More than 10 Million tourists visit Palace of Versailles every year.
Yes, that’s right…more than 35,000 tourists visit Versailles every day.
Since it is situated 26 kms (16 Miles) outside of Paris, tourists opt for bus tours from Versailles to Paris.
All these visitors only have one question, “What is the best time to visit Palace of Versailles?”
So why does everybody want to know the best time to visit Versailles?
Here are the three reasons:
1) With more than 35,000 tourists visiting Palace of Versailles, the ticketing counters have long lines. In summers, you may even end up waiting in this line for around 90 minutes.
2) With such large numbers even if you buy online tickets for Palace of Versailles, you still have to wait at the security check line. The tourists visiting Versailles want to avoid waiting here too.
3) Versailles is beautiful and deserves to be seen in peace and made memorable through photographs. However, the same crowd jostles for space at every spot in the Versailles Estate. Making the visit, less memorable.
Our short answer: The best time to visit Palace of Versailles is after 2.30 pm when the crowd has left. You can land at the Versailles Estate at 9 am, try out the Versailles Palace Gardens and other attractions and then enter the Palace of Versailles between 2.30 to 3 pm.
For the long answer, please continue reading.
Most of the tourists visiting Versailles are based out of Paris. The trip from Paris to Versailles takes approximately 60 minutes.
Knowing the opening hours of Versailles Estate will help you plan your day trip better.
Versailles Palace opening times
The Versailles Estate is made up of many attractions.
Palace of Versailles is open from 9 am to 6.30 pm every day except Mondays. The last entry into the Palace is at 6 pm.
The Estate of Trianon, which includes the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon palaces as well as the Queen’s Hamlet opens at 12 pm.
The last admission is at 6 pm and it closes at 6.30 pm.
The Coach Gallery opens at 12.30 pm and closes at 6.30 pm.
A visit to Versailles can’t be complete without a stroll in the Gardens. They open at 8 am every day and close at 8.30 pm.
Except for the Versailles Gardens and the Versailles Park, everything else is closed on Monday.
Note: That’s why Louvre Museum is very crowded on Mondays.
How much time is needed to see Versailles?
Versailles Palace is a legacy built over 300 years. It has 2,300 rooms spread over 63,154 square meters.
This is just the covered area – and is equivalent to more than 12 football fields.
There is just too much to see at the Palace. To name a few –
– The Versailles Palace
– The Trianon Palace
– Marie-Antoinette’s Estate
– The Versailles Gardens and the Park
– The Coach Gallery
That’s why we suggest one whole day for your Versailles trip. Best rooms to see inside Versailles Palace
Best time to visit Versailles to avoid the crowd
Most Versailles guides and travel websites recommend that tourists reach Louvre at 9 am for the best Palace of Versailles experience.
Thus, everybody lands up for their tour of Versailles Estate in the morning itself.
In fact, 100s of buses full of tourists leave Paris before 10 am and reach Versailles to add to the crowd.
Once they are in Versailles, first they wait in the line to buy tickets. Next, they wait in the line for security check.
Depending on the time of the day and the season, the total waiting time (in both the lines put together) can even be as high as 3 hours.
Important: To avoid waiting in the ticketing line, you can buy online tickets. To get merged to the front of the security check line, you can buy Skip The Line online tickets. Links to buy tickets at the end of this article.
As the day progresses, these lines trickle away.
This is why you should wait until 2.30 pm to get into Palace of Versailles. This is the best time to visit Palace of Versailles.
This doesn’t mean you should reach Versailles Estate at 2.30 pm.
Here is the Versailles itinerary we suggest:
1. Buy online tickets for Versailles, so you don’t have to wait in the ticketing line. Or buy Skip the Line tickets completely minimize your waiting time.
2. Reach Versailles by 10 am
3. See the Versailles Gardens, enjoy the numerous fountains and the Coach Gallery. All these are free to enter (on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays there is a ticket to enter the Gardens, but you would have bought them online, anyway).
4. Have a picnic at Versailles.
5. At 2.30 go to Entrance ‘A’ in the Dufour Pavilion to get inside Palace of Versailles. The waiting time will be less than 15 minutes.
Best time to visit Versailles for free entry
Between the months of November to March, the best time to visit Versailles for free entry is the first Sunday of the month.
On the first Sunday of every month admission to the Estate of Versailles is free.
However, you also qualify for free entry into Versailles if you are less than 18 years old or are a European Union resident under 26 years of age.
If you qualify for free admission, there is no need to buy tickets.
Go directly to Entrance A in the Dufour Pavilion, with proof of your right to free entry and proof of identity.
Best season to visit Palace of Versailles
Even though it is crowded, the best season to visit Versailles is the summer.
If you have the option of choosing between summer and winter, go for the warmer season.
A good part of the Versailles experience is what’s outdoors – the gardens, the fountains, the groves etc. During winter, they aren’t in their best form.
Especially since France has harsh winters and the day’s lowest temperature hovers around 3 degrees Celsius (37.4 Fahrenheit).
Best time to visit Versailles for photography
Chateau de Versailles is a photographers’ dream.
Whether you are a serious or an amateur photographer, you are sure to love the Palace of Versailles.
However, taking good photos inside the Versailles Palace is quite a challenge.
Primarily because of the crowd and the number of mobiles and iPads the tourists hold over their heads even as they take photographs.
Even if you enter the Palace after 5 pm, you will still find people in your frame.
So, there is hardly a good time for photographs inside the Palace of Versailles.
Having said that, you can still take some good photographs.
1. There is a lot of artwork on the ceilings of the Palace rooms. Don’t miss them.
2. Some parts of the Versailles Palace are cordoned off. For instance, Marie Antoinette’s bedroom. Such areas allow you to take photos without other tourists in the frame.
3. Step out into the Gardens, and there are lots of amazing opportunities for both professional and amateur photographers.
Note: Since flash is not allowed inside the Palace, in the darker rooms use a high ISO setting on your camera.