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Searching for the ultimate Paris to Versailles day trip itinerary? Luckily, it is easy to plan a Paris day trip to Versailles whether you want to visit on your own or with a tour.
The only problem is that it is massive! The whole estate measures 3.147 square miles (just over 5 km), with the chateau itself measuring about 679,784 sq ft (63,154 sq meters).
It can be a bit overwhelming just trying to figure out where to start on your day trip to Versailles!
But with this trip to Versailles guide and itinerary, I have all the tips on how to make the most of your trip to Versailles.
Ultimate Paris Day Trip to Versailles Guide
In this guide, we’ll be covering the following:
- Brief History of the Palace of Versailles
- Paris to Versailles: How to Get There
- Best Day to Visit Versailles
- Types of Tickets
- Best Tour of Versailles
- Best Versailles Day Trip Itinerary
- Shows to See in Versailles
- Where to Stay
- Other Information For Your Versailles Day Trip
A Brief History of the Palace of Versailles
While this chateau estate is quite imposing these days, it actually once started out as a relatively small hunting lodge for King Louis XIII. He fell in love with the land back when he was the dauphin and eventually created the lodge in 1624.
However, he decided to rebuild the lodge in 1631 and made it bigger as well as purchased some of the fiefdom of Versailles in 1632.
It wasn’t until King Louis XIV came onto the scene that vast improvements were made. He ordered and planned a lot of the construction of the South Wing, North Wing, Royal Chapel, Grand Commun, and more. He even had the Grand Trianon made for himself and his maîtresse-en-titre, and, of course, those lovely gardens.
Then, he moved the French Court here in 1682. But when he died Versailles lay abandoned for a time, until King Louis XV decided to finish the work of the palace. He even had the Petit Trianon built for his mistress.
Then, King Louis XVI came into power and brought Marie Antoinette to Versailles. He then gave her the Petit Trianon for her own use. She even had the Hamlet built, where she could enjoy the quiet country life.
They lived at Versailles, where they threw extravagant parties, completely removed from the troubles of non-royal French citizens. Obviously, tensions rose and the French Revolution began, leaving Versailles largely abandoned and emptied of many of its contents.
It had been used briefly for some things over the years but didn’t undergo large-scale renovations until the 20th and 21st centuries. Now, of course, it is easily one of the most visited places in France and definitely a France bucket list item!
Paris to Versailles: How to Get to the Palace of Versailles
There are 4 main ways to get to Versailles from Paris: train, bus, car, or take a tour. Let’s break it down.
1. Paris to Versailles Train
If you want to see Versailles on your own, this is the best way to get to Versailles from Paris. Simply take the RER C train to Chateau Rive Gauche station. From here, it is roughly a 10-minute walk to the palace. This will take about an hour to get to the palace from Paris.
This is definitely the easiest option and the Paris to Versailles train cost is €7.30 round trip.
There is also the option to take the SNCF Line N Train from Montparnasse Train Station to Versailles Chantiers Train Station. From there, it is about a 20-minute walk to the palace. This is about a 15-minute ride from Montparnasse, meaning you’ll get to the chateau in about 35 minutes including walking.
This Paris to Versailles train costs €6 round-trip.
Lastly, you could take the SNCF Line L Train from Saint-Lazare to the Versailles Rive Droite Station. From there, it is about a 20-minute walk to the palace. The train journey is about 40 minutes long, meaning you’ll arrive at Versailles in about an hour.
This Paris to Versailles train costs about €6 round-trip.
2. Paris to Versailles Via Bus
You can also get to Versailles by bus! This option begins at the Pont de Sèvres bus stop (last stop on the Line 9 Paris Metro) in Paris and ends at the Place d’Armes Versailles. The bus is RATP 171, and it is about a 40-minute ride. Then, it is about a 10-minute walk to the palace.
This bus ticket costs about €3.80 round-trip if you purchase it ahead of time.
3. Paris to Versailles by Car
You could also drive there if you wish. This journey takes about 40 minutes, most of it along N118.
If you have a car and want to drive, this will likely offer you the most flexibility!
There is also the option to take an Uber there, however, this will cost you. Plan to spend anywhere from €30-60 per way! Maybe it works if you have a group, but the other options are much cheaper.
4. Versailles Day Tour
And for the final option, you can take one of many day trips to Versailles! Let your guide handle the stress of getting there and back and guide you around the palace and grounds.
Prices range from $100-200 per person but usually include things like entrance to the palace, transportation, a guide, etc.
Best Time and Best Day to Visit Versailles
I’ll be honest upfront and say that the Palace of Versailles is busy quite a bit of the time. This is such a popular tourist attraction, that it can be hard to find popular spots, like the Hall of Mirrors, not surrounded by crowds.
However, if you plan your visit correctly, you can try to avoid crowds! Here are some tips!
- Go in the winter. There are no fountain shows, and mid-winter is the low travel season in France overall (except for the ski resorts, of course). Bundle up and you’ll have fewer crowds to contend with.
- Go midweek versus weekends. You’ll find fewer people in the middle of the week than on weekends.
- Whatever you do, avoid the first Sunday of the month from November through March. It is free admission for all, which means there will be crowds.
- Best Time of Day to Visit Versailles? Either as soon as it opens or a couple of hours before closing is best to avoid crowds.
Whatever you do, purchase a skip-the-line ticket so you don’t have to wait in line if you choose to go on your own!
Which Ticket to Versailles Should You Choose?
Perhaps you’re well into planning your perfect day trip to Versailles and have noticed on the Versailles website all of the ticket options.
When I first saw this, I was incredibly overwhelmed with the options. So let’s talk about it!
First of all, these are the ticket options and standard prices below:
Note that the Palace and Estate of Trianon are free for visitors under 18 or under 26 and residents of the EU. Admission is also free for people with disabilities and their companion.
Children between 0-5 have free access to the Gardens during the Musical Gardens and Fountains Show days.
The Gardens are free for everyone to visit except during Musical Fountains Shows and Musical Garden days.
But… which ticket should you choose?
If you’re going all the way to Versailles, then you must see the palace itself. So either the Palace Ticket or Passport are the top choices.
However, note that the Palace Ticket doesn’t include the Estate of Trianon, so if you are shorter on time and can only visit the palace and gardens, then this is a great option. However, you cannot visit the gardens on Musical Fountain Show or Musical Garden days without an extra ticket for that.
Honestly, though, your best bet is to just get the Passport. This ticket includes everything so if you plan to spend the whole day at Versailles and are going to explore the grounds, then go on ahead and purchase that ticket.
Book your passport ticket here ahead of time!
There is also the option of going on a tour which includes admission and a guide! Let’s talk about that below.
Note that you will need a ticket to get into the Palace, meaning you’ll need to reserve ahead of time.
Best Tours of Versailles
With Versailles being one of the most popular tourist attractions in France, you can only imagine that half-day and full-day tours abound.
However, here are a few great tours to Versailles to choose from:
1. Skip-the-Line Guided Tour of Versailles
This is one of the more basic tours, especially as you’ll need to find your own way to Versailles yourself.
This option allows you to skip the lines and have a 90-minute guided tour of the palace, and you can also add on access to the gardens on select days the gardens aren’t free, and a 45-minute tour of the gardens.
Prices start at $61 per person. Book it here!
2. From Paris to Versailles Guided Tour
Want some help getting to Versailles too? There is the option to take a guided tour that departs from Paris and explores Versailles.
This half-day tour includes your guide, transportation to/from Paris, entrance to the palace, the Fountain Show on select dates, plus a guided tour of the palace and gardens.
Prices start at $120 per person. Book it here!
3. Full-Day Guided Tour of Versailles From Paris
Want to enjoy a full day of exploring the Château de Versailles and the estate? Opt for a full-day trip from Paris on this tour.
This tour includes transportation to/from Paris, your guide, entrance to Versailles, Gardens, and Estate of Trianon, and lunch in the Palace Garden.
This is a great way to get the most out of Versailles and learn more!
Prices start at $198 per person. Book it here!
4. Bike Tour of Versailles From Paris
This is another great option to really enjoy the most that the estate has to offer in a short amount of time.
Exploring the estate via bike is a great idea so it cuts down on your time getting from places like the gardens to the Estate of Trianon.
This tour includes round-trip train tickets to Versailles, entrance to the castle, gardens, Estate of Trianon, guide, bike, and helmet.
Plus, because you’re saving time with biking, you get the chance to stop in the town of Versailles and explore the Marche Notre-Dame for tasty food!
Prices start at $120 per person. Book it here!
Ultimate Versailles Day Trip Itinerary
I feel like the true ultimate day trip to Versailles has to include visiting most of the estate. And to do that, you may need a guide to help you find everything.
So that’s why I ended up booking the aforementioned bike tour above! It was such a great day trip to Versailles from Paris that I highly recommend it. Here is what we did!
Start in Paris at Le Peloton Cafe
Begin your morning bright and early and head to Le Peloton Cafe in the Le Marais part of Paris at 8:45 am. After grabbing a coffee and getting fitted for your helmet, your guide will lead you to the train station to catch the RER C train to Versailles.
Grab Your Bike and Marche Notre-Dame
After you arrive at the Versailles Château Rive Gauche station, you’ll pick up your bike with your guide and pedal over to Marche Notre-Dame. This giant market is full of locals picking up their produce, meats, and cheeses.
The tour stops here for a bit so that you can pick up all the things you’ll need for a picnic later in the day. It is a lot of fun to stroll along the stands and find delicious treats.
I happened to pick up some great cheeses, nuts, and then bread at a boulangerie nearby.
Now, while many would think to begin your day at the palace, I actually really enjoyed that we ended our day there, especially as it was far less crowded toward the end of the day.
So we began our bike tour exploring some of the gardens of Versailles. We stopped by Apollo Grotto, Water Theatre, and saw the fountains even go off!
It was a lovely place for a morning stroll without the crowds (who are likely in the palace at this time).
Petit Trianon & the Queen’s Hamlet
Up next we hopped on our bikes to explore the Petit Trianon, where Marie Antoinette loved to spend her time.
You get to walk through her little palace including her bedroom, courtyard, plus many rooms for entertaining. After that, you get to walk through the English Garden and spot the famous Temple of Love, Grotto, and the Belvedere building, which Marie Antoinette used as a music room.
After exploring the garden, head down to the Queen’s Hamlet. Built to resemble a simple Norman village, this place actually was a working farm complete with animals and a dairy.
This wasn’t where Marie Antoinette simply played pretend that she was a peasant, but where she liked to go on relaxing walks and host people.
After your visit to Marie Antoinette’s estate over at Petit Trianon, it is time to explore the Grand Trianon. This estate is also quite large with the Empress’ and Emperors’ rooms, plus rooms for entertaining.
The Grand Trianon also has splendid gardens to enjoy.
Picnic on the Grand Canal
At this point, it is early afternoon and the perfect time to finally tuck into those delicious treats you picked up at the market.
Here you’ll find a place along the Grand Canal for a picnic and enjoy it all! From the Grand Canal, you can spot the rowboats as well as the main palace itself.
Grand Finale: Palace of Versailles
It is after the picnic that you head back to the train station to drop off your bike and return your helmet. This is where your guide leaves you to explore the palace at your own pace with an audio guide.
So from here you’ll head back to the palace and explore! Some rooms you must visit during your time at the palace include the Hall of Mirrors, King’s Chamber, Gallery of Battles, Royal Chapel, Marble Courtyard, Royal Courtyard, and Honour Courtyard out front.
You also have more time to explore the gardens, and you cannot leave without trying some famous hot chocolate at Angelina’s located within the palace. It is rich and perfectly delicious.
After that, you can wander back to the train station and head back to Paris for dinner.
Fountain & Garden Shows Schedule at Versailles
I’ve mentioned the Fountain Shows and such at Versailles, so here is a breakdown of when they occur.
Musical Fountains Show
Enjoy the fountains flowing in sync to Baroque music.
These occur on Saturdays and Sundays from April through October, except on May 1, 2022.
The show is also on Tuesdays from May through June, and on a few select holidays like Good Friday, Ascension Day, Bastille Day, and Feast of the Assumption.
Musical Gardens Show
For the chance to explore the gardens with Baroque music, then you must go during the Musical Gardens Show.
These occur every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday in April, except on Good Friday.
Every Thursday and Friday from May until the end of June, the show occurs (except on Ascension Day). Then every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from July through August it occurs other than on July 14.
Also, from September until October, you can witness this show on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Lastly, you can witness the show on public holidays like Easter Monday and Whit Monday.
Night Fountains Show
Discover the gardens lit up and fountains running to the rhythm of Baroque music! Plus, there is a fireworks display over the Grand Canal.
This occurs every Saturday from mid-June until the end of September from 8:30 pm-11:05 pm. They also have this show on July 14 (Bastille Day) and on August 15 (Feast of Assumption).
Where to Stay Near Versailles
Plan to spend more time in Versailles or even spend a couple of days exploring the grounds? Then why not stay in the charming town of Versailles?
Here are some hotel options based on your budget!
Budget: Hotel Versailles Chantiers
This basic hotel is across from the Versailles Chantier train station and about 20 minutes from the palace on foot. This is a lovely place to easily catch the train back to Paris, and the rooms are nice and cozy.
Prices start at $110 per night.
Mid-Range: Hotel Le Louis Versailles Château – MGallery
Very close to the Palace of Versailles, you’ll easily be able to explore the town and estate on foot! This hotel also has lovely rooms, a bar/lounge, a fitness center, and a sauna- perfect for relaxing after a long day of exploring the chateau.
Prices start at $195 per night.
Did you know that you can stay at Versailles? Yes!
A stay here includes a private after-hours tour (Hall of Mirrors by yourself anyone?!), your own butler, breakfast, tea service, complimentary minibar, unlimited access to electric golf carts and electric boats, oh, and views of the estate!
You also can arrange yoga classes, spa treatments, and more! Feel like royalty here!
Prices start at $1,775 per night.
And if you are searching for where to stay in Paris, check out our in-depth guide!
Other Information For Your Day Trip to Versailles From Paris
Here is some more important information to note before embarking on your one-day in Versailles itinerary.
- Opening Hours: Every day except Mondays. The Palace opens at 9 am and the Estate of Trianon opens at 12 pm. They close at 5:30 pm during the low season (November-March), with the last admission at 5 pm. During high season (April-October) they close at 6:30 pm, with the last admission at 6 pm.
- Park & Gardens are open every day from 8 am-6 pm during low season and are free to access. Gardens aren’t free on fountain and garden show days. The last admission to the park is at 5:30 pm. During the high season, the gardens close at 8:30 pm (with the last admission at 7 pm) and the park is open from 7 am-8:30 pm with the last admission at 7:45 pm. There are select dates that gardens close early for Night Fountain Shows and other events.
- Coach Gallery is open on Saturday and Sunday from 12:30-5:30 pm during the low season. The last admission is at 4:45 pm. During the high season, they close at 6:30 pm with the last admission at 5:45 pm.
- Parking is available at Place d’Armes.
- Entrances to the Park are at the Queen’s Gate, Sailors’ Gate, Saint Anthony’s Gate, and Main Gate. For vehicles, you can enter at the Queen’s Gate and Saint Anthony’s Gate (only on weekends and holidays in the summer). Bikes can enter through the Queen’s Gate, Sailors’ Gate, and Saint Anthony’s Gate.
- Be sure to wear comfortable shoes for your visit! These white sneakers are always popular! Plus, an anti-theft bag is a good idea to prevent pickpocketing during crowded visits and even on the ride to Versailles.
That wraps up the ultimate day trip guide to Versailles and how to have the perfect Versailles day trip itinerary!
Would you visit Versailles?
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