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Visit the Palace of Versailles
This article is about the Palace of Versailles visit with skip the line tickets. It offers a peek inside the Versailles Palace – things to know, the musts – as well as some tips for skipping the lines and avoid the biggest crowds when you visit the Palace of Versailles. If you are looking for a general Versailles guide, click here.
The Palace of Versailles is one of the most beautiful castles in the world 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.
The beauty and fame of this castle makes it one of the most popular day trips from Paris and a bit of planning is necessary before visiting Versailles.
If you are going to visit Versailles for the first time, visit the Palace of Versailles inside. The Château de Versailles is a wonder. The architecture and rich decoration are a feast for the eyes plus some of the most important moments in French history happened in this Palace.
The Palace of Versailles in a Nutshell
Versailles is one of the most popular day trips from Paris. Click here for 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 heydays of Versailles 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
BUY PALACE OF VERSAILLES SKIP THE LINE TICKETS
With nearly 10 million visitors every year, Château de Versailles is one of the most visited historic sites in the world 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.
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. Now, you may want to avoid also the biggest crowds during your Versailles skip the line tour when you visit the Palace of Versailles inside.
With the crowds, the staff in the rooms 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 low season and high season. Please, take this table with a grain of salt: for example, a Saturday can be less crowded if the weather is not good.
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.
Other Tips for Planning your Trip to Versailles from Paris
You can visit Versailles on your own or book a Versailles guided tour with or without transportation. Below, some questions and thoughts that will help you plan your trip to Versailles from Paris:
Versailles half-day tour or Versailles full-day tour? The Versailles Estate is vast, with the Palace of Versailles, the Queen’s Hamlet, and the Trianons plus the beautiful French-style gardens, the Grand Canal, and the forest. We recommend spending a full day in Versailles.
Versailles Self-guided Visit or Versailles guided tour? Sure, guided tours lack flexibility and are a bit more expensive than a visit on your own but these guys really know how to get the most out of your limited time in Versailles. In addition, Versailles guided tours are run by knowledgeable guides, passionate about French history, who know many stories and anecdotes about the people living in Versailles. This makes your Versailles Palace visit much more interesting!
If you decided to spend only half-day in Versailles, then go for this Versailles guided tour with hotel transportation.
Public or private transportation? Versailles is very easy (and cheap) to reach by public transportation. The main advantage of private or shared transportation, however, is the comfort of the door to door service. After walking kilometers and kilometers exploring Versailles you will appreciate the convenience of boing back to Paris by car or van!
What Versailles skip the line ticket? This depends on your time available on-site and on what you want to visit.
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
- Skip the Line Versailles Palace guided tour
- Versailles Palace access tickets with audio guide
- Marie-Antoinette’s State and the Trianons access tickets with audio guide
The French Gardens are free to visit except in the summer, when they host the musical and fountain shows. Only the first ticket above gives access to the Musical Gardens Show or the Musical Fountains Show (if option selected). If you are not interested in visiting the Trianons but you don’t want to miss the gardens, you can buy the second or third ticket + one of the tickets below.
DID YOU KNOW? The Fountains of Versailles were fed by the Seine River, located 10 Km north of Versailles and lower in elevation. How to transport the Seine’s water to Versailles? Click here to learn about the Eighth World Wonder!
The articles below are in-depth guides to help you plan your trip to Versailles from Paris
A Peek Inside the Palace of Versailles
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.
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.
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 the distance of 1 meter with other visitors. The use of a mask inside the Palace is compulsory for all visitors older than 11 years.
If you are visiting the Palace 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 the Palace. When you pay, you will see that the price for them is still 0€.
Before visiting the Palace of Versailles inside there are a few things nice 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 which 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. This facade was later embellished by King Louis XIV’s architects.
The King’s State Apartments are the King’s private rooms and the King’s business and reception rooms and include some of the most famous rooms inside the Palace of Versailles. When you visit the Palace of Versailles inside, concentrate all your energy in this part of the Palace for a lighter visit to the rest of the rooms.
Most of the salons are dedicated to a Greek God or Goddess, who usually appears in the decoration of the rooms 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 every day to go to the Royal Chapel and also to the Queen’s apartments. This gallery was used also for elegant balls and important audiences.
With the reopening of the Palace of Versailles after the 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 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 but 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 which currently shows 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.
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 museum of French history.
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?
Extend your Palace of Versailles Visit
Versailles is much more than the Palace of Versailles inside. Here’s some inspiration to extend your Palace of Versailles visit, have fun!