A trip to the Palace of Versailles is an easy day trip from Paris. There you will see the luxury of historic royalty and world-famous gardens, just an hour outside of Paris. As you would expect, many people visit Versailles. Read on for all my tips to get around the crowds and not miss a thing so that you can plan a perfect visit to Versailles from Paris.
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What is Versailles?
Versailles started as a humble hunting lodge before being transformed into an ostentatious display of wealth and power as the palace of the sun king, Louis XIV. It is a massive castle with wings for servants, aristocracy, and public rooms for the masses to view the opulence of the royal family. These rooms were even where they went to give birth and die! Today you can still walk in these public areas.
Versailles is a perfect day trip to take from Paris. You can read about my whole Paris trip here.
Tip #1: Skip the Line.
Paris is beautiful. There is a reason that it is one of the most visited cities on earth. But, it is evident in the crowds. Throughout my whole visit, I felt that I was at Disneyland. There are long queues for every attraction, and I mean hours and hours long! And I was told it wasn’t incredibly crowded when I visited.
Nowhere was this truer than at Versailles. I spoke to some people who waited in line, and they said they arrived an hour and a half early, and they still had to wait for another hour and a half. When we left at 4 pm, the line was even longer.
Elsewhere in Paris, we used the Paris Pass to bypass queues, but here you don’t get to skip the line even with it.
But there is a way around this and, I think, it will be the best money you can spend in Paris! Find a skip-the-line tour right for you.
Tip #2: Skip the Toilet and Snack Lines in Versailles.
Yep, the lines for the bathroom in the Chateau are also insane. So stop into the McDonald’s just across the street from the Metro to get a snack or bottle of water and use the facilities. You can then get through the house in about 1 1/2 hours without needing to stop.
Tip #3: Look Up to Get Great Pictures in the Chateau.
The house was full of people, and picture-taking was very difficult if you don’t want people in your pictures. Be sure to look up because some of the most beautiful art in the room is on the ceilings!
Most of the art that wasn’t attached to the building was removed in the French Revolution. Many of the pieces of art in the house are copies of articles now in the Louvre.
Find a comfortable space at the edge of rooms to take it all in. There are many myths depicted in the frescoes on the ceiling.
Tip #4 Angelina’s
Stop for an éclair and a hot chocolate at Angelina’s. You will find them scattered around the property.
Tip #5 Oh, the Gardens!
Give yourself a lot of time and energy for the gardens. The formal gardens cover 800 hectares, and there are more gardens to see off the property.
Tip #6 See the Water Show.
Time your visit to see the Water Show. The fountains only run for one hour in the morning and one in the afternoon, but seeing the waters dance among the gardens is worth the time to plan. Buy your fountain tour tickets here and explore their availability.
Tip #7 Plan your garden visit.
If you desire to see the whole garden visit it clockwise, pausing for lunch at the pond with the boats at the end. Be sure to hold onto your ticket because you leave the gardens to access the restaurants. Reentering is very easy, as there is no queue. When you reach 12 o’clock again back at the Chateau, you can jump onto the Petit Train for a few Euros, which can take you to the houses at the bottom of the hill.
Tip #8 Be Sure to Visit the Queen’s Hamlet.
Get off the train at Marie Antoinette’s estate Petite Trianon. Here she would relax with her girlfriends while at Versailles. Please take a quick house tour, then head out into her gardens.
I am a nature girl and always need to escape into it to feel peace. The most at ease I felt in Paris was here. These gardens are unstructured, with winding dirt paths, flowers, and birds chirping. You will still find sculptures, including Cupid, who will perhaps bring you love if you rub his foot.
Set near the back of the gardens is the Queen’s Hamlet, a group of cottages set among vegetable gardens and ponds. It is magical and my favorite part of Versailles! They also sell some delicious blood orange juice by the pond where hordes of fish congregate.
Download the Versailles map and app before you go.
Have you been to Versailles? Do you have any other tips? Please let me know in the comments. I have been asked a few times about how easy it is to catch a train to Versailles from Paris, so I decided to add some information for you.
How to Take the Train from Paris to Versailles
The trip from Paris to Versailles by train was relaxing and easy, much like most European train travel. The Metro gets you around Paris, and RER trains take you to surrounding areas. Luckily, Metro and RER tickets are sold at the same kiosks so that you can buy them together. To get to Versailles, you need to take the RER C line. You can pick that up at Champ de Mars- Tour Eiffel, which we did. When you return from Versailles to Paris, you see the Eiffel Tour. From there, the trip is just a bit over an hour. It drops you only about a 1/4 mile walk from the entrance of Versailles.
For more ideas for day trips from Paris, read Paris to Giverny: A Bike Ride to Monet’s Gardens and A Day Trip from Paris to Bruges, Belgium.