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Palace of Versailles

Last updated: 10 March, 2024

The vast, opulent Chateaux de Versailles began life as a hunting lodge, built in 1623 for King Louis XIII, before being expanded and developed over a period of fifty years by King Louis XIV. In 1682, he moved the royal household from Paris to the palace, making Versaille the de facto capital of France.

It remains a brilliantly over-the-top ode to the power of Louis XIV, with lavish Baroque rooms and sparkling mirrors lining the heavily-gilded Galerie des Glaces.

The opulent interiors are the main event, but a splendid park and gardens have plenty to keep visitors busy, too – with two further (Grand and Petit Trianon) palaces, a sheep farm, a Grand Canal and Marie Antoinette’s private hameau (hamlet or mini-village).

Don’t miss 

Louis XIV’s Grand Apartments, Chamber and Hall of Mirrors – there are seven rooms in the ‘Sun King’s’ former private apartments, all astonishingly opulent.  Look out for the two platforms next to the billiard table in the Salon de Diane – two ladies would stand while he played, applauding every shot.

L’Opera Royal – built to celebrate the marriage of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, when completed it was Europe’s largest theatre, constructed entirely from wood.

Le Petit Trianon – separate from the main chateau, this Greek-style building was Marie Antoinette’s hideaway, famed for its grand staircase and beautiful marble-floored hall.

Logistics

Price from: £18
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The easiest way to reach Versailles from Paris is by the RER line C to Versailles Rive-Gauche, followed by a five-minute walk. A taxi from the centre of Paris should take approximately 45 minutes.

A half a day is usually sufficient, but you’ll need a whole day if you want to visit the secondary palaces, too. Tickets must be booked online in advance. You can’t just turn up. Free audio guides are available, but better to download the free app before you go to avoid queuing at the audio guide desk.

Guided tours (usually 1-2 hours) are also available but must be booked online in advance. See the website for listings of what tours are available on the date you want to go.

There’s a café inside the château, as well as several cafés and ice-cream stalls around the grounds; in summer the best option is to pack a picnic.

The easiest way to reach Versailles from Paris is by the RER line C to Versailles Rive-Gauche, followed by a five-minute walk. A taxi from the centre of Paris should take approximately 45 minutes.

When to do it

The palace is are open all year round, Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Monday. The gardens and park area open every day. It’s always crowded, so get there at opening time to avoid the worst of the crowds.

You could also time your visit for one of the Musical Gardens (weekdays) or the Musical Fountains (weekends) shows in the gardens.

Who to go with: organised tours

18

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • Paris

Take a tour of Versailles with a difference - by bicycle! It's the only way to see Versailles' expansive gardens plus you'll get to see highlights of Versailles that most visitors miss, including Marie Antoinette's country-style Hameau, the Petit Trianon and the Grand Trianon. You'll also enjoy a picnic by the Grand Canal then take a tour of the Palace of Versailles. Versailles is located just 16 kilometers/12 miles from Paris, so we’ll meet near a metro station within Paris before beginning our journey. From there, we’ll take the suburban rail (about 30 minutes) and then pick up our bikes just across from the train station.

Price €109

Min age 0

Rating 4.74 / 5 [2065 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • Paris

Discover the true beauty of Versailles on this full-day tour from Paris. Meet up at a train station in Paris and board the train to Versailles with your guide. You'll visit an award-winning French Farmers Market with fabulous food stalls. Leisurely cycle around the gorgeous 2,000 acres Royal Domaine of Versailles to see swaying wheat fields and lush green forests. Enjoy a picnic on the soft grass as you look out over a lake with swans in it. Visit two smaller chateaux called the Grand and Petit Trianon. Pet a sheep while you explore Queen Marie-Antoinette's adorable Private Farm village with thatched roof buildings. Learn all about the extravagance of King Louis and the French revolution from our fun and personable guide and, of course, visit the stunning Palace of Versailles with its famous Hall of Mirrors! All train and entrance tickets are included in our tour price.

Price €109

Min age 0

Rating 4.83 / 5 [1871 ratings]

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  • Paris

Think of France and what comes to mind? Chances are the Palace of Versailles and the Impressionists are up there in your top ten. However fleeting your visit, you do have time to experience a bit of both, thanks to our day trip from Paris. Ever wanted to step into one of Monet’s paintings? Your wish is our command! Wander through the lush gardens of the artist’s residence, inspiration for his Nympheas, among others. After lunch, head to Versailles, royal pad to three King Louis. From the moment you approach this imposing Palace, we dare you not to gasp at its lavish splendor. In fact, you’ll probably keep your mouth open for the rest of your visit!

Price €243

Min age 0

Rating 4.15 / 5 [1710 ratings]

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  • Versailles

Discover the Palace of Versailles with this 90-minute guided tour. Choose the time that better suits your program and make your own way to Versailles. Your guide will take you on an unforgettable tour of the Hall Of Mirrors and State Apartments. Stroll around the famous French gardens at your own leisure after the tour (additional entrance ticket required on musical or fountain show days).

Price €59

Min age 0

Rating 4.53 / 5 [1450 ratings]

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  • Paris

Enjoy a group tour of the Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles) with a guide, who provides insight about the history and secrets of the legendary royal residence. This 6 hour (half day tour) or 9 hours (full day tour) includes hotel or residence pick-up and drop-off in Paris by minivan limited to eight people. At the palace, enjoy our skip-the-line access, see the State Apartments and Hall of Mirrors with the guide (1:30), and explore the expansive Gardens & Trianons (Full day option only) on your own. This tour does not include a visit to the Gardens. Depending on the day of your tour, you may also be able to experience : Musical Gardens (Tuesday, Friday 11:00 am-12:00 pm & 2:30 pm-4:30 pm) from April to October Musical Fountains (Weekend 11:00 am-12:00 pm & 3:30 pm-5:00 pm), from April to October (only the afternoon tour)

Price €114

Min age 6

Rating 4.48 / 5 [680 ratings]

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