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Plan the Perfect Day Trip to Versailles from Paris [2021] – A Local’s Guide


2021 France Travel Update


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03/03/21

Paris to Versailles Day Trip

Most people planning a trip to Paris manage to squeeze a day for visiting Versailles in their itinerary. And for a reason! 🙂

The Palace of Versailles is one of the world’s most famous palaces and a jewel of French Baroque architecture. Its beauty and proximity to the French capital (the distance from Paris to Versailles is just 21km) make Versailles an easy day trip from Paris 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!

We don’t want to scare people or prevent them from visiting Versailles, quite the opposite! But a Versailles day trip from Paris can be a terrible experience if you pop out there without any plan.

This Versailles guide gives information and our best Versailles 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

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Top Reasons for Visiting Versailles

CHĂ‚TEAU DE VERSAILLES IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST MAGNIFICENT PALACES

The Palace of Versailles is one of the best castles near Paris, built in the 17th century as a hunting lodge for King Louis XIII. His son King Louis XIV moved to Versailles with his family and the royal court, and he undertook major works on it.

King Louis XIV and his successors turned that modest lodge into a seat of power. With the Gardens and the Palaces of Trianon, the Versailles Estate spreads over 800 hectares.

VERSAILLES GARDENS ARE A GREAT TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT

The Gardens of Versailles were considered as important as the Palace; that’s why King Louis XIV entrusted AndrĂ© Le Notre, a reputed landscape designer, with the gardens’ design.

Versailles Gardens span across 800 hectares and comprise 200,000 trees, 50 fountains, and a 5.57 km canal. The construction of the Gardens involved full regiments of workers for 40 years!

Bringing water to Versailles was one of the most difficult challenges of this project. The closest source of water was the Seine River, located 10 Km north and 103-180m lower than Versailles. How did the architects of Versailles carry water from the Seine River to Versailles? Read the incredible story of La Machine de Marly, the eighth world wonder.

CHĂ‚TEAU DE VERSAILLES IS AN IMPORTANT HISTORIC SITE

Versailles was more than a palace; it was the symbol of the power of the absolute monarchy of France. It was also a kind of ‘royal city,’ with many government offices located inside the Estate. The Sun King also required that nobles of a certain rank spent some time at the Palace every year to prevent them from developing their own regional power.

Centuries later, the end of the First World War was officially marked in Versailles – in the Hall of Mirrors – with the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.

In 1982 Versailles hosted the 8th G7 meeting, with the heads of state of the 7 most powerful countries.

Today Versailles is a museum and a National Palace at the disposal of the Presidency of the Republic. It is used to host foreign heads of state and other important events.

VERSAILLES IS VERY CLOSE TO PARIS!

Versailles is only 21 km away from Paris, so a Paris to Versailles day trip by public transportation or guided tour is straightforward.

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:

How to Travel to Versailles from Paris

A Versailles trip from Paris is very easy to organize. Read our article with all the ways to get to Versailles from Paris, public and private.

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.

The Palace of Versailles

Versailles Palace France

The Palace of Versailles is the beating heart of the Versailles Estate. One of the best 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!

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

Versailles French Gardens

Designed by André Le Notre, the same landscaper designer who designed the gardens of Château de Chantilly, the magnificent French-style Gardens of Versailles are one of the jewels of the Versailles Estate.

The Gardens are free to visit, except during special events such as the Musical Gardens Show, the Musical Fountains Show, or the Fountains Night Show. The Versailles Gardens are decorated with many fountains, grooves, statues, colonnades, and even an obelisk.

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 main Palace to gain some brief respite from courtly etiquette and enjoy nature. The Queen’s Hamlet was built for Queen Marie-Antoinette and her children to play the peasants, and it had a farm, a mill, and many animals.

Queen's Hamlet - Versailles

The Park

Versailles - Lime Tree Walk

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 AndrĂ© Le NĂ´tre’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 ensemble 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 historic monument and a ‘remarkable garden,’ and its gardeners perpetuate the art of pruning and cultivate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in a French garden.

Le Potager du Roi is an independent visit, not included in any ticket shown below. The entrance is located at 10, rue du MarĂ©chal-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.

The Royal Stables are located at 1 Avenue Rockefeller, just in front of the Palace, and they are always free to visit.

Best Versailles Shows [2021]

Versailles Fountains

If you visit Versailles during the high season (April to October), you will have the possibility to enjoy beautiful shows around the Palace and Gardens.

Versailles Musical Fountains Show

Explore the Gardens and grooves while listening to Baroque music and watch a water display with special effects.

Days: Tuesdays (some dates), Saturdays, and Sundays.

Click here to buy the tickets to this show


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.

Days: Tuesdays (some dates), and Fridays.

Click here to buy the tickets to this show


Versailles Fountains Night Show

Versailles Gardens Fountain Show

During this Fountains Night Show, the Gardens are transformed into an amazing visual and musical experience. Stroll the Gardens beautifully illuminated, with the fountains and grooves displaying water at the sound of music. The show ends with a ‘grande finale,’ an awesome fireworks display in front of the Grand Canal.

Dates: Saturdays from July to September, from 8.30 pm to 10.40 pm. The Fireworks Show is from 10.50 pm to 11.05 pm.

Click here to buy the tickets for the Fountains Night Show


The Royal Serenade at Versailles Palace

This is the most complete of the Versailles shows: the Royal Evening lasts 6 hours in total.

In the evening, when the crowds are gone, get a taste of King Louis XIV’s fabulous life and join the baroque musicians and dancers in the awesome Hall of Mirrors for a French-style evening ball. After the ball, head to the Gardens to admire the music and fireworks. See the fountains light up as they did in the days of King Louis XIV.

Dates: Saturdays June to September; Shows are at 6.30 pm, 6.50 pm, 7.10 pm, 7.30 pm, and 7.50 pm

Click here to buy the tickets for the Royal Serenade

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Why a Guided 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 in a Versailles trip from Paris by showing the main sights at perfect timings to avoid crowds.

» Guided tours with a knowledgeable guide are much 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 Palace and Gardens 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 special parts of Versailles Palace with a small group and far from the crowds.

Best Versailles Guided Tours in English

TICKET
GUIDED TOUR DURATION
PALACE
TRIANON (+ Queen’s Hamlet)
TRANSPORT
PRICE
4 hours
YES
NO
YES
1.5 hours
YES
YES
NO
9 hours
YES
YES
YES (Hotel pick-up /drop-off)
3 hours
NO
YES
NO

Self-Guided Versailles Day Trip

Buy your Tickets in Advance

Buy your tickets well in advance! Versailles proposes different kinds of tickets, so it is important to understand what you can visit with each ticket.

Compare the best Versailles Tickets

TICKET
SKIP THE LINE
PALACE
TRIANONS (+ Queen’s Hamlet)
GARDEN SHOWS
PRICE
YES
YES
NO
If option selected
YES
YES
YES
If option selected
YES
NO
YES
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!

Suggested Versailles Itinerary

This is our suggested Versailles itinerary, to visit Versailles at your own pace. This self-guided Versailles itinerary considers that you bought your tickets online in advance.

TIP: For this Versailles Itinerary, we recommend buying the Versailles Pass

  1. 9:30 am to 10:00 am – Arrive at the train station (Versailles Rive Droite).
  2. Walk to the Marché Notre Dame food market (opens from 7: 00 am). Shop for picnic supplies and have a second coffee and a snack around.
  3. Walk towards the Park entrance on Boulevard de la Reine.
  4. Visit the Petit Trianon and Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet (opens at noon).
  5. Visit the Grand Trianon.
  6. Walk along the Grand Canal. Stop for a picnic on the Canal’s banks or eat at one of the cafes.
  7. Explore the French-style Gardens.
  8. Visit the Versailles Palace until 5:30 pm.
  9. Walk past the Saint Louis district (unless you decide to visit the Versailles Fountains Night Show).
  10. Head back to Paris from a different train station (Versailles Rive Gauche).
  11. Get the train Versailles to Paris sometime between 6:30 and 7:30 pm.

If you decide to visit the Palace of Versailles first, try to arrive before 9 am to be amongst the first visitors to enter the Palace.

Unusual Ways to Visit Versailles

Looking for something different for your day trip to Versailles? Here’s a list of some fun tours for a truly memorable day exploring Versailles.

Versailles Bike Tour

Versailles by bike

Versailles by bike is the perfect way to experience the Versailles Estate! Follow your guide through the park by bike and visit the Palace and Trianons at perfect timings to avoid the crowds (Versailles tickets skip-the-line included).

This Versailles day tour from Paris includes a visit to Versailles’s local market, where you can buy yummy things for your picnic later by the Grand Canal.

Click here to book your Versailles by Bike Guided Tour


Explore the Grounds by Segway Tour

This easy and fun mode of transport is certainly a good way to see the entire grounds, something that would take you hours on foot!

Follow your knowledgeable guides on your own Segway and have fun visiting Versailles. This 2-hour guided Segway tour is one of the best ways to get the most out of Versailles.

Click here to book your Segway Tour


Rowboat Ride along the Grand Canal

Row Boats - Versailles Grand Canal

Château de Versailles and its grounds are the perfect frame for a romantic date, but if you want to do something extraordinary, a rowboat ride along the Grand Canal (13€, min half an hour) will be something difficult to forget.

After exploring the impressive Château de Versailles, visit Versailles’ grounds from another point of view, from the water! We are sure that a rowboat ride at Château de Versailles will blow you away.

Unfortunately, there is no possibility to book rowboat rides in advance. The hire point is located on the banks of the Grand Canal near Little Venice.

Additional Information for Visiting Versailles

Versailles Fountains

This is what you need to know for your day trip from Paris to Versailles.

» 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 between the Palace and the Grand Canal) are FREE to visit from November to the end of 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.
  • During the low season, the waiting time is definitely shorter, 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 ticket already bought and printed
  • 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, gives pedestrian access and car access to the Park.

» The SAILORS GATE, on the route de Saint-Cyr (D10), gives access to the Park and Sailors Walk.

» Access to Potager du Roi is at 10, rue du MarĂ©chal-Joffre.

» Access to Royal Stables is on Avenue de Rockefeller.

So there you have it, the Versailles guide with everything you need to know for a wonderful day trip to Versailles from Paris.

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