With its hall of mirrors, golden gate, and magical gardens, the Palace of Versailles is at the top of most travel itineraries for France. Located less than an hour outside of the city by train, Versailles is the perfect day trip from Paris. Versailles was the royal residence of France from 1682 until the start of the French Revolution in 1789. Not only is it nice to look at with its gold-plated everything, but you will certainly learn a ton from your visit to Versailles. Here’s the complete guide to visiting Versailles from Paris.
Purchasing Tickets for Versailles
As with most attractions around Paris, you’ll save yourself time by purchasing your tickets to Versailles in advance. There are a limited number of tickets sold on-site, but you will be better off buying tickets online here.
There are two ticket options: The Passport Ticket includes the Palace of Versailles, Estate of Trianon, temporary exhibitions, the Gardens and the Park, and the Musical Fountain Shows or the Musical Gardens. The less expensive Palace Ticket excludes the Estate of Trianon and access to the Gardens on days with the Musical Fountain Shows or Musical Gardens.
You can also access Versailles with the Paris Museum Pass. With this option, access to the Gardens is restricted during Musical Fountain Shows or Musical Gardens. With the Paris Museum Pass, you will still have to wait in the long security line so it’s recommended to arrive before the gates open at 9:00am.
How to Get to Versailles from Paris
Getting to Versailles from Paris is simple. You’ll need to take the Paris Metro within Paris to get to RER train line which serves Paris and its suburbs. The RER C train will take you to Versailles-Château-Rive-Gauche station. The ride takes about 40 minutes. Once in Versailles, it’s a quick ten-minute walk to the palace. Google Maps is your friend for figuring out exactly how to do this. This guide is also helpful. It seems complicated, but it was surprisingly easy!
Things to Do at Versailles
Visiting Versailles can become a whole day ordeal depending on what you want to see. We decided to stick to visiting the palace and walking around the grounds so we probably spent about three hours there. However, there are lots of ways to spend your time.
Visit the Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is obviously the main attraction with the highlight being the Hall of Mirrors. Your ticket includes an audio tour. If you prefer, you can book a guided tour when you purchase your ticket. The palace also has temporary exhibits. When we visited in 2019, we saw “The Taste of Marie Leszczyńska”, an exhibit about the Polish princess and Queen consort of France from 1725 until 1768 by marriage to Louis XV.
Visit the Estate of Trianon
The estate of Trianon includes the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon palaces and the Queen’s Hamlet. The estate is closely associated with Marie- Antoinette, the wife of Louis XVI, as she spent much of her time at the Petit Trianon. The estate is open every day starting noon except for Mondays. You will need a Passport ticket or a Trianon and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate ticket to access it. This is also covered with the Paris Museum Pass.
Explore the Gardens of Versailles
The Gardens of Versailles are MASSIVE! You can spend hours wandering around the garden alone. I recommend watching this video on the Palace of Versailles website to see some of the highlights.
Row a Boat on the Grand Canal
Rowing a boat on the Grand Canal can be a relaxing activity and a good way to rest your feet after touring the gardens. You can rent a boat for 13 € per half-hour, 17 € per hour, 4 € for additional 15 minutes. You can read more about this option here.
Bike Around the Grounds
Tired of walking? Versailles offers bike rentals to help you get around faster. It costs €6.50 per half-hour, €8.50 per hour, €2 per additional 15 minutes, €18 per half-day (4 hours), and €20 per day (8 hours). This is a great option for getting to the Trianon palaces quickly.
Tips for Visiting Versailles
Here are some tips for visiting Versailles:
- Buy tickets in advance: Save yourself some time by getting tickets in advance.
- Wear good walking shoes: Not only is the palace huge, but the grounds are even bigger!
- Avoid Mondays: The palace is closed on Mondays so no point visiting then.
- Avoid Tuesdays: Most Paris museums including the Louvre are closed on Tuesdays making Versailles a popular (and crowded) alternative.
- Plan your trip according to what you want to see: I generally recommend arriving early to avoid crowds at the palace. That said, you may only spend two hours visiting the palace. If you plan to visit the Estate of Trianon as well, keep in mind that it doesn’t open until noon so you will have an hour to kill in between.
Visiting Versailles from Paris should be at the top of your itinerary when staying in Paris. It’s one of the most visited attractions in France behind the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower! This complete guide to visiting Versailles from Paris shows you there’s much more to see than the palace itself. Whether you spend half a day or a full day at Versailles, you’ll be sure to see a lot!