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A Paris to Versailles day trip is rather an essential outing to add to any trip to Paris. The majestic 2300-room Château de Versailles commissioned by King Louis XIV is a splendour worth seeing. Along with the Château, a Paris to Versailles day trip includes a visit to the sprawling gardens, the Grand and Petit Trianon, the Theatre and the Queen’s Hamlet.
A day trip to the Château de Versailles, A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, is steeped in history. The Palace of Versailles was France’s royal residence for over 100 years until the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. And, at the end of WWI, European leaders signed the Treaty of Versailles in the Hall of Mirrors. A Paris to Versailles day trip is an experience full of opulence and grandeur along with a first-hand glance at how the French monarchs lived.
A Paris to Versailles Day Trip Tip: It is obligatory to book a ticket and entrance slot.
1. A Paris To Versailles Day Trip: FAQ
i. Where Is the Palace of Versailles?
The Château of Versailles is located at Place d’Armes, Versailles about 30 km (12 miles) west of Paris.
ii. How To Get To Versailles From Paris By Train
On a Paris to Versailles day trip, the simplest way to get to the Palace of Versailles is by taking the train. The trip to Versailles from Paris takes about an hour.
- RER Line C to Versailles Château Rive Gauche, and then a 10-minute walk to the Palace
- TER Regional train from Paris Gare Montparnasse to Versailles Chantier and then walk 20 minutes
- TER Regional train from Paris Gare Saint-Lazare to Versailles Rive Droite followed by a 5-minute walk to Bus 171. Ride Bus 171 for 8 stops and then walk 7-minutes
A Paris to Versailles Day Trip Tip:
- For a Paris day trip to Versailles, my preferred way to get there is by the RER C. Study the route of RER C to find the train station closest to you
- Your Easy Navigo metro card or a regular metro ticket is not sufficient to get to Versailles. If your departure point is within Paris you have to buy a ticket at one of the machines from Paris to Versailles Château Rive Gauche which costs €3.55
- Make sure you get on the RER C train that has the end destination of Versailles Château Rive Gauche (and not Pontoise). On the quay, the digital monitors display which train and destination are next.
iii. When Is The Château de Versailles Open?
The Domaine of Versailles is open daily, except for Mondays
The Château of Versailles is open from 9 to 5:30
The Trianon Palaces are open from noon to 5:30
The Gardens and Parks are open from 8 to 6
A Paris to Versailles Day Trip Tip: Versailles is closed Mondays and December 25, 2023
iv. When Is The Best Day Of The Week To Visit Versailles?
The Château de Versailles is one of France’s top ten most visited sites. It receives almost 10 million visitors a year and more than 30 000 per day. Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays are a busy day at Versailles along with the weekends. Wednesday and Thursday are your best bet for fewer crowds but let’s face it, the Palace of Versailles can get very busy.
A Paris to Versailles day trip will see fewer crowds in the off-season.
Versailles Travel Tip: Tuesdays are particularly busy at Versailles as many Paris museums such as the Louvre are closed.
v. How Much Does Entry To The Château Of Versailles Cost?
A Passport Ticket or One-Day Entry Ticket (includes the Palace, the 2 Trianon Palaces, the Gardens and Parks and special exhibitions) is €21.50 The days of the Musical Gardens and Fountains, the ticket is €30. Book the one-day ticket to the Versailles Domain.
It is obligatory to book a ticket in advance. Be sure to arrive on time for your one-hour entrance slot to the Château de Versailles.
The Gardens and Parks are free, except on the Musical Spectacle evenings. Access to the park for pedestrians is found at 5 gates surrounding the gardens.
Entry Tickets & Guided Tours:
The entry to Versailles is included with the Paris Museum Pass.
The Versailles Palace and Gardens and Round Trip Transportation from Paris (avoid the train)
Paris to Versailles Half-Day Trip and Guided Tour (includes transportation, a guided tour, skip the line ticket)
Feeling Energetic? Why not ride an e-bike to the Versailles Palace? The guided tour starts along the Seine River passing through forests before arriving at Versailles.
vi. How Long Should I Plan On Spending At Versailles?
For this Paris to Versailles day trip, give yourself the entire day. The gardens are a marvel to wander and explore and there is a lot to see at the Domain of Versailles.
If you don’t want to be rushed, you might consider staying in Versailles overnight.
- Want to feel a bit royal? Why not stay at the deluxe Waldorf Astoria Versailles Trianon Palace?
- Hòtel le Versailles is also quite regal!
Planning Your Paris Trip? Be sure to book in advance for the most popular things to do. Book your one-hour Seine cruise, a timed-entry ticket to the Louvre, and a skip-the-line ticket to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. And don’t forget a skip-the-line ticket to Disneyland!
vii. When Are The Musical Fountains Shows In 2023?
- Every Saturday and Sunday from April 1 to October 29
- Every Tuesday from May 2 to June 27
- And Friday, April 7, Monday, April 10, Monday, May 8, Thursday, May 18, Monday, May 29, Friday, July 14, Tuesday, August 15
Stroll through the gardens amidst the fountains that are spouting to the rhythm of Baroque music.
viii. When Are The Musical Gardens At Versailles in 2023?
- April 4 to April 28: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (except Friday, April 7, the day of the Musical Fountains Show)
- May 3 to June 30: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (except Thursday, May 18, the day of the Musical Fountains Show)
- July 4 to October 31: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (except Friday, July 14, and Tuesday, August 14, the day of the Musical Fountains Show)
Explore the stunning gardens and secluded groves to music. On these days there are no water displays or fountains running.
ix. Is There Anything Free At Versailles?
- The Versailles Estate is free of charge on the first Sunday of every month from November to March.
- The gardens at Versailles are also free, except when there is a Musical Fountains Show or on Musical Garden Days.
- Download the app “Palace of Versailles” which can be used without an internet connection and includes the audio guide tour of the Palace. (Audio guides with headsets can also be picked up upon entry to the Palace)
x. Where Can We Eat At Versailles?
Versailles is the perfect place to have a picnic. On a Versailles day trip from Paris, if you’re not up for bringing a picnic, there are several restaurants including Angelina’s (famous for their hot chocolate) which has a tea room in the Palace and at the Petit Trianon. It’s definitely pricier at Versailles to purchase food but it is very convenient. Pick up a sandwich, drinks, and macarons at Angelina’s and stroll out to the gardens to enjoy!
xi. How Can We Cover This 800 Hectare Area?
On just a single Paris day trip to Versailles, it is hard to imagine covering all 800 hectares of the Versailles Domain. There are several options for enjoying this beautiful and vast domain which include walking, renting a golf cart or a bike, and taking the shuttle train which costs €7.50.
Read More For Your Paris Planning: 25 Essential Paris Travel Tips. If you like getting off the beaten path, here are 25 hidden gems in Paris. Really want to explore secret Paris? There are over 60 secret spots in my eBook, Paris for the Curious Stroller.
2. A Paris To Versailles Day Trip: A Little History
It’s hard to believe that the Château de Versailles started as a hunting lodge. In the mid-17th century, King Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, took his father’s hunting lodge and transformed it into the enormous and majestic palace we see today. The Château of Versailles is a fine example of French Baroque architecture.
Louis XIV rounded up the best of the best to create Versailles. Architect Louis le Vau (and Jules Hardouin-Mansart who took over from le Vau in the mid-1670s), painter and interior designer Charles Le Brun, and landscape designer André Le Nôtre.
Louis XIV moved the royal court to Versailles and it became France’s political capital and the seat of the royal court from 1682 until the French Revolution in 1789.
We all know that Versailles and Marie Antoinette go hand in hand. The Austrian princess and the wife of King Louis XVI lived a lavish royal life at Versailles. King Louis XVI came to the throne in 1774. He and Marie Antoinette are forever associated with the French Revolution which began in 1789.
Taking a Paris to Versailles day trip offers an incredible glimpse into French history and the opulent and lavish life of the French royals.
Read More | 18 Best Day Trips from Paris. Which ones will you choose? If the French monarchy interests you, head to the Basilica of St. Denis to see where the kings are laid to rest.
3. A Paris To Versailles Day Trip: The Highlights
The Palace Of Versailles
Don’t worry you won’t be visiting all 2300 rooms in the Palace!
The Bed Chambers
Stroll past the opulent and ostentatious Queen’s bed chamber and the King’s bed chamber. It’s royal through and through from the gilded furniture, the portraits, the chandeliers and, the tapestries. Did you know that when the Queen gave birth she did so right here in her bed chamber with a huge audience?
A Paris to Versailles Day Trip Tip: Book the 90-minute guided tour to the Kings Private Apartments when you book your entry ticket. Only available if you book the tour.
Hall Of Mirrors
The Hall of Mirrors or Galerie des Glaces is the shimmering highlight of the interior of the Palace of Versailles. This 75-metre-long ballroom literally takes your breath away. 357 mirrors, painted vaulted ceilings, elegant gilded statues, and 3-rows of hanging chandeliers leave a lasting impression.
The Hall of Mirrors was used for lavish gatherings, such as royal weddings, and also political and diplomatic meetings. It was here that the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, officially ending World War I.
A Paris to Versailles Day Trip Tip: The best view over the rectangular pools of the gardens is from the Hall of Mirrors
The Royal Chapel In The Palace Of Versailles
Upon arrival at the Château de Versailles, one can’t help but notice the outside of the Royal Chapel. Its height alone immediately makes one think of its divine purpose. After many years of deciding where to put the chapel and then designing it, Louis XIV succeeded in building a chapel that was worthy of the magnificent Versailles.
From the second floor, one gets a magnificent view of the Royal Chapel. The columns and painted ceiling are breathtaking.
A Paris to Versailles Day Trip Tip: Organ concerts take place in the chapel at 3:30 and 5:30 on Thursdays. Stand at the balcony railing and float away…
Concerts also take place in the Royal Chapel. Check the schedule to purchase tickets here.
Read More | If you love châteaux, these gorgeous castles will interest you!
A guided day tour to the Loire Valley will introduce you to three gorgeous French châteaux.
The Gardens At Versailles
The Gardens at Versailles are world-famous. Designed by landscape artist André le Notre, who also designed the gardens at the Château de Chantilly, the gardens took over 40 years to complete. The gardens have a royal feel to them. Filled with tree-lined pathways, different groves (some even have small waterfalls), and separate themed gardens, such as the English garden of the King, one can spend hours exploring and wandering.
One of the highlights of the gardens is the magnificent and majestic fountains. The magnificent Apollo Fountain (le Bassin d’Appollon) was designed by Charles Le Brun. The four-horse chariot is rising from the water carrying the Greek God Apollo in the centre.
Look for other fountains depicting the seasons, the Fight of the Animals, the Dragon Fountain and the Neptune Fountain.
The Canals At Versailles
When visiting Versailles, you’ll find that there are two canals in the gardens, the Grand Canal and the Petit-Canal. The beautiful and calm Grand Canal is oriented to reflect the setting sun.
Rent a row boat or have a picnic under the trees.
The Trianon Palaces
On your Paris to Versailles day trip, it is advisable to spend time at the two Trianon Palaces. The Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon are two smaller palaces on the Domain of Versailles.
The Grand Trianon with its pink collonade was built in 1687 for the Sun King and his family to escape the rigours of the court. A palace in its own right, The Grand Trianon is complete with its own gardens and fountains.
The Petit Trianon, a smaller castle, was used mostly by the Queens. Its most famous resident being, Marie Antoinette. It too has its own extensive gardens, and winding pathways.
The Queen’s Hamlet – The Hameau de la Reine
This is one of the highlights of a Paris to Versailles day trip. The mock village of thatched roof cottages and a mill is where Marie-Antoinette escaped royal life and would play “dress up ” with her ladies in waiting. The Hameau de la Reine is complete with a farm inhabited by donkeys, potbellied pigs, and long-haired rabbits. The Hameau de la Reine, open to the public since 2006, has been renovated to look as it would have during Marie Antoinette’s time.
4. A Paris To Versailles DAy Trip: Special Exhibitions
On your Paris to Versailles day trip, be sure to check out if there is a current special exhibition. Recently there was an excellent exhibition on Louis XV. It was filled with artefacts, some of which had not been in the Palace of Versailles for over 300 years. It was a great opportunity to learn even more about the French monarchs, French history and the Domain of Versailles.
I hope you enjoy your Paris to Versailles day trip!
Until next time,
More Travel Info…
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