferred language and time/day of your visit. Booking a guide tour also allows you to bypass the long line (as you can see above) to palace castle. Purchasing a guided tour also enables you to see parts of Versailles not accessible to the general public. Also with a guide have all of your questions answered about the French monarchs, their luxuries and other fun facts. Many areas of the palace or rooms are unavailable to public without a guide – so here is another plus. And after a guided tour, you are still free to enjoy the castle and gardens in your free time. So what are you waiting for, book a tour below
Entry fees to the Versailles Palace
Free entry to the Versailles Palace with the Paris Pass. Paris Pass is a great way to save money if you are visiting a lot of other sightseeing attractions in Paris including the Palace of Versailles. Get your Paris Pass here.
If you are doing a guided tour of Versailles and not visiting other sightseeing areas in Paris, then Paris Pass may not be worth it for you and you can skip.
Entry Fees (included with guided tours/Paris Pass)
- Adult fee €15 for adult
- 18-25 years old (with student card proof) FREE
- 0-18 years old FREE
Musical Fountains and Gardens shows extra – From week-end from 1st April to 31st October – €25. Rest of the year – €18
In low season (from November to late March), admission to the gardens is free for all visitors every day.
The park: Admission to the Park of Versailles is free for pedestrians and bikes, there is a fee for vehicles: €3 for motorbikes, €6 for cars and €30 for buses (12 or more seats).
Palace of Versailles Hours
The Palace is open every day except on Mondays. The Park and Gardens are open every day.
Palace of Versailles hours: from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Trianon estate hours is open from 12:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Versailles gardens have extended hours from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Palace of Versailles Interesting Facts
Here are some of the FUN and INTERESTING FACTS about the Palace of Versailles
Versailles Palace has whopping 700 rooms, which can accommodate up to 20,000 people.
There are more than 2,000 windows, 1,250 chimneys, and 67 staircases.
The Palace of Versailles required the work of approximately 3000 people. And in today’s estimation, it will cost over 2 billion USD for anyone to build it.
The palace housed many members of the French royalty and nobility, as well as all official government offices > there’s your work from HOME! I could stay in a castle and (pretend) to WORK!
Over 200 servants served the king at the Palace of Versailles.
The Royal Opera at Versailles can accommodate up to 1200 spectators, and hosts a wealth of diverse performances including ballet, orchestral pieces and classic theatrical opera.
The Royal Chapel located in the Palace of Versailles, was constructed in 1689. It became the inspiration for many other European churches, due to its colorful marble flooring, large sculptures and illustrious paintings and frescoes. In French monarchy the king was believed to be the chosen one – by God to rule over its people.
The Hall of Mirrors (as pictured above) – This concept of Hall of Mirrors started at the Palace of Versailles where the halls were dimly lit to protect the ornate walls and ceilings. The mirrors in the palace’s halls would reflect a few candle lights and thus illuminate the whole palace. Mirrors were expensive in those days! This hall is also called La Grand Galerie in French.
There 357 mirrors at the Hall of Mirrors, stretch from floor to ceiling.
The Gardens of the Palace of Versailles are spread over 30,000+ acres and also has about 400 sculptures and 1400 fountains.
Two smaller palaces are located at the Versailles palace grounds including the Petit Trianon – which was Marie Antoinette’s solace from the palace life.
The French look at the palace of Versailles as everything wrong with the monarchy – lavish lifestyle, starvation, opulence and resistance.
I will remember Versailles as an important player of our modern history. Yes, it was luxury, but it also sealed the first world war and led to the formation of League of Nations – 1919 (later the United Nations)
Exploring the Palace of Versailles from Paris in a day trip
We started from Paris early morning at 08:0 am. Our pick up location was Trocadero Gardens (just a short – 10 minute drive away from our hotel). The bus was completely full when we boarded.
As the distance from Paris to Versailles is not long, the ride was okay. If you want more room and privacy for yourself, opt for a private tour.
When we arrived at the palace grounds, we proceeded towards the castle entrance aka the main gate. HUGE line-ups and we thought we cant be waiting here forever. And then our host and guide came along and split the visitor to tow small groups and provided us with headphones and radio/audio device. We were able to get in in 10 minutes.
We navigated through different rooms and our guide led the group and shared many interesting facts and stories. Remember: It does get crowded inside with other tour groups and solo travelers or people just hanging out and taking selfies. So it could be overwhelming to some visitors. Even though it was crowded we did get time for pictures and admire the beautiful interiors and furniture.
Once we are out of the palace or castle, we went outside to explore the beautiful gardens and fountains. Additional entry fee applies for the gardens. There are washrooms located by the gardens.
After a stroll outside, we went back in to castle for some light snacks and also checked out their souvenir store. The food at the cafe was okay, but a tad pricey.
Here are some other things worth seeing in Versailles, after the famous palace itself.
- Versailles Cathedral – Currently the seat of the Bishop of Versailles, the cathedral is an example of pre-eminent Roman Catholic church. Louis XV laid out the first stone of this simple parish church at the beginning of the 18th century.
- Notre-Dame de Versailles – The Church of Notre-Dame de Versailles is located very close to the central market and the Gardens of Versailles. It was built as a place of worship in 1686 to serve the needs of the growing town. Although very small in size the church has beautiful neo-classical architecture throughout its floor and ceiling designs.
- Grand Trianon – The Grand Trianon is a hamlet on the outskirts of Versailles. It was once upon a time used as a place of refuge for the monarch and was built by Louis XVI. Its has its own private park and thick enclosure of forest. Today, the palace is used as a French Republic presidential guest house for official dignitaries.
- Petit Trianon – Petit Trianon was used as a solitary refuge for Marie Antoinette, who used the site as a relaxation space and away courtly responsibilities. It is housed within the Grand Trianon.
- Versailles Markets – If you like organic food, this is the place for you. The Versailles Markets are stunning in their vintage quarters and is worth taking a stroll here. Our tour guide mentioned that oranges and other citrus fruits were so hard to get in Versailles that the king ordered to grow orchards to fulfill the needs of the royal family.
So, TONS of things to see in Versailles, just a few miles away from the bustling city of love – Paris. We highly recommend taking a tour to Versailles so that you can check off this beauty from your bucket list.
Additional Reading for France
- Best private tours to take in Paris
- Best day tours from Paris
- Best Photo spots in Paris
- Where to stay in Paris
Last Updated on : June 01 2019
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.