Plan the Perfect Day Trip to Versailles from Paris [2023] – A Local’s Guide

Paris to Versailles Day Trip

Most people planning a holiday to Paris manage to squeeze a day in their itinerary for a day trip to 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 make a day trip to Versailles from Paris easy to organize and one of the top places on everyone’s Paris Bucket List.

Versailles Palace

The downside of Versailles’ fame and beauty are the crowds and the long lines to visit the Château. 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 Paris to Versailles day trip can be a terrible experience if you arrive there without any plan.

How to plan a Versailles day trip from Paris? What is the best Versailles itinerary? 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:

  1. Best Time to Visit Versailles
  2. Ways to Travel from Paris to Versailles
  3. Book your Skip-the-line Tickets to Versailles in Advance
  4. Why a Versailles Tour from Paris is a Good Idea
  5. Things to Do on a Versailles Day Trip from Paris
  6. Best Versailles Shows
  7. Extend your Versailles Trip
  8. Versailles Tips & 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 also lovely in the shoulder seasons. During this time, the French-style gardens that surround the Château 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 Château, but you will miss the beauty of the gardens in bloom, 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 Château of Versailles inside.

Versailles is particularly crowded on Tuesdays and during the weekends. If your schedule is flexible, prioritize Wednesdays and Thursdays for visiting Versailles, when there are fewer crowds. In our opinion, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to visit Versailles.

The Château 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

train station in Paris

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.

How far is Versailles from Paris? The distance from Paris to Versailles is about 25 km (15.5 miles).

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 Château 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

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

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 Tour from Paris is a Good Idea

A Versailles tour from Paris is a popular option, especially among first-time visitors. 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 day trip from Paris to Versailles by showing the main sights at perfect times 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.

» Versailles guided tours use a separate entrance to the Château, which is super cool. While Versailles skip-the-line tickets guarantee access to the Château within 30 minutes (the 30 minutes of your time slot), the access to the Château with a guided tour is immediate thanks to this separate entrance.

» 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 the Château with a small group and far from the crowds.

Best Versailles Guided Tours in English (with skip-the-line tickets)

TICKET
GUIDED TOUR DURATION
PALACE
TRIANON (+ Queen’s Hamlet)
TRANSPORT
PRICE
4 hours
YES
NO
YES
1.5 hours
YES
NO
NO
9 hours
YES
YES
YES
9 hours
YES
YES
Roundtrip train tickets Paris-Versailles
2,5 hours
NO
YES
NO
3 hours
YES
NO
NO

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.

Château de Versailles

Versailles Palace France

Château de Versailles is the beating heart of the Versailles Estate. One of the most beautiful castles in France, the Palace of Versailles has two floors the garden floor and the first floor with a total surface of 63,000 m2 divided into 2,300 rooms and halls.

The most famous room in the Château 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.

Gardens of Versailles

Versailles French Gardens

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 Château on three sides, and they are decorated with many fountains, grooves, statues, colonnades, and even an obelisk. From April to October, they host beautiful music and water shows, and there’s an entrance fee to access them. 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

Queen's Hamlet - Versailles

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

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 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 Château to the ‘Mortemets,’ the waterfowl reserve within King Louis XIV’s hunting estate.

Le Potager du Roi

Le Potager du Roi - Versailles

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 5€ – 3€ (high season – November to March).

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 are 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 [2023]

Grandes Eaux Versailles

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. Here’s what to expect:

Versailles Musical Fountains Show

Baccus Fountain Versailles

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 the Musical Fountains Show alone or buy the Versailles Passport, with the Musical Fountains Show included

Days: 

  • 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 the Versailles Passport, with the Musical Gardens Show included

Days:

  • 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

Versailles Gardens Fountain 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

Dates:

  • 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).

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7. Extend your Versailles Trip

Versailles' Old Town
Versailles’ Old Town

The Versailles Estate is huge, so you’ll probably need more than a Paris day trip to Versailles 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 (after the Grand Finale), 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 Château 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. Spend two days in Versailles rather than a day, and also visit some of the best things to do in Versailles town.

8. Versailles Tips & Practical Info

Versailles Main Gate

This is what you need to know to plan your Paris – Versailles day trip:

» The Versailles Estate is FREE for everyone on the first Sunday of the month, from November to March. Long lines to visit the different buildings 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. From April to October, there’s a fee to access the Gardens, and the price depends on the kind of show on that day (Musical Fountains Show or Musical Gardens Show).

Versailles Opening Hours – Low Season (November to March)

  • During the low season, Château de Versailles opens from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. The last admission is at 5:00 pm.
  • The 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. Some grooves in the Gardens are closed during the low season.
  • The waiting time to visit the different buildings 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, Château de Versailles opens from 9 am to 6.30 pm. The last admission is at 6:00 pm.
  • The 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 the Château is one hour without any Versailles skip-the-line tickets.
  • There’s one line to access the Château 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, our Versailles guide with everything you need to know for a wonderful day trip Paris to Versailles.

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