Transportation Strikes in France 2023
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Paris to Versailles Day Trip
Most people planning a trip to Paris manage to squeeze a day in their itinerary for visiting Versailles. And for a reason!
Versailles is more than a French château; it is a domain that extends over 800 hectares! Here, nature and culture converge, and the sun shines even when it rains.
The Château de Versailles is a jewel of French Baroque architecture, and the grounds are stunning. The beauty of this site and its proximity to the French capital (the distance from Paris to Versailles is just 21km) make a trip to Versailles easy to organize and one of the top places on everyone’s Paris Bucket List.
The downside of Versailles’ fame and beauty are the crowds and the long lines to visit the Palace. Indeed, with nearly 10 million visitors every year, the Château de Versailles is one of the world’s most visited historic sites! Also, there are so many things to see and do that a Versailles day trip from Paris can be a terrible experience if you arrive there without any plan.
How to visit Versailles in one day? This Versailles guide gives information and our best tips for planning the perfect day trip to Versailles from Paris. After reading this quick guide, you will see that it is very easy to visit Versailles!
Versailles is one of the most popular day trips from Paris. Check out the list of best day trips from Paris.
Table of Contents:
- Best Time to Visit Versailles
- Ways to Travel from Paris to Versailles
- Book your Skip-the-line Tickets to Versailles in Advance
- Why a Versailles Day Tour from Paris is a Good Idea
- Things to Do in Versailles
- Best Versailles Shows
- Extend your Versailles Experience
- Versailles Practical Info
1. Best Time to Visit Versailles
The best time to visit Versailles is in spring or autumn because the site is less crowded than in summer. The garden shows usually take place between April and October, and they are lovely also in the shoulder seasons. During this time, the French-style gardens that surround the Palace are not free to visit, but there is Baroque music, and the fountains are running, so it is well worth the extra fee.
Winter is ideal for visiting the palace itself, but you will miss the beauty of the gardens, which is a shame. The French-style gardens are free to visit in winter, but many grooves are closed to the public. A day of snow can be nice, but it is rare!
Best Day to Visit Versailles
With your Versailles skip the line tickets, you will avoid the longest lines. Also, you may want to avoid the biggest crowds when you visit the Palace of Versailles inside.
Versailles is particularly crowded on Tuesdays and during the weekends. If your schedule is flexible, prioritize Wednesdays and Thursdays when there are fewer crowds. In our opinion, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to visit Versailles.
The Palace of Versailles is one of the top sights to visit near Paris. We recommend a day trip to Versailles from Paris in the following Paris itineraries:
2. Ways to Travel from Paris to Versailles
A Versailles trip from Paris is easy to organize. Read our article about all the ways to get to Versailles from Paris, public and private.
3. Book your Skip-the-line Tickets to Versailles in Advance
If you decide to visit Versailles without a guided tour, buy your tickets well in advance. With the skip-the-line tickets, you will choose a date and a time slot, so you are sure to enter the Palace within 30 minutes of your time slot.
Versailles proposes different kinds of tickets, so it is essential to understand what you can visit with each ticket.
Compare the best Versailles Tickets
SKIP THE LINE
TRIANONS (+ Queen’s Hamlet)
If option selected
If option selected
DID YOU KNOW? The Paris Museum Pass for 2, 4, or 6 days also includes access to Château de Versailles and the Trianons!
4. Why a Versailles Day Tour from Paris is a Good Idea
Versailles guided tours are very popular, especially among people visiting Versailles for the first time. Here’s why you should consider a guided tour for visiting Versailles:
» Your time is limited, and Versailles Estate is huge! Tour guides know how to get the most out of your time on a Versailles day trip from Paris by showing the main sights at perfect timings to avoid crowds.
» Guided tours with a knowledgeable guide are more interesting and interactive experiences. You can always ask your guide as many questions as you want, and they always seem to have many stories to tell.
» A guided Versailles day tour from Paris includes skip-the-line tickets (a must!), and some of these tours also include the pickup and drop off at your hotel. After visiting Versailles for hours, how cool is it to go back straight to your hotel on a comfortable van or coach?
» Some Versailles guided tours allow people to visit otherwise closed rooms. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy these unique parts of Versailles Palace with a small group and far from the crowds.
Best Versailles Guided Tours in English (with skip-the-line tickets)
GUIDED TOUR DURATION
TRIANON (+ Queen’s Hamlet)
5. Things to Do on a Versailles Day Trip from Paris
The Versailles Estate is vast, and there are many interesting things to visit. Here’s the list.
TIP: check out our suggested Versailles itinerary, self-guided.
The Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is the beating heart of the Versailles Estate. One of the most beautiful castles in France, the Palace of Versailles has two floors – garden floor and first floor –with a total surface of 63,000 m2 divided into 2,300 rooms and halls.
The most famous room in the Palace is the Hall of Mirrors, used for ceremonies and exceptional occasions such as the masked ball for Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI‘s wedding. But of course, there’s much more!
Don’t miss one of the best castles near Paris. The articles below are in-depth articles about the Palace of Versailles and our best skip-the-line tips for visiting it.
The Gardens of Versailles
Designed by André Le Notre, the same landscaper designer who created the gardens of Château de Chantilly, the magnificent French-style Gardens of Versailles is one of the jewels of the Versailles Estate.
The Gardens of Versailles surround the Palace on three sides, and they are decorated with many fountains, grooves, statues, colonnades, and even an obelisk. From April to October, they host beautiful musical and water shows and there’s an entrance fee to access. The access is free from November to March, but some grooves are closed.
If you want to know more about these stunning gardens, the articles below are in-depth articles about the Gardens of Versailles and the fountains that decorate these gardens.
The Estate of Trianon
The Estate of Trianon is home to the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon pavilions, the Queen’s Hamlet, and various ornamental gardens.
The Kings built these intimate spaces close to the Palace of Versailles to gain some brief respite from courtly etiquette and enjoy nature. The Queen’s Hamlet was constructed for Queen Marie-Antoinette and her children to play the peasants, and it had a farm, a mill, and many animals.
The Park of Versailles is the green extension surrounding the Grand Canal, and it is always free to visit. This part is very popular amongst locals and Parisians for family picnics, jogging, or bike rides.
The Grand Canal is André Le Nôtre’s most original design. With its huge dimensions (1,700 m east-west and 1000 m north-south) and 60 m in width, the Grand Canal was used for ship battles by the King and his court.
If you are fit, walk down to the Royal Star, a viewpoint at the edge of the western branch with amazing views.
The famous Lime Tree Walk is located in this area, and it links the Palace to the ‘Mortemets,’ the waterfowl reserve within King Louis XIV’s hunting estate.
Le Potager du Roi
Le Potager du Roi (the King’s vegetable garden) was built between 1678 and 1683 by Jean-Baptiste La Quintinie at King Louis XIV’s request.
Well known for his experience with fruit gardens and vegetable gardens, La Quintinie was responsible for providing fruits and vegetables at the King’s table.
The prodigies accomplished by La Quintinie attracted the interest and admiration of his master, the King, who liked to come for a walk in the vegetable garden. A gardening enthusiast, King Louis XIV liked to show his vegetable garden to his illustrious guests, and he even learned how to prune fruit trees with his gardener.
Le Potager du Roi is a listed historical monument and a ‘remarkable garden,’ and its gardeners perpetuate the art of pruning, and they grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
Le Potager du Roi is an independent visit, not included in any ticket shown above. The entrance is located at 10, rue du Maréchal-Joffre. Tickets cost 4,5€ – 3€ (high season-low season) during the week and 7€ during the weekend.
The Royal Stables (Gallery of Coaches)
The Royal Stables consists of two buildings – the Great Stables and the Small Stables –, identical in size but with a different use.
The Great Stables is where the hunting horses were kept (hundreds of horses according to their race and coat), while the Small Stables were used to keep the carriages, sleds, and coaches.
Today, the Great Stables’ ground floor hosts an impressive display of coaches, mainly grand ceremonial Berlin Coaches from Napoleon I’s coronation and second marriage.
The Royal Stables are located at 1 Avenue Rockefeller, just in front of the Palace, and they are open on Saturday and Sunday, from 12.30 pm to 5.30 pm November to March, and from 12.30 pm to 6.30 pm April to October.
6. Best Versailles Shows 
If you plan a day trip from Paris to Versailles during the high season (from April to October), you will have the possibility to enjoy beautiful shows around the gardens: the Musical Fountains Show, the Musical Gardens Show, and the Versailles Fountains Night Show.
Versailles Musical Fountains Show
The Musical Fountains Show is our favorite Versailles Garden show. Explore the gardens and grooves while listening to Baroque music, and watch the fountains’ water displays with special effects – Click here to buy your tickets to Versailles Estate + Musical Fountains Show
- Every Saturday and Sunday from 1 April to 29 October 2023.
- Every Tuesday from 2 May to 27 June 2023.
- Friday 7 April, Monday 10 April, Monday 8 May, Ascension Thursday 18 May, Monday 29 May, Friday 14 July, and Tuesday 15 August.
Versailles Musical Gardens Show
Wander through the largest open-air museum, decorated with amazing sculptures, while listening to the beautiful sounds of Baroque music. This show does not include the fountains’ water display – Click here to buy your tickets to Versailles Estate + Musical Gardens Show
- Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 4 April to 28 April 2023 (except Friday 7 April, day of the Musical Fountains Shows).
- Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 3 May to 30 June 2023 (except Thursday 18 May, day of the Musical Fountains Shows).
- Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from Friday 4 July to Tuesday 31 October 2023 (except Friday 14 July and Tuesday 15 August, days of the Musical Fountains Shows).
Versailles Fountains Night Show
The Versailles Gardens are transformed into a striking visual and musical experience during the Fountains Night Show. Stroll the gardens beautifully illuminated, with the fountains and grooves displaying water at the sound of music. The show ends with a ‘grande finale,’ fireworks display in front of the Grand Canal – Click here to buy the tickets for the Fountains Night Show
- Every Saturday evening from 11 June to 17 September 2022 and on Thursday 14 July, from 8.30 pm to 11.05 pm.
- Two additional nights on Monday 15 August (Fire Night Show) and Saturday 24 September (Electro Night Fountains Show).
7. Extend your Versailles Experience
The Versailles Estate is huge, so you’ll probably need more than a day to explore everything at a leisurely pace. You will also find yourself staying late if you watch the Saturday night Fountain Show. Traveling back to your hotel in Paris after the show will be difficult because everybody leaves the show at the same time, the train station is always crowded, and taxis back to Paris are hard to find.
Fortunately, there are several comfortable and luxurious hotels near the Palace that will make your visit more convenient and that extra bit special. Here are the best-rated hotels near Versailles Palace, with something for every traveler.
8. Additional Information for Visiting Versailles
This is what you need to know for your Paris to Versailles day trip.
» The Versailles Estate is FREE for everyone on the first Sunday of the month, from November to March. Long lines are guaranteed, though.
» The Park and the Gallery of Coaches are always FREE to visit. If you only want to visit one of these places, there is no ticket to buy.
» The Gardens (the French-style Gardens around the Palace) are FREE to visit from November to March.
Versailles Opening Hours – Low Season (November to March)
- During the low season, Versailles Palace opens from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. The last admission is at 5:00 pm.
- Trianon and Marie-Antoinette’s domain opens from 12:00 pm to 5:30 pm. The last admission is at 5:00 pm.
- The Park and Gardens are open from 8:00 am to 6 pm. The last admission is at 5:30 pm.
- The waiting time is definitely shorter during the low season, so your Versailles itinerary can be more flexible.
Versailles Opening Hours – High Season (April to October)
- During the high season, Versailles Palace opens from 9 am to 6.30 pm. The last admission is at 6:00 pm.
- Trianon and Marie-Antoinette’s domain opens from 12 pm to 6:30 pm. The last admission is at 6:00 pm.
- The Park and Gardens are open from 8:00 am to 8.30 pm. The last admission is at 7:00 pm.
- During the high season, the average waiting time to enter Versailles is one hour without any Versailles skip-the-line tickets.
- There’s one line to access the Palace and one different line to buy the tickets. If you want to buy your Versailles tickets on-site, you need to add one extra hour to this time.
Versailles Main Access Points
The Versailles Estate is vast, with many entrance gates, but some gates are permanently closed for security reasons. Find below the main gates or points of access to the Versailles Estate, which are always open.
GOOD TO KNOW: Remember that due to the anti-terrorist security plan, visitors with large baggage items (exceeding 55x35x20 cm) are not admitted on the domain, and every bag or vehicle is controlled upon access.
» The main entrance to the Place of Versailles is through the MAIN COURTYARD.
- ACCESS A is for individual visitors with their tickets already bought and printed (or on the mobile phone)
- ACCESS B, on the opposite side of the courtyard, is for groups with reservations
- If you do not have a ticket upon arrival and are not eligible for free admission, go to the ticket office first, situated on the left in the Main Courtyard in the South Ministers’ Wing, and then to ACCESS A to validate it.
» You can access the Estate of Trianon by the Gardens and Park (entrances located at Allée des 2 Trianons) or from the city via SAINT-ANTHONY GATE (located on the D186 arriving from le Chesnay)
» The DRAGON GATE gives access to the Gardens from rue de la Parroisse.
» The QUEENS GATE, on Boulevard de la Reine, provides pedestrian access and car access to the Park.
» The SAILORS GATE, on the route de Saint-Cyr (D10), provides access to the Park and Sailors Walk.
» Access to the Potager du Roi is at 10, rue du Maréchal-Joffre.
» Access to the Royal Stables is on Avenue de Rockefeller, in front of the Palace.
So there you have it, the Versailles guide with everything you need to know for a wonderful Paris to Versailles day trip.
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