Visiting one of the largest palaces in the world sounds pretty intimating and probably a tad exhausting. If your visit is well planned, however, with plenty of breaks for lunch and coffees, half a day (or even a day) spent wandering the Château and its exquisite gardens is well worth the trip from Paris. The important thing to remember about Versailles is that you can visit the Palace in the space of a few hours but you will need to extend that timeframe if you want to visit the extensive Gardens, and the other domains in the grounds of Versailles such as Marie Antoinette’s domain or the Petit and Grand Trianon. It’s worth your while taking a whole day to really explore the gardens and the other palaces that are found therein.
You can download a map of the Chateau
During high season, from 1st April to 31st October, the Palace is open every day except Monday from 9am to 6.30pm. Last admission to the Palace is 6pm. The Palace is closed Monday. The Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette’s Domain are open every day except Monday from 12pm to 6:30pm. Last admission is 6 pm. The Gardens are open every day from 8am to 8:30pm.
During low season, from 1st November – 31st March the Palace is open every day except Monday from 9am to 5.30pm. Last admission to the Palace is 4.45pm
Versailles Palace and Gardens is located 22 kilometres from Paris. There are several options to get there:
The RER is the suburban train that connects central Paris to its hinterland. RER line C serves the stations Saint-Michel, Musée D’Orsay, and Invalides on the Left Bank.
To get to Versailles, buy a ticket for Versailles Rive Gauche. Buy a return if you intend to come back to Paris. The trip to Versailles should take about 30 minutes.
Alternatively it is possible to get a train from either Montparnasse or Saint-Lazare. Train schedules can be found on the website Transilien.
Versailles Express proposes trips from the Eiffel Tower direct to Versailles. The service runs from Tuesday to Sunday with two departures per day at 8am (Return 12pm) and 2pm (Return 6pm). Departures are at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
Tickets can be booked online.
A13 Motorway and take the exit for Versailles Centre.
A car park is available at the Place D’Armes, Allée Bailly, Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon.
Entrance points are easy to find at Versailles. If you haven’t already reserved a ticket on the website, then you will need to buy one from the ticket office. If you have bought a ticket online make sure you print it before you arrive. Head straight to Entrance A, which is the principal entrance and is reserved for individual ticket holders. It’s a modern add-on, built from wood, which leads visitors to the first part of the visit. It is visible as soon as you enter the principal courtyard.
Skip-the-line at Versailles
Skip-the-line tickets are available only if you are taking a tour and you book this in advance. It is a must-have to visit Versailles in the best conditions. With Versailles Palace being one of the most visited sights in France, it can have queues of over 2 hours without these tickets.
Access to the Trianon palaces and the Estate of Marie Antoinette
You may wish to bypass the main palace and head directly to Marie Antoinette’s personal country village where she dressed like a maid and milked cows, or indeed you may want to discover the pared-down elegance of the Petit Trianon and Trianon Palaces. These are all accessible by passing through the palace at the Grille d’Honneur gate, or via the Queen’s gate or Saint-Antoine gate.
For an illustrated map with entrance points for the Trianon Palaces and Marie Antoinette’s Domain follow the link .
Versailles Palace and Gardens are beautiful all year round, but each season has its advantages. Although the Palace is more crowded during the summer months and on weekends, you will be able to enjoy the wonderful Grandes Eaux Fountain Show in the Gardens. The Grands Eaux takes place on Tuesday, Saturday & Sunday from 11am – 12pm & 3.30pm – 5pm March through to end of October. Aside from the Christmas period, Versailles tends to be quieter during the winter months (from November to March). Throughout the year, arriving in the morning or mid-afternoon will mean you should be able to avoid the busiest period, which is between 11am-3pm.
Restaurants and eateries at the palace are varied and if you are feeling lazy, or need a break, the many cafés along the route will serve as great rest stops. If you are on a budget, however, it might be more affordable and enjoyable to buy food at the market, which takes place in the centre of the town. Please consult the website for the market’s schedule. Weather-permitting, a picnic in the gardens is an ideal opportunity to take in the views. Why not rent a boat and float on the Grand Canal for the rest of the day while you sip on a cold drink and enjoy the sunshine? Alternatively, bikes are available to hire.
Restaurants in the Palace
At the end of the tour of the Grand Apartments a staircase will lead you to two restaurants, which serve light lunches, coffee, tea and snacks.
The first of these is the tea salon Angelina. Angelina is particularly famous for its brand of thick unctuous drinking chocolate which is a perfect antidote to long stroll around the king’s and queen’s apartments.
Another café known as the Grand Café d’Orléans can be found below Angelina.
The chic Parisian bakery Ladurée have a Versailles outpost, from which they sell their famous macaroons, assorted artisanal jams etc. Their stand is found at the very end of the tour of the Palace.
Restaurants in the Gardens of Versailles
Brasserie de la Girandole : This chic little restaurant in the heart of the gardens is the perfect respite for a good meal and a well-deserved glass of wine.
La Parmentier de Versailles : Jacket potatoes are served at this stand found in the heart of the gardens, and like most things in Versailles history has a lot to with the choice of this unremarkable vegetable. It was made fashionable by one of Louis XVI courtiers, Parmentier . The location of the Parmentier, which changes place in the garden between high and low season can be found on its website.
The Grand Canal: On the northern side of the Grand Canal are restaurants La Flottille and La Petite Venise.
The Gardens Shop which is located just beside La Petite Venise, has a collection of souvenirs, books, stationary, leather crafts, candles, etc. all related to and inspired by the gardens. More gift-shops and another Angelina Café can be found in Marie-Antoinette’s domain.
Book and Giftshops can be found at the beginning of the tour at the entrance to the palace and on the upper level stands selling books and guides can be found in the Upper Stone Gallery and the upper Vestibule of the Chapel. At the end of the tour there are two shops selling stationary, posters, jewellery, books and DVD’s with beautifully crafted souvenirs, all inspired by the palace and its 350 years of history.
Romain was AMAZING!!! I will 100% be recommending him to our friends! Our Louvre tour was one of my kids favorite things we did and they said it was because of Romain.
Highly recommend. Private tour is a great way to get more personalized insights on Paris history. Guide was very knowledgeable. Will definitely use again.
We have done several tours with Localers and they are definitely worth the money! We are pretty independent travelers, but there is no substitute for local knowledge. Localers has the best guides!
I did 2 tours with Localers and would enthusiastically do more when I return to Paris. The main reason is the quality of the tours themselves, the fact they are authentic experiences, and you learn so much!
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