The town of Versailles is just 20 kilometers away and to the west of the city center. The trip from Paris to Versailles takes a little over half an hour. The palace, including the gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site. The magnificence of Château de Versailles reflects its one time importance as the centre of French political power. When Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles, from Paris in 1682, it became the symbol of opulence for over a century.
Its 2,300 rooms, scale and grandeur can be both stunning and overwhelming. Every pillar, mirror, chair, ceiling and wall is a fantastic work of art. Despite so much stunning beauty, the Hall of Mirrors, the State Apartments, the Opera House and the Chapel Royal stand out in pure, glittering splendor.
The Gardens of Versailles are a fitting compliment to the Palace and are landscaped in the classic French Garden style. The gardens, immaculate lawns, flower beds, sculptures and fountains make the Palace of Versailles unique.
By train: The best, quickest and most convenient way to get to Versailles, from Paris, is by train. There are numerous trains operating all over the main city. Versailles has three drop-off stations; none more than a 15 minute walk from the palais. They are Versailles Rive Gauche, Versailles Rive Droite and Versailles Chantiers. The Versailles Rive Gauche station is the one closest to the Palace (5 minute walk), though the other two stations are not all that much further away (about 15 minute walk).
- From Paris Montparnasse: Take Transilien N to Versailles Chantiers. Takes 12 minutes to get you there.
- From Paris Saint Lazare: Take Transilien L to Versailles Rive Droite. Takes 33 minutes to reach. The walk to the palais is beautiful.
- From Paris: RER C5 line to Versailles Rive Gauche (trains called VICK or VITY) and is about a 35 minute ride.
By bus: Route 171 travels between Pont de Sèvres (at the end of Métro line 9) to Versailles. The bus journey from the station to the château takes approximately 30 min. There are a wide and extensive range of buses and minibuses operated by private Paris tour operators. They offer full and half day tours.
By motorbike or scooter: This option is for the more independent and adventurous minded (Paris traffic is a bit of a challenge). You can hire a two wheeler to get to and from Versailles. The ride will take you through some scenic French countryside via the lovely Vois de Bologne and Parc St Cloud and takes between 40 minutes to an hour.
The Palace of Versailles is one of the most popular and visited places in the world, which means that there are generally huge, winding queues to get in. There is a wide selection of tour operators whose services help you skip those lines. There are half day and full day tours (guided and unguided) running from Paris. Some are small, exclusive focused private tours. Others include Parisian touristic spots as part of the package.
Then again you could buy your ticket, in advance, directly from the Château de Versailles website. It costs a bit more than the usual entrance ticket but includes return railway and metro tickets; an audio-guided tour of the Chapel and Opera House, the King’s and Queen’s State Apartments, the Dauphin’s and the Mesdames’ Apartments, the Coach Museum and Trianons.
To avoid the crowds, start your visit at the main palace at 9am. Move out and into the gardens and park by 10am. Budget for a couple of hours at the gardens. Take a brief time out for lunch. If you are going on to the Trianon palaces and Marie-Antoinette’s hamlet, then do that post lunch till 4:30pm.
- The Palace of Versailles is open from 9am to 5:30pm (6:30pm in high season).
- The Trianon palaces and Marie-Antoinette’s hamlet are open from noon to 5:30pm (6:30pm in high season).
- The French gardens are open from 8am to 6pm (8:30pm in high season).
The Palace is open every day except Monday. We advise you to spend the whole day in order to get the best out of your visit to Versailles.
Best Times to Visit
Try to avoid weekends and Tuesdays as they are generally very crowded. Also the domain of Versailles is free on the first Sunday of every month from November to March so expect crowds on these days too.
You can buy a consolidated ticket to all the sites or you can buy separate tickets to the Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette’s hamlet.