Palace of Versailles gardens is one of the largest gardens ever created.
Work on the gardens started at the same time as the work on the Palace of Versailles and lasted for around 40 years.
When the Versailles Gardens were complete, they included 372 statues, 55 fountains, and over 32 KMs (20 Miles) of canals.
Over the years, the Gardens of Versailles have become a popular haunt for the locals, people from Paris and visiting tourists.
Gardens of Versailles FAQs
Tourists planning a trip to the Versailles Gardens have a lot of doubts and questions.
We try to answer a few of these concerns –
The Versailles Park is the large expanse of area located around the Grand Canal. It is accessible free of charge all through the year.
However, the Versailles Gardens is the area scattered with flowers and fountains and statues close to the Palace of Versailles.
During the high season (Apr to Oct) the Gardens open at 8 am and close at 8.30 pm and during the low seasons (Nov to Mar) it closes early at 6 pm.
The Versailles Park also has the same timing.
The Palace gardens remain open seven days a week, and most of the time you can enter for free.
However, there are some days when you are expected to pay to enter the Palace Gardens.
During Parisian summer – from 27 March to 30 October – Musical Fountains shows and the Musical Gardens become additional attractions at the Palace of Versailles Gardens.
During these days you are expected to pay a small fee to enter the Gardens.
If you only want to access the Versailles Gardens, you don’t need to wait in any queue.
You can quickly enter the gardens from the left side of the Versailles Palace. There is hardly any line at this entrance.
But, if you wish to see the Palace of Versailles, you will have to stand in a long line (if you buy your Versailles tickets online, you don’t wait as much).
No, you don’t have to pay if you only want to see the Versailles Gardens.
However, on special days – when the Musical Garden and Musical Fountain Shows are on, you will have to pay to enter the garden.
On days when Musical Fountain Show is scheduled, the cost of Versailles Gardens ticket is 9.5 Euros for regular visitors.
A discounted rate of 8 Euros applies to youth aged 6 to 17 years, students and disabled visitors with one carer.
On days when Musical Garden shows are scheduled, the price of the Palace of Versailles gardens ticket is 8.50 Euros for regular visitors.
Visitors aged 6 to 17 pay, students and disabled visitors pay a reduced ticket price of 7.50 Euros.
Note: To buy the ticket which gives you access to Palace of Versailles and the Music Gardens and Fountains, click here.
If you only want to access the Versailles gardens, don’t bother buying them online.
Land up at the Versailles Estate and buy the tickets at the entrance of the Gardens – from the Palace by the Princes’ Courtyard or from the Park by the Queen Gate.
If you want to explore everything in the Versailles Estate, check out the available ticket options
There is a slight difference between the Musical garden and Musical Fountain.
The musical garden is when there is music playing in the garden, and musical fountain is a show in which all the fountains are switched on along with the music, and there is a synchronisation between the fountains and the music being played.
Be aware that you have to pay charges on both the days for entering the garden.
These shows usually are planned for Saturdays and Sundays from the start of April to end of October, every year.
And on Tuesdays from mid-May to end of June – this is to encourage additional tourists to check out the gardens. Book tickets now
Yes, you can visit the gardens before you visit Versailles Palace.
In fact, you can directly go to the gardens when you arrive at the Palace grounds.
All you have to do is head towards the top left-hand side of the Cour d’Honneur and then enter into the Courtyard of the Princess.
Versailles Gardens is open every day from 8 am to 8.30 pm (6 pm in winters), and you can enter for free on Mondays as well.
During extreme weather such as snow and violent winds, access to the Gardens is blocked.
The last admission to the Versailles gardens is at 7.30 pm (5.30 pm in winters).
No, you are not allowed to re-enter the Palace of Versailles.
This is why it is best to land up early, explore the Gardens and then get into the Palace.
No, you are not allowed to take your pets inside the Gardens of Versailles.
However, you can take your pets to the Versailles Park as long as they are on a leash.
Yes, you can leave the garden grounds and return whenever you want.
However, if it is one of those special days when visitors have to buy tickets to enter, you must keep your ticket with you for re-entry.
No, you can’t rent a bike to explore the Palace of Versailles gardens.
However, you can rent an electric vehicle (Golf buggy) to go around the Gardens.
It will cost you 34 Euros per vehicle per hour. After that, for every additional 15 minutes it will cost you 8.50 Euros.
Four visitors are allowed per vehicle.
Yes, you can visit the Versailles Gardens in winters too.
In winters, you won’t see many visitors because of chilly and cold weather, but the garden will still appear incredible.
The statues in the garden will be covered, and the fountains will be switched off, but it will still be mesmerising.
Go ahead, book your Palace of Versailles tickets now!
Versailles Garden tickets
Versailles Gardens are part of the Versailles Estate.
Since Versailles Estate has many things to see, the tickets are available in many combinations.
Each of these tickets include entry to the Versailles Gardens.
Some of the tickets even include transport from Paris.
1. Palace of Versailles tickets
With this ticket, you get access to the Palace of Versailles, including the Grand Apartments, Hall of Mirrors, King’s Chamber, Queen’s Chamber and Apartments of Mesdames.
Once you are done with the Palace, you can walk into the Gardens.
2. Tickets to Palace of Versailles + additional sites
This ticket is everything the previous ticket offers plus more.
Besides everything in the Palace of Versailles, with this access ticket, you can also explore the Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate.
Access to the Versailles Gardens is also included.
3. Tickets to Palace + Fountain Shows or Musical Gardens
If the focus of your visit to the Palace of Versailles is the gardens, we recommend this ticket.
This ticket can only be booked on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday during the summer months when the Fountain Shows or Musical Gardens are on.
4. Guided tour of Palace of Versailles
This is a guided tour, so you get into the Palace of Versailles through the priority entrance (and skip all the lines).
Once the guide has taken you around for 75 minutes, you are free to hang around in the Palace or walk up to the gardens for a leisurely walk.
5. Guided tour of Palace of Versailles + transport from Paris
If you can’t manage your own transport from Paris to Versailles, we recommend this tour.
This ticket offers you a guide and a luxury coach, who pick you up from a central location in Paris and after your Versailles tour is over drop you back.
The guide takes you around the Palace for around two hours, after which you are free to explore the Versailles gardens.
History of Versailles Gardens
While planning the Palace of Versailles, Louis XIV gave equal importance to the garden around it.
He handed over the task of landscaping and the garden around the Palace to French landscape architect called André Le Nôtre.
The landscape architect was also given the title Controller General of the King’s Garden.
When the work had begun, the ground around the Palace of Versailles was just meadows and forests.
This meant, double the work.
Le Nôtre began revamping the grounds of Versailles in 1662.
His design for the garden had an east-west axis forming a crucifix. He added two formal French gardens, close to the Palace.
Even though André Le Nôtre handled every aspect of the work on the gardens, the King himself reviewed every detail.
Creating the Garden of Versailles was a monumental task.
The Earth had to be dug up to level the ground, the design partitions had to be made, the fountains and canals had to be dug up and filled with water, the Orangery was to be built.
Appropriate trees had to be imported from different parts of France and re-settled in the Garden of Versailles.
No wonder, it took André Le Nôtre 40 years to give it the present-day look.
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Gardens of Versailles facts
Here are some interesting facts about the Versailles Gardens.
1. Andre Le Notre had trained at Les Tuileries garden
Le Notre wasn’t new to working with the Royalty. He had started his career working for Gaston of Orleans, Louis XIV’s uncle.
He was born into a family of gardeners, who had been working for the Kings for the last 100 years.
In fact, he had trained at the garden of Les Tuileries near Louvre Palace (which is now the Louvre Museum).
2. One-third of the budget was spent on fountains
Yes, that’s right. King Louis XIV had allocated one-third of the total budget of the Palace of Versailles to the fountains in the garden.
The Gardens of Versailles have 11 main fountains. These fountains are built around Roman and Greek mythology themes.
During your visit, don’t miss out on the four seasons fountains, Fight of the Animals fountain, Dragon fountain, Latona’s fountain, Apollo’s fountain etc.
3. Garden of Versailles has a 1-mile long canal
Versailles Gardens includes a large canal 1.6 Kms (1 Mile) long and 62 meters (203 feet) wide.
This Versailles canal took 11 years to complete – from 1668 to 1679.
This canal is so big that the Kings sailed small boats on this water body.
In winter the frozen canal was used for skating and sledding.
4. Venice gifted two Gondolas to the French King
In 1674, the Republic of Venice gifted the King two gondolas and four gondoliers.
Apparently, Venice wanted the King to make full use of the long canal in the Palace of Versailles gardens.
The Italian gondoliers were housed in buildings at the end of the Canal.
That’s why this part of the Palace of Versailles was also referred to as ‘Little Venice’.
5. Versailles Garden has Europe’s largest Orangery
An Orangery is a place where orange trees go to survive the winter.
In the days of King Louis XIV – the King who built Versailles – it was good manners to gift the King one’s own orange trees.
Besides, the King had also obtained a lot of orange trees from Portugal, Spain, and Italy for his garden.
These orange trees were also accompanied by Lemon, Oleander, Palm, and Pomegranate trees.
These trees didn’t do well in winter and needed warmer conditions.
That’s why the King commissioned architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart to build an Orangery in the Palace gardens.
This Orangery is 150 meters long with a 13-meter-high vaulted ceiling. It has 4 to 5-meter walls to keep the cold out.
6. Palace of Versailles Gardens stank so much that people fell ill
Along with the Palace of Versailles, even the gardens were open to the public. Anybody could walk in and enjoy the beauty of the gardens.
However, in the 17th century, the Palace of Versailles gardens had a very strong smell which overpowered the visitors.
Apparently, the combined smell of all the flowers and trees was so strong that the visitors fell ill.
Madame de Maintenon wrote in a letter dated Aug. 8, 1689: “The tuberoses drive us away from Trianon every evening. The excess of fragrance causes men and women to feel ill.”
7. Fountains still use the 300-year-old hydraulic systems
Palace of Versailles gardens has numerous fountains.
These fountains jet water high up into the air thus enthralling the public and the special guests who come to see the spectacle.
Even today, many of the fountains use the same hydraulic systems from over 300 years ago to enthrall the people who visit in droves.
8. King Louis XIV had his own fruit and vegetable garden
Louis XIV had a fruit and vegetable garden built for himself as part of the Versailles gardens.
He loved having fresh fruits and vegetables on his dining table daily, and that’s why had requested La Quintinie to create a separate garden.
The garden was called ‘Potager du Roi’ and is today open to tourists.
The King loved gardening and visited this vegetable garden often.
In fact, he would also bring along visiting dignitaries to show off his gardening exploits.
9. Harry Potter has a connection with Gardens of Versailles
Want to know what’s the connection between Harry Potter and the Gardens of Versailles?
It is Alan Rickman.
British actor Alan Rickman was talented wizard Snape in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
In 2014, he directed a well-received movie called ‘A Little Chaos‘ based in Versailles.
The movie was about two talented landscape artists who fall in love while building a garden in King Louis XIV’s Palace at Versailles.
10. Every 100 years Versailles Garden is replanted
The Versailles Garden is replanted once every 100 years to ensure the plants and trees stay in place and stick to the intended design.
Louis XVI became the King in May 1774 and replanted all the trees immediately after.
The next replanting was done by Napoleon Bonaparte when he was the Emperor of the French from 1852 to 1870.
In Dec 1999, a massive hurricane hit France and the Palace of Versailles gardens suffered serious damage. More than 10,000 of the 200,000 trees were affected.
The third replanting was initiated after this devastation.