The Palace of Versailles day trip from Paris
Taking a day trip to Versailles is one of the best things to do in Paris.
Built in 1661 and commissioned by King Louis XIV, this sought-after palace is an absolute delight. It is easy to see why it is widely renowned as one of the grandest buildings in the world.
Over 15 million people visit the UNESCO site every year, with most coming to visit Versailles on a day or half-day trip from Paris.
Is Versailles Palace worth visiting?
The Palace of Versailles is a definite must-visit when you are near the Paris area.
When I ask people about their trip to Paris and the surrounding areas, they always mention the Eiffel Tower or Louvre Museum, but my response is always, ‘Have you been to the Palace of Versailles?’.
In my opinion, no building in the Paris region matches the grandeur and opulent architecture quite like Versailles.
- The Palace of Versailles day trip from Paris
- Is Versailles Palace worth visiting?
- Trip to Versailles from Paris
- Essential visitor information for the Palace of Versailles
- Inside the Château of Versailles
- Ticket to Versailles
- What to see while you’re there – highlights of the Palace
- Versailles: A Perfect Day Trip from Paris – FAQ
- How long do I need to visit the Palace of Versailles?
- What are the best ways to plan a day trip from Paris to Versailles?
- What are the main attractions to visit in Versailles?
- How can I make the most of my visit to the Palace of Versailles?
- What is the best way to get to Versailles from Paris?
- When is the best time to visit Versailles for a day trip from Paris?
- Can you stay at the Palace of Versailles?
- Best Versailles palace and garden tours
Trip to Versailles from Paris
To get to the Palace of Versailles from Paris, you have a few recommended travel options;
Paris to Versailles By Tour
If you fancy a hassle-free, comfortable way of exploring Versailles from Paris, then booking a day trip with a tour agency is your best option.
This will include a hotel drop-off and a designated tour guide to take you through the palace and provide in-depth information about its history.
By metro (Most recommended)
My most recommended travel option would be to get there by metro. Although a hassle-free tour agency trip sounds enticing, it does come with reduced flexibility, which I personally feel you need during this trip.
Tours only operate on someone else’s schedule, and a place as grand as Versailles is best enjoyed on your own time.
Getting there by Metro
The closest station to the Palace of Versailles is ‘Versailles Château–Rive Gauche’. To reach it from Paris, you must get on the RER C line.
Take the closest metro from your hotel to the RER C line and then get on a metro towards the direction of Château Rive Gauche.
It takes only 1 hour from main Paris to reach Versailles by metro.
Once you reach the station, follow this route to the Palace of Versailles, which is 14 minutes away by foot.
Essential visitor information for the Palace of Versailles
To access the palace, visitors must pre-book a timeslot online, as Versailles can get really crowded.
Inside the Château of Versailles
The opening hours for The Palace of Versailles depend on the current season you are travelling there. During the summer, the hours are extended to match visitor demand.
Palace of Versailles opening hours;
November to March – 9:00 a.m. to 17:30 p.m
April to October – 9:00 a.m. to 18:30 p.m
Ticket to Versailles
Adult admission to the palace costs €21. To access the Versailles Palace, Gardens, and Estate of Trianon, you must purchase the ‘Passport ticket’, which costs €24.
However, like most of Paris’s attractions, admission is free for those under 18 and free for EU residents under 26.
A secret little tip: Visit the Palace of Versailles and the Estate of Trianon on a Sunday from November to March for free admission.
What to see while you’re there – highlights of the Palace
The Palace of Versailles is breathtaking. You can just spend hours marvelling at its grand architecture and opulent halls.
When you arrive at the palace, you will be given an audio guide to help guide you through and inform you of each room’s significance to French royal history. But what can you see while you’re there, you might ask?
The Royal Opera
Inside Versailles Palace is its very own Royal Opera House, designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, whom Louis XV put on a mission to build one of the grandest performance stages in Europe.
For its day, it was a marvel of architecture and engineering that stood the test of time, hosting a huge audience of 1500 people back in 1780, which was an impressive feat, to say the least.
Today, it still has its grand interior architecture, which visitors can explore. The opera also still hosts live performances. However, these are usually booked very quickly, and increasingly so because it’s in the palace and there is that rare opportunity to enter it at night.
The Gallery of Great Battles
The Gallery of Great Battles is the largest room in the palace, showcasing the history of France’s military success through intricate paintings.
What fascinated me was its attention to detail, and it really honed down on the valour and bravery of all the soldiers who fought in the battles.
Some of the art shows graphic scenes of soldiers lying on the floor during the midst of battle, wounded and bleeding, which are all depicted in a very real state!
Other Lavish Paintings
The Palace of Versailles is well known for its large array of fine art. There are said to be more than 6000 paintings inside!
One of its most renowned paintings is the coronation of one of France’s most famous ever rulers, Napoleon Bonaparte.
This is a copy of the original one painted by Jacques-Louis David that currently sits in the Louvre but still tells the story.
The King’s State apartments
The King’s State apartments consist of a series of 7 rooms, which Louis XVI developed as a royal representation.
Each room is decorated with lavish ornaments, ornate furniture and exquisite artwork, which, by sight, you can see why it was primarily used to impress the many noble visitors who walked through them.
Some of the notable rooms in the series include The Venus Room, The Mars Room, and the Mercury Room, which was the royal bed chamber.
Although King Louis XIV never really used the bed chamber. It was only used mainly for ceremonial purposes or decoration. I wish I had those problems!
Fun fact: Each of the rooms was named after Roman mythology
The Royal Chapel
The Royal Chapel was Louis XIV’s final jigsaw of this magnificent palace, with his last creation taking over a decade to get right.
This part of the palace stands above anything else, reaching the tallest height of 40m. It is actually the fifth chapel inside Versailles, but with its ornate ceilings, marble floor and grandeur interior, for me, it is without doubt the best of the bunch.
Unfortunately, the chapel has restricted access, with inside access only possible for those on a guided tour. However, you can see most of its interior outside the door and can take as many pictures as you want.
Throughout the Palace of Versailles and its outer grounds, you’ll see well-crafted marble, bronze or lead sculptures dating from the 16th century to the 19th – each one adorning the grand setting of the palace.
While there are grand works, I must admit, there are a few on the slightly stranger side.
This was one of the most peculiar I found located on the front floor of the palace which showcased a monkey riding a goat.
At first glance, I thought, ‘What on earth is this?’ Only later did I find out it represents Aesop’s fable, The War between the Birds and the Beasts.
This statue was originally in the garden’s labyrinth, installed by Louis XIV before Louis XVI later removed the labyrinth from the gardens. I can only imagine Louis XIV first put it there just to confuse people!
Hall of mirrors
The hall of mirrors is the ultimate grand finish to this luxurious palace. This opulent structure features a 73m long gallery across the central part of the palace, with over 357 mirrors, all lined up next to fine examples of French Baroque architecture.
When I visited, it was definitely the prettiest part of the palace, and it was no surprise to hear that it has hosted some of the most important royal celebrations in French history, including the ceremony for the marriage of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.
No matter what season you visit, you’ll never find it without crowds. We could barely get a clear photo, but that was to be expected, as it is perhaps the most Instagrammable part of the palace.
Versailles Palace Gardens
Once you’re finished inside the palace, head out to its huge garden, which spans over 800 hectares.
The gardens surround the palace and are a place of serenity adorned with many fountains, sculptures, colonnades and flowing ponds, all creating a peaceful atmosphere.
It is my favourite part of the palace, with so much intricate detail and thoughtful hard work put in by the architect André Le Nôtre.
When we visited, we brought a packed lunch with us and just sat and enjoyed the scenery.
If you do venture deep into the gardens, prepare to get lost at times! Once you start walking away from the palace, it can prove to be a difficult maze to escape from. It’s so big. I got lost countless times.
My suggestion would be to mentally note down all your traces of turns and steps. Or at least try to!
Versailles Garden Shows
During the months of April to October, the gardens open up for an array of musical fountain shows, during which the water fountains dance to the rhythm of baroque music.
This can prove to be quite the spectacle, which adds to the grand aesthetic of the palace.
Note: You must purchase a ‘passport ticket’ to enter the gardens when the musical fountains shows are running.
The Grand Trianon Palace
To get away from the trials and tribulations of treachery in his marriage, Louis XIV, with the help of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, built this private retreat as a refuge to carry on his relationship with his mistress, Madame de Montespan.
Who are we to judge? Yes, he may have been a bit on the naughty side, but what we got from it was this stunning estate to explore with exceptional architecture.
Even though it doesn’t feel as grand as Versailles to me, its courtyard and Italian-style colonnades with chess-coloured floor tilings are its unique selling points, offering something a little different from the main palace.
It requires the ‘Passport ticket’ to enter.
The Petit Trianon
Funny enough, just like his great grandfather in a sense, Louis XV built an extension in the gardens called the ‘The Petit Trianon’, which was used a lot to continue a love affair with his mistress, Comtesse Du Barry.
However, the actual reason it was built was made for his passion for botanical sciences. Later on, Marie Antoinette was gifted Petit Trianon and used it as a safe space to relax.
The building is built with a Neoclassical style and has a very grand interior and exterior. Its gardens next to it are also very picturesque. I’d definitely recommend visiting!
It requires the ‘Passport ticket’ to enter.
The Queen’s Hamlet
Marie Antoinette was fascinated by rural life, so much so that they built her The Queen’s Hamlet, a small model-like village aligned with rustic cottages, a windmill, a barn, a dairy and much more.
Although she never lived the farmer’s life there, she did use it as a place for walks and small gatherings.
The area is set out as a little meadowland with a lake and beautiful surrounding buildings. To us, it felt too familiar, like a little village somewhere in Cotswold, England. In a good way, that is!
It requires the ‘Passport ticket’ to enter.
Versailles Musical Gardens
The musical gardens at Versailles were designed by André Le Nôtre, the renowned landscape architect, in the 17th century, the meticulously manicured gardens are stunningly beautiful with their carefully arranged pathways, incredible fountains, and riotious flower beds.
The landscape is adorned with strategically placed fountains that pulse to the rythms of the classical Barqoue music, and you can almost see Marie Antoinette dancing in these incredible gardens while the fountains splash and jump.
On days of Fountains Shows and Musical Gardens, there is a charge for access to the Gardens, except for children from 0 to 5 years old. The Passport tickets (€27 – €10 reduced rate* or €30) include the Musical Fountains Shows or the Musical Gardens.
Versailles: A Perfect Day Trip from Paris – FAQ
How long do I need to visit the Palace of Versailles?
I recommend allocating at least a full day to explore the Palace of Versailles, the Palace Gardens, The Estate of Trianon, and Queen’s Hamlet fully.
The palace can be explored in 3 hours at a leisurely pace, but you will need to allocate extra time to explore attractions like the Palace Garden, which you need at least an hour minimum to appreciate fully.
Versailles also has its own charms away from the palace, with many quaint cafes and shops. So, prepare as much time as possible for extra exploring.
Note: This just isn’t something that can be possible when done with a tour.
What are the best ways to plan a day trip from Paris to Versailles?
When planning a day trip from Paris to Versailles, consider booking a guided tour, which includes transportation and skip-the-line access to the Palace of Versailles. Alternatively, you can take a train from Paris to Versailles and explore the attractions on your own. It’s important to arrive early to make the most of your visit.
What are the main attractions to visit in Versailles?
The main attractions in Versailles include the Palace of Versailles, the Gardens of Versailles, the Petit Trianon, and the famous Hall of Mirrors inside the palace. Each of these sites offers a unique glimpse into the history and opulence of the Château de Versailles.
How can I make the most of my visit to the Palace of Versailles?
To make the most of your visit to the Palace of Versailles, consider joining a guided tour that provides in-depth insights into the history and significance of the palace. Additionally, be sure to visit the Musical Fountain Show if it aligns with your visit, and explore not only the palace but also the surrounding gardens.
What is the best way to get to Versailles from Paris?
The best way to get to Versailles from Paris is by taking a train from central Paris to Versailles Rive Gauche station. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes, making it a convenient option for a day trip. From the station, the Palace of Versailles is within walking distance.
When is the best time to visit Versailles for a day trip from Paris?
The best time to visit Versailles for a day trip from Paris is during the early morning on weekdays, preferably outside of peak tourist.
The best time of the year to visit the Palace of Versailles is springtime, from April to June.
Springtime offers the best of both worlds, with fewer crowds than in the summer and warmer weather than Autumn and Winter, to walk around the gardens. Plus, the gardens are in their full-bloom stage during spring, creating a stunning setting to walk around.
Can you stay at the Palace of Versailles?
Yes, you can. The only hotel available in Versailles is ‘Le Grand Contrôle’, which is extremely expensive and requires a kidney just to afford to stay there. It costs, on average, €1800 a night.
Best Versailles palace and garden tours
On your Versailles day trip from Paris you will explore the expansive royal gardens, see yourself in the 357 mirrors of the glittering Hall of Mirrors, and learn about France’s monarchical history on this visit to the Palace of Versailles. Skip the hassle of getting to the palace from Paris with pre-booked transportation and admission.
Imagine yourself a member of the French court as you peruse the ornate state apartments that housed the French monarchy from 1682 to 1789. Get the details on palace gossip and France’s revolutionary history with an included audio guide.
Spend hours exploring the legendary gardens. Admire the pristine fountains, sculptures, and beautifully manicured lawns. Discover Marie Antoinette’s private estate and controversial hamlet by choosing the full-day option.
On your Versailles tour from Paris you can xplore the 2,000-acre grounds of the Palace of Versailles on a full-day bike tour from Paris with a entry timed ticket, and discover the unrivaled opulence of the Sun King’s royal residence. Following your transfer from Paris, start the day at the farmer’s market in the town of Versailles. Select the produce you want for a picnic lunch later in the day, choosing from the mounds of cheeses, fresh fruits, charcuterie, and more.
Then, it’s time to cycle the landscaped grounds of the Palace, cruising effortlessly from one picturesque spot to another on lightweight aluminum bikes. Your guide will take you to the outhouse chateaux of the Petit and Grand Trianon, and show you Marie-Antoinette’s private village and farm. Pedal through sumptuous landscapes, ending with a look inside the Chateau of Versailles itself.
Here, you will be given plenty of time to focus on what interests you most, explore at your leisure. Feel free to take a rapid tour in 30 minutes, or loiter for 3 hours to marvel at the Hall of Mirrors, Marie-Antoinette’s bedroom, the King’s Royal chambers, and more. Learn about the life, legends, and scandals of the decadent Sun King (Louis XIV) and Marie Antoinette, and the resulting French Revolution that brought about the beheading of the French Royalty.
Learn more about the Palace of Versailles on a guided tour of the inside and spend some free time in the gardens. Avoid the hassle of waiting in long lines with skip-the-line tickets.
Meet your guide at Versailles at the foot of the Equestrian Statue of the Sun King, Louis the 14th. Start your tour with a visit to the Royal Apartments.
Walk through the interior of the palace and explore its many rooms. Learn fascinating information about its history from your guide. Afterward, spend some free time in the gardens. Explore this 2,000-acre park filled with lovely fountains, statues, and landscaped gardens.
If visiting Versailles from Tuesday to Friday, see the Musical Gardens show. On Saturdays or Sundays, catch the Musical Fountains Show (from March to October).
The Palace of Versailles is the perfect day trip from Paris. With so many things to do and explore, it’s an absolute bell-ringer for families looking for a day out or a traveller seeking a history fix.
I hope this guide helps you identify what to look out for and also information to take with you on your trip to Versailles. And maybe when you do visit, you’ll find yourself teaching a few tour guides a thing or two.
I’m Sam, born and raised in the UK. Over the last 8 years, I’ve explored various destinations, from the sunny Adriatic coast of Dubrovnik to the beautiful country of Slovenia. Drawing from these experiences, I aim to fuel your passion for travel and enhance your experiences in other cultures and countries by sharing travel tips, itineraries and guides on my blog, showcasingtheglobe
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