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Versailles Day Trips from Paris

Visiting the Palace of Versailles and touring its interior and gardens will take you back in time. Here's how to get there and how much the entrance tickets cost

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

9 min read

Versailles Day Trips from Paris

Palace of Versailles | ©Mat Reding

To enter the Palace of Versailles is to enter another world. All those period films we have seen about Louis XIV, Marie Antoinette or Louis XVI are condensed in the richness of its rooms and the beauty of its gardens.

There are several types of tickets to visit the Palace and its gardens, some include a guided tour or transport from Paris... I'll summarise them all for you to make your choice easier:

My favourite

Guided tour of Versailles by train from Paris

The best value for money way to visit Versailles from Paris

Perfect if you want to tour Versailles with an expert guide. You'll get there by train from Paris.

Duration: 7 hours

The palace and gardens (because let's not forget the majesty of those gardens!) of Versailles are located about 50 long minutes from Paris, but it is such a visited point of interest, that it is very well connected.

With this tour to Versailles with entrance to the Palace and gardens, a local guide will pick you up in the centre of Paris, take you by train (RER) to the palace, show you around the gardens, tell you all the stories of this historic landmark and then leave you the option to see the palace at your leisure. You can also return on the train of your choice, leaving you free time to discover Versailles at your own pace after the guided tour.

Please note that the price of transport is not included in this tour, but you will get to Versailles quickly and comfortably by train.

Why I like this tour: This is the most economical way to visit the Palace of Versailles and its gardens with an English-speaking guide.

Recommended if... you want to save money on your visit and don't mind travelling by public transport.

The most complete

Versailles Skip The Line Guided Tour from Paris

The best value for money way to visit Versailles from Paris

Discover Versailles and its gardens with a specialised guide. You will be taken by private coach from Paris.

Duration: 7 hours

With this guided tour of Versailles you will join the group from one of the three pick-up points in the city of Paris and arrive directly at Versailles, where you will be able to skip the queues at the Palace thanks to the tickets included in this option. Once inside, you will be guided through the rooms by your guide, who will tell you the best-kept secrets and anecdotes about the Palace and its construction.

You will also take a tour of the gardens. Why do I attach so much importance to the gardens? Because the first time I went I spent hours walking around them and the second time I went I realised that I had only seen half of them. The gardens are impressive, the fountains, the statues, the flowers, the colours... a real marvel.

Lunch is not included, but you will have time to eat or even buy some food there (you can also bring some from Paris in a backpack).

In the afternoon, you will head back to Paris from Versailles.

Why I like this option: with this tour you will be able to visit Versailles and its gardens without worrying about anything, with a specialised guide.

Recommended if... you prefer to join an organised group from the beginning and be picked up in Paris by bus to and from Versailles.

Visit Versailles with the Paris Pass

Palace of Versailles Gardens| ©Clark Van Der Beken
Palace of Versailles Gardens| ©Clark Van Der Beken

If you are buying the Paris Pass during your visit to the French capital, entry to Versailles will be free as part of the Paris Museum Pass which is included in this pack. What will not be included is the return journey to Versailles as, although this tourist card includes the metro, Versailles is outside the city centre.

If you want to know more about this "tourist card" you can read this guide I wrote about Paris Pass in which I also talk about other similar cards that will get you free entry to the most important tourist attractions and museums in Paris.

Ana's Traveller Tip

On the first Sunday of the month you can enter Versailles for free, but you should rule it out during the high season because the massive influx of tourists may prevent you from enjoying your visit.

How to get to Versailles from Paris

Detail of a fountain outside the Palace of Versailles
Detail of a fountain outside the Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles owes its name to the commune in which it is located; it is situated on the southern outskirts of Paris, about 45 minutes by car. The palace complex and gardens are, of course, the main attraction of Versailles and are easy to reach by any means of transport and are well signposted.

Getting to Versailles by private transport

Organised tours of Versailles or guided tours of the Palace and gardens usually include transport from central Paris. Usually a private bus departs from a central location in the city, but you can also find more exclusive options that take you by car or in a well-appointed van.

Getting to Versailles by train

This is the easiest option. In Paris, the metro and RER trains are perfectly integrated and from any point in the city you can access the RER C, which is the line that takes you to Versailles and stops at the palace. However, bear in mind that this line forks at the end of the line, so before getting on the train, check the screens to make sure that the final stop is Versailles-Rive Gauche and not Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

Getting to Versailles by bus

There is a bus, 'Versailles Express' which leaves from the Eiffel Tower from Tuesday to Sunday and takes you directly to the Palais. The fare is 25 euros and the frequency is only once or twice a day depending on the season; for these reasons people tend to discard it in favour of the city line 171 which will take you close to the Versailles complex for a much lower price.

What to see in Versailles

One of the most impressive rooms inside the Palace of Versailles
One of the most impressive rooms inside the Palace of Versailles

The interior of the Palace

The Palace of Versailles is the main attraction of the complex. The route is perfectly marked out, so once you enter through the main entrance (the Verge d'Honneur), it will be easy to walk through the entire palace without missing anything. The first thing that will impress you is the luxury and ostentation that every corner of the palace exudes, but what is really interesting is the stories behind each room.

If you haven't booked a guided tour, don't hesitate to make use of the audio guide that you are entitled to with your ticket; it will tell you incredible stories about the characters who lived within these walls, such as Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. I assure you that the eccentricities of what was once the most powerful monarchy in Europe will leave you as impressed as the beauty of the palace and its decoration.

The gardens

A classical French-style layout, carefully tended vegetation, fountains and statues as decorative elements and a surface area of 800 hectares; this is what the gardens of Versailles are like. Many people don't know that the gardens of Versailles are actually free (except when there is a show) and you don't have to buy a ticket to enter the palace.

If you are going to the palace, I recommend that you see the gardens afterwards because you can use the audio guide; you'll love the stories of the fountains that adorn the gardens if you're a fan of mythology. Like the palace, the gardens of Versailles are not just an aesthetic beauty, but a symbol of an era and the height of a political regime that was one of the most powerful in Europe.

The Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon

With the full ticket (which is the one I recommend you buy, as it only costs two or three euros more than the one that only covers the Palace and gardens) you will have access to these two independent palaces called trianons. The style of both these palaces and the surrounding gardens is different from the main palace and gardens, so if you're thinking that visiting them is "more of the same" you're wrong.

The Grand Trianon is a baroque palace built by Louis XIV as a place of recreation and later occupied by many French monarchs and Napoleon. The decoration of this palace is exquisitely tasteful, but, between the two trianons, my favourite is the Petit Trianon.

The Petit Trianon was a gift from Louis XV to one of his mistresses, but was later used by Marie Antoinette for her own private use. The inside of the palace looks like a dolls' house, but what is most charming are its surroundings, known as the Queen's Village. With no other purpose than to serve as a decorative element for her amusement, Marie Antoinette built this miniature rural village with a mill, a farm, a lake and cottages with small vegetable gardens.

Anne's Traveller Tip

Allow plenty of time to visit the gardens. Most people concentrate on the main area in front of the palace, but if you explore a little further, you'll discover unique and surprising nooks and crannies.

Plan your visit to Versailles

Frescoes inside the Palace of Versailles
Frescoes inside the Palace of Versailles

When to go

No matter when you go to Versailles, there will be people there. The Palace is one of the most important tourist attractions in Paris and is visited by eight million tourists every year. However, it's so big that you won't feel crowded, especially if you leave the interior of the palace for the afternoon or if you go into the more hidden areas of the gardens.

Special shows

At the Palace of Versailles there is a musical show in the gardens on Tuesdays and at weekends the fountains are lit up; even if it's more crowded, it's worth visiting the complex on a weekend because the lit fountains bring the gardens to life. As for the time of year, plan your visit to Versailles for a sunny day to enjoy the long walk around the Palace.

Duration of the visit

On the day of your visit to Versailles, book your entrance ticket in advance to save time; otherwise expect a minimum two-hour queue in high season. Touring the interior of the palace will take about two hours, especially if you use the audio guide, which I recommend.

After that, visiting the gardens and the trianons can take as long as you like, but seeing the whole thing will take no less than three hours. All in all, between the trip there and back, the visit to the interior of the palace, the gardens and the trianons, seeing the Versailles complex can take you a full day.

What to bring

It is not possible to enter the palace with backpacks or large bags; you must leave them at the ticket office. Your bag must also pass through the security checkpoint. If you are going to Versailles in summer, include sunscreen in your luggage because you may get sunburnt during your visit to the gardens and, of course, don't forget your camera.

In some rooms of the palace you are not allowed to take photos or take them with flash, but the colours and vegetation you will find in the gardens are worth more than one shot. On the other hand, wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot and don't forget to bring water with you during your visit to the gardens.

Where to eat

Throughout the Palace of Versailles complex you will find different food stalls and restaurants. Can you go out to eat in the surrounding area and come back in? I don't recommend it, as you will waste unnecessary time since there are no restaurants in the vicinity that stand out for their quality or prices above those you will find inside the palace.

What you can do, and not everyone knows about it, is picnic in certain areas of the gardens, so don't hesitate if you are visiting Versailles on a day with pleasant temperatures.

Going to Versailles with children

Children get free entry to Versailles and both the palace and the gardens are perfectly set up for family visits. Outside the palace complex, children will find plenty of places to run around, but inside the palace they may get a little more tired due to the length of the tour.

Ana's Traveller Tip

If you're unsure about which day to go to Versailles, there's a musical show in the gardens on Tuesdays and the fountains are lit up at weekends.

If you are interested in the Palace of Versailles, you will also like

Nothing in Paris compares to the Palace of Versailles. In fact, the closest thing in Europe is Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. Versailles is unique, but if you want to learn more about the absolutist monarchy and the history of the French Revolution (which is what you'll learn most about on this visit) I recommend taking one of the walking tours of central Paris.

It's where you'll be told the most stories about the city's past and you have a wide variety of options which you can check out in this article I wrote on Paris Tours.

If you feel like discovering one of the many symbols of the city, I can recommend (of course) the Eiffel Tower, the Garnier Opera House or the Louvre. I've linked my articles on the subject here in case you're interested in exploring any of the options: Eiffel Tower Tickets: how to buy and prices, Paris Opera Garnier Tours and Paris Louvre Museum Tickets and Tours: how to buy, prices and discounts.

Frequently asked questions

  • Is it possible to bring food into Versailles?

    Food and drink may be brought into the outer gardens of the palace, but no food is allowed inside.

  • Is it possible to enter Versailles with a backpack?

    Luggage and large bags are not allowed inside the palace. You can bring small bags inside the palace but you must leave them in the luggage room after passing through the security checkpoint. Photography without flash is allowed inside the palace.

  • When is the best time to see the Versailles fountain shows?

    Generally, the best time to see the fountain show is during the afternoon session, where a greater number of fountains are activated at the same time.

  • Can I go to Versailles on my own?

    Yes! You can take public transport (the RER train) to Versailles and organise your visit at your leisure when you are there.