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Visit Versailles Palace
This article is about the Palace of Versailles inside. It offers a peek inside the Versailles Palace – things to know, the musts – as well as some Versailles skip-the-line tips.
If you are looking for information on how to visit Versailles from Paris, the articles below are in-depth guides to plan your Versailles trip.
The Palace of Versailles is one of the most beautiful castles in France and a jewel of the French Baroque architecture. Château de Versailles is one of the must-see castles near Paris, located at only 21 km of the French capital.
Château de Versailles’ beauty and fame make it one of the most popular day trips from Paris, and a bit of planning is necessary before visiting Versailles.
If this is your first time in Versailles, visit Versailles Palace inside. Versailles interiors are a feast for the eyes plus some of the most important moments in French history happened in this Palace.
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The Palace of Versailles in a Nutshell
Versailles is one of the most popular day trips from Paris. Check out the list of best day trips from Paris.
Château de Versailles, or Palace of Versailles, was home to three French Kings and their courts.
- King Louis XIV and his wife Queen Maria Theresa of Spain
- King Louis XV (great-grandson of King Louis XIV) and his wife Queen Marie Leszczyńska
- King Louis XVI (grandson of King Louis XV) and his wife Queen Marie-Antoinette
King Louis XIV moved to Versailles in 1682. The young King was wary of Paris, a city that he saw revolt in 1648. The city was seen as a dangerous concentration of epidemics, fires, floods, congestion, and disorders of all kinds.
The Sun King and his successors turned Versailles, a modest hunting lodge, into a seat of power. With the Gardens and the Palaces of Trianon, the Versailles Estate spreads over 800 hectares!
The Palace of Versailles is surrounded on three sides by formal gardens (known as Petit Parc). The Versailles Gardens are beautifully decorated with fountains and sculptures. The Fountains of Versailles are the gardens’ main highlight.
Beyond the formal gardens, there’s a beautiful forest (known as Grand Parc) and the Grand Canal. This area is best explored by bike.
Versailles’s heydays ended abruptly when the Royal Family was forced to leave the Palace in 1789 (see our article about the French Revolution in Paris).
Palace of Versailles Skip the Line Tips
1. BUY PALACE OF VERSAILLES SKIP THE LINE TICKETS
With nearly 10 million visitors every year, Château de Versailles is one of the world’s most visited historic sites, and you definitely want to buy skip the line Versailles tickets.
With a Palace of Versailles skip the line ticket, you book a date and time slot, and you are sure to enter the Palace within your time slot.
You can buy the ticket to visit the Palace of Versailles alone or in combination with tickets to other parts of Versailles. There are also good Versailles guided tours (with or without transportation) at unbeatable prices.
Below we list the different Versailles skip the line options you will need advance tickets for and have added links to our favorite trusty providers for your convenience.
- Versailles Palace and Gardens full access tickets with audio guide
- Versailles Palace access tickets with audio guide
- Marie-Antoinette’s State and the Trianons access tickets with audio guide
2. THE ACCESS TO THE PALACE FOR GUIDED TOURS IS THROUGH A SPECIAL GATE
The only access to the Palace of Versailles is through La Grille d’Honneur. On the sides, there’s Gate A for individual visitors and Gate B for guided groups. Gate B definitely sees shorter lines than Gate A, which is another reason to consider a guided tour to visit Versailles.
The following tours are consistently rated 4-5 stars. Click on the links for more information:
- Versailles Palace & Gardens 3-hour guided tour
- Versailles skip-the-line day tour & transfer from Paris
3. BEST DAY TO VISIT VERSAILLES TO AVOID THE BIGGEST CROWDS
With your Palace of Versailles skip the line tickets, you are going to avoid the longest lines. Also, you may want to avoid the biggest crowds when you visit the Palace of Versailles inside.
With the crowds, the rooms’ staff make visitors circulate faster to avoid bottlenecks, so the visit is less enjoyable. Also, there are more people concentrated around the information panels.
When is the best day to visit Versailles to avoid the biggest crowds inside? The table below shows the frequency by day during the low season and high season.
If you have a flexible schedule, prioritize Wednesdays and Thursdays (except during school holidays), when there are fewer crowds. The most popular time slots are between 10 am to 3 pm.
A Peek Inside the Palace of Versailles
If you bought a Palace of Versailles skip the line ticket you must enter the Palace at the date and time slot (or the following half-hour) marked on the ticket.
Explore the world within the walls of the beautiful Versailles Palace. The Palace of Versailles visit consists of a one-way itinerary that goes through the following areas:
- The King’s State Apartments
- Hall of Mirrors
- The Queen State Apartments
- The Gallery of Battles
Currently, the Royal Chapel inside the Palace is under restoration and cannot be visited. The end of the works is scheduled for spring 2021.
Visitors are requested to use the marks on the floor to keep 1 meter from other visitors. The use of a mask inside Versailles Palace is compulsory for all visitors older than 11 years.
If you visit the Palace of Versailles with children or other people eligible for free admission, you need to book tickets also for them. This is to limit the number of visitors inside Versailles Palace. When you pay, you will see that the price for them is still 0€.
Before visiting Versailles Palace inside there are a few things good to know:
>> The Palace of Versailles, as we can see it today, was mainly constructed in the 17th century with some additions by King Louis XIV’s successors in the 18th century.
>> Its architectural style is Baroque. Baroque architecture is a highly decorative and theatrical style that appeared in Italy in the early 17th century and gradually spread across Europe.
>> Three names to remember related to the Palace of Versailles are Jules Hardouin-Mansart (the main architect of Versailles), Charles Le Brun (interior designer), and André Le Notre (landscape designer).
The Marble Court
After validating the ticket and the security check, visitors usually head straight to the King’s State Apartments. Before, take the time to admire the Marble Court.
This brick and stone facade is what remains of the King Louis XIII facade, that first hunting lodge. King Louis XIV’s architects later embellished this facade.
The King’s State Apartments include the King’s private, business, and reception rooms. These are some of the most famous rooms inside the Palace of Versailles.
When you visit Versailles Palace inside, concentrate all your energy in this part of the Palace for a lighter visit to the other rooms.
Most salons are dedicated to a Greek God or Goddess, who usually appears in the rooms’ decoration under different forms.
Among these salons, the Apollo Salon is the most important. King Louis XIV identified himself with Apollo, the Sun God, and it is here where we find the throne room. The silver furniture and the 2.6 high throne have disappeared, but the decoration gives us an idea of how impressive this Salon was!
Hall of Mirrors
This is the most impressive room inside the Palace of Versailles, a 73-meter gallery with a beautiful vaulted ceiling and impressive chandeliers.
The King used this gallery to go to the Royal Chapel and the Queen’s apartments every day. This gallery was also used for elegant balls and important audiences.
With the Versailles’ reopening after the first lockdown, the Hall of Mirrors can be seen only from the sides. This has the advantage of beautiful pictures with 0 crowds, and we really liked the idea.
GOOD TO KNOW: We have heard that some travelers book their Palace of Versailles skip-the-line tickets for the first time slot of the day, and once they enter the Palace, they go straight to the Hall of Mirrors to have pictures without crowds, and they visit the rest of the Palace later. After the first lockdown, the Palace proposes only a one-way itinerary, so if you go straight to the Hall of Mirrors, you won’t be allowed to go back to visit the first rooms later.
The Bull’s Eye Room
This small anti-chamber takes its name from the bull’s eye windows that you can see integrated into the ceiling frieze.
The Bull’s Eye Room is far from being the most impressive room inside the Palace of Versailles. Still, Americans visiting Paris will be interested to know that this is the room where Benjamin Franklin was waiting to be received by King Louis XVI in 1778 to get the military support of France in the War of Independence. That support later led to the signing of the American Declaration of Independence in Versailles in 1783.
The Queen’s Chamber
This is the main room of the Queen’s Apartments and also the most beautifully decorated. The Queen slept here, and she also held private audiences in this room.
The first two Queens in Versailles died in this room. Currently, this room displays a bust of Queen Marie-Antoinette, who also slept here. On your left, you can see the secret door that Queen Marie-Antoinette used to escape her apartments when the people assaulted Versailles.
GOOD TO KNOW: Learn the story behind ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ Marie-Antoinette’s most famous quote.
The Gallery of Great Battles
The visit inside the Palace of Versailles ends with the Gallery of Great Battles. This huge gallery is like an open book of French history. It was created much later by King Louis Philippe, who decided to make the Palace a French history museum.
The Gallery of Great Battles is decorated with 33 huge paintings celebrating French victories from 496 to 1809. If you want to learn more about French history, stop at the paintings that impress you most and read the short description of the battle.
The busts that decorate the gallery belong to princes, nobles, and important war men who lost their lives in a battle. Do you recognize any of them?