Updated on 21 Oct, 2019
The Palace of Versailles, just outside of Paris, is one of the best Royal residences in the World.
More than 10 million tourists visit the Palace of Versailles every year.
That’s more than 35,000 tourists visiting Versailles every day.
In this article, we explain everything you need to know before you visit the Palace of Versailles.
1. Best time to visit
2. Tour duration
3. Free entry
4. Versailles ticket prices
5. Skip the Line vs Regular tickets
6. Palace of Versailles tickets
7. Guided tour of Versailles
8. Audio Guide
9. Opening hours
10. To Versailles by train
11. Bus tours to Versailles
12. What to see
13. Palace of Versailles map
14. Versailles Gardens
15. Photography at Versailles
Best time to visit the Palace of Versailles
The best time to visit the Palace of Versailles is after 2.30 pm when the crowd has left.
You can reach the Versailles Estate by 10 am, explore the Versailles Palace Gardens and other attractions, and then enter the Palace of Versailles between 2.30 to 3 pm.
We explain this in detail below –
Best time to visit Versailles to avoid the crowd
Most Versailles guides and travel websites recommend that tourists reach the Palace at 9 am for the best experience.
Thus, everybody lands up at the Versailles Estate in the morning itself.
100s of buses full of tourists leave Paris before 10 am and reach Versailles.
Once they are in Versailles, first, they wait in line to buy tickets.
Next, they wait in the queue for the security check.
Depending on the time and season, the total waiting time (in both the lines put together) can be as high as 3 hours.
As the day progresses, these lines trickle away.
That’s why you must wait until 2.30 pm to get into the Palace of Versailles.
That doesn’t mean you must reach Versailles Estate at 2.30 pm.
Here is the Versailles itinerary we suggest:
1. Buy regular tickets for Versailles online, so you don’t have to wait in the ticketing line.
Or if budget is not a concern, buy Skip the Line tickets to Palace of Versailles so that you can partially skip the security check line as well.
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. Or find a restaurant within the Estate (there are many!) and have your lunch.
5. At 2.30 pm, go to Entrance ‘A’ in the Dufour Pavilion to get inside the Palace of Versailles. The waiting time will be less than 15 minutes.
Note: Tuesday is a bad day to go to the Palace of Versailles because the Louvre Museum is not open, and a lot of the tourists end up in Versailles.
Best season to visit Palace of Versailles
Even though the Palace attracts a massive crowd during summer, it is still the best season to visit Versailles.
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 during the colder months, the average day’s lowest temperature hovers around 3 degrees Celsius (37.4 Fahrenheit).
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How long does the Palace of Versailles take
The Palace of Versailles is one part of the Versailles Estate, which has 2,300 rooms spread over 63,154 square meters (that’s more than 12 football fields).
Versailles Palace’s history is more than 300 years old, and lots has been built up over the years.
Besides the built-up area, there are the Versailles Gardens and the Park to explore.
To explore the Versailles Estate, which also includes the Versailles Palace, you need five to six hours.
If you include the travel time from Paris and back, you need around seven to eight hours to visit the Palace of Versailles.
Tip: Take enough breaks in between to stay rested.
Palace of Versailles free entry
Between November to March, on the first Sunday of every month, admission to the Estate of Versailles is free.
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.
Palace of Versailles ticket prices
The cheapest Palace of Versailles ticket costs 18 Euros for an adult (18+ years).
This ticket is cheap because it doesn’t get you access to specific sections of the Palace.
The most popular Palace of Versailles ticket costs 20 Euros and gets you access to everything in the Versailles Estate.
The Guided Versailles tour ticket, which helps you skip all the long lines, under the guidance of a local guide, costs 40 Euros per person.
The Versailles visit + transport from Paris combo ticket is a bit steep at 69 Euros for every adult.
Regular tickets vs Skip the Line tickets
There are two queues at the Palace of Versailles.
Line 1: Queue at the ticketing counter to buy tickets (at Entrance B)
Line 2: The line at the security check (at Entrance A)
When you buy regular tickets online, you can avoid waiting in the first line because you will already have your tickets in the email.
Depending on the day of the week and season, avoiding this line helps you save 60 to 90 minutes of waiting time.
But you must still stand in the line for security check.
When you buy the Palace of Versailles Skip the Line tickets (which also includes a guided tour), you can avoid standing in both Line 1 and Line 2.
When you have ‘Skip the Line’ Versailles tickets, security staff at the Palace of Versailles will merge you at the beginning of the security check line.
Depending on the time and day, a ‘Skip The Line’ ticket can help you save anywhere from 2 to 3 hours of waiting time.
Here are two photographs to give you an idea of the long queues to expect at the Palace of Versailles.
Palace of Versailles tickets
If you are planning to visit Versailles Palace, the number of ticket options available can be baffling.
We will take you through the various Palace of Versailles tickets and propose our recommendation – you can buy the ticket that suits you best.
The first three are regular tickets, and the last two are ‘Skip the Line’ tickets.
– Some of these tickets are seasonal, and you can’t book them during winter.
– The audio guide comes free with all these tickets.
– These are smartphone tickets, and you don’t need to take print outs. On the day of your visit, show the voucher on your mobile and walk-in.
1. Palace of Versailles tickets – Access all areas
This regular ticket gives you full access to the Palace of Versailles and hence is the best popular with visitors.
You can access all the below-listed attractions.
– The Palace (with the audio guide)
– The Trianon Palace
– Marie-Antoinette’s Estate
– The Versailles Gardens and the Park
– The Coach Gallery
– The ongoing temporary exhibitions
Adult ticket (18+ years): 21 Euros
Child ticket (0 to 17 years): Free entry
EU Citizen ticket (0 to 25 years): Free entry
Disabled ticket: Free entry
2. Palace of Versailles tickets – Palace entrance
This ticket is the cheapest Versailles entry tickets you can buy.
Visitors with only 3 to 4 hours opt for this admission ticket, making it the second most popular Versailles ticket.
With this regular Palace of Versailles ticket, you can enter:
– The Versailles Palace*
– The Versailles Gardens**
– The Coach Gallery
– The ongoing temporary exhibitions
*You get access to the most important rooms of the Palace of Versailles – Hall of Mirrors, Grand Apartments, King’s Chamber, Queen’s Chamber, Apartments of Mesdames, etc.
**On Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays – when Fountain Shows or Musical Gardens are on – you must pay a small fee at the entrance of the Gardens to enter.
This ticket doesn’t get you access to The Trianon Palace and Queen Marie-Antoinette’s Estate.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 18 Euros
Child ticket (0 to 17 years): Free entry
EU Citizen ticket (0 to 25 years): Free entry
Disabled ticket: Free entry
3. Tickets for Palace of Versailles + Fountain Shows or Musical Gardens
Besides the Versailles Palace, this regular ticket also provides you access to the Fountains Show or the Musical Gardens.
During Parisian summer – usually from early April to end of October – Musical Fountains Show and the Musical Gardens become additional attractions at the Palace of Versailles.
Since these shows are planned only on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, you can only book this ticket for these days.
What is Fountains Show at Versailles?
During the Fountains show at Versailles, the fountains in the Gardens spout water to the rhythm of the music.
That’s why it is also called the musical fountain show.
These musical displays start from 10 am and last until 7 pm.
As part of the Fountains show, you can also see what is known as ‘Water Displays.’
These happen at the three major fountains at Versailles – Mirror Fountain, Water Theatre Grove, and the Neptune fountain.
These ‘Water Displays’ also start at 10 am and go on until 7 pm.
They last for 10-15 minutes and keep getting repeated for the tourists.
What is Musical Gardens show at Versailles?
The Musical Garden show at Versailles is when you explore the French-style formal gardens designed by André Le Nôtre while listening to music.
Musical displays start at 10 am and go on until 7 pm.
Adult ticket (7+ years): 27 Euros
Child ticket (0 to 6 years): Free entry
Note: You can’t book this ticket during winter
4. Skip the Line, Guided tour of Palace of Versailles
This ticket provides three critical things you need to make your visit to Versailles Palace memorable:
– Skip the Line access, so you don’t waste your time waiting in the line
– Access to the whole Versailles Palace
– A human guide to give you inside stories
The guide takes you on a 75 minute guided tour of Palace of Versailles, after which you are free to roam around on your own.
This ticket doesn’t include transport from Paris.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 40 Euros
Youth ticket (6 to 17 years): 20 Euros
Child ticket (0 to 5 years): Free entry
5. Skip the Line, Guided tour Versailles Palace + Transport from Paris
This ticket is everything that the previous ticket offered plus transportation from Paris and back.
If you prefer luxury and don’t mind spending extra for the best possible experience, we recommend you buy this package.
The tour starts at 1.30 pm from Central Paris and ends at 7 pm – again in Paris.
At the Palace of Versailles, the guided tour lasts 2 hours.
Adult ticket (18+ years): 69 Euros
Youth ticket (6 to 17 years): 44 Euros
Child ticket (0-5 years): Free entry
Versailles Palace audio guide
All visitors above eight years qualify for the free Palace of Versailles audioguide.
Visitors can pick up these audio guides from two desks on the ground floor of the Palace.
The first desk is in the lobby of Dufour Pavillion (Entrance A), and issues audio guides every day from 9 am till 5.30 pm.
The second desk is in the lobby of the Gabriel pavilion and follows the same timing.
The Versailles audioguide is available in French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Korean, and Polish.
The Palace of Versailles’ mobile application is a good substitute for the audio guide.
Palace of Versailles hours
The Palace of Versailles is open from 9 am to 6.30 pm every day except Mondays.
The ticket office closes at 5.50 pm, and the last admission inside is at 6 pm.
The Versailles Palace is closed on 1 May every year.
However, besides the Palace of Versailles, the Versailles Estate has many other attractions.
Each of these attractions has different opening hours, separate last entry, etc.
Opening times of the Estate of Trianon
Estate of Trianon is the place the Kings of Versailles built for themselves so that they could escape the busy court life once in a while.
Situated close to the main Palace, Estate of Trianon includes the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon Palaces as well as the Queen’s Hamlet.
Estate of Trianon is also open every day except on Mondays.
Opening times: 12 pm – 6.30pm
Last admission: 6 pm
Ticket office closure: 5.50 pm
Coach Gallery hours
If you want to truly enjoy the splendor of court life during the Ancient Régime, a visit to the Coach Gallery at the Palace of Versailles is a must.
It is the collection of Majestic coaches, small carriages for the Royal kids, sedan chairs, and sleds used by the inhabitants of the Palace.
The Coach Gallery at the Palace of Versailles is open every day except on Mondays.
Opening times: 12.30 pm – 6.30 pm
Last admission: 5.45 pm
The Versailles Garden’s opening hours
One can’t visit the Palace of Versailles without taking a stroll at the Versailles Gardens.
Since the Gardens open at 8 am every day, some tourists prefer coming in early for a stroll.
The staff stops the tourists from entering the Gardens at 7 pm, and the Gardens close by 8.30 pm.
During the open hours, pedestrians can access the Gardens via four gates – the Main entrance, the Neptune gate, the Menagerie gate, and the Little Venice gate.
The fifth gate – the Dragon gate – allows visitors in from noon to 6.30 pm.
The Versailles Park’s hours
Beyond the gardens lie the Versailles Park – greenery as far as the eyes can see.
Versailles Park is open every day from 7.00 am to 8.30 pm. And the entry is free.
How to reach Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is in the city of Versailles in the Ile-de-France region of Northern France.
It is 20 Kms (12 Miles) West-Southwest of Paris.
Address: Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles, France. Get Directions
Paris to Versailles: travel duration
Most of the tourists stay in Paris and take a day trip to the Palace of Versailles.
If you take a train from Paris to Versailles, the traveling time will be around 50 minutes.
You must walk the last one kilometer (0.6 Miles) from the station, which means the time taken to your destination in Versailles will be one hour.
If you book a tour bus from Paris to Versailles Palace, it will take an hour.
However, if you take a taxi to Versailles, you can reach in approximately 45 minutes.
With approximately two hours lost in travel, visitors usually end up spending five to six hours at the Versailles Estate.
Paris to Versailles by train
Most tourists take a train from Paris to the Palace of Versailles, because that’s the fastest and the cheapest method.
There are two kinds of trains in Paris.
The Metro lines serve the city of Paris, while the RER trains serve Paris and its suburbs.
Since the Palace of Versailles is in the suburbs, you need to get the RER.
Even amongst all the RER series, RER C is the most comfortable train to the Palace of Versailles.
Check out the RER C line’s route map:
Here is a step by step guide to going from Paris to Versailles by train –
Step 1: Reach any of the Metro/RER stations mentioned on the RER C route map shown above.
If you are not sure, fire up your Google Map and identify which station is near you.
Step 2: Once you are at the station, look for the Green ticket kiosks and purchase return tickets to ‘Versailles Château Rive Gauche.’
Step 3: For each person, you will get two tickets. Keep the return ticket safely inside your wallet/bag.
Step 4: You will now need to follow the signs to the RER C platform from where the train to ‘Versailles Château Rive Gauche’ will pass through. The city of Versailles has three train stations, and Versailles Château Rive Gauche is closest to the Palace of Versailles. Their last stations identify all trains in Paris.
Step 5: Once on the right platform, look out for information on the video screen. If your train is the first one displayed on this video screen, it means it is the next train.
You must know that the destination ‘Versailles Château Rive Gauche’ is sometimes abbreviated as ‘Versailles Château RG’ or ‘Versail. Chat’.
Step 6: Once you arrive at ‘Versailles Château Rive Gauche,’ exit the station. The ticket you used to board the train will be needed to exit the station, so don’t throw it.
Step 7: Follow the crowd ahead of you, for they will be heading towards the Versailles Palace. Or open your Google Maps and get directions to the Palace of Versailles.
Step 8: Before you walk away, turn back and look at the ‘Versailles Château Rive Gauche’ station for your return journey will start from here.
Step 9: Since you already have the return tickets to Paris, get onto any train going in the direction of the French capital. All trains passing through this station go to Paris.
The last train from Versailles Rive Gauche railway station leaves at 11.55 pm.
Important: Some tourists find all of this information intimidating and expect someone to guide them through their train journey to Versailles. The Palace of Versailles by train package is perfect for them because an expert guide handles everything.
Cost of Paris to Versailles train tickets
A trip from Paris to Versailles and back by train will cost you approximately 7 Euros per person.
At this price, trains are the cheapest way to reach the Palace of Versailles.
Bus tours from Paris to Versailles
Hundreds of tour buses travel from Paris to Versailles every day, carrying thousands of tourists from all over the World.
The two Palace of Versailles tours from Paris, which we have recommended come with ‘Skip The Line’ Versailles tickets – which means, you don’t need to stand in the line at all.
A ‘Skip The Line’ ticket helps you save a lot of waiting time – sometimes even up to 3 hours.
These bus tours to Versailles start between 10 to 11 am.
The whole trip to Versailles lasts approximately seven hours.
We highly recommend bus tours to Versailles for multiple reasons –
1. You don’t have to worry about transportation to Versailles and back
2. You travel in luxury and comfort
3. You won’t have to queue up for hours to get into the Palace of Versailles
4. You will have a human guide you will make your trip memorable*
*If you opt for the guided bus tour, a local expert accompanies you. If you opt for non-guided bus tours to Versailles, you will still get an audio guide to explore the Palace.
Non-guided bus tour ticket
Adult ticket (12+ years): 62 Euros
Child ticket (3 to 11 years): 35 Euros
Infant ticket (0-2 years): Free entry
Guided bus tour ticket
Adult ticket (18+ years): 212 Euros
Child ticket (3 to 17 years): 151 Euros
Infant ticket (0-2 years): Free entry
Paris to Versailles by car
All the top car rental companies such as Avis, Hertz, Dollar, Europcar, etc. are available in Paris.
For approximately 200 Euros, you can rent out a mid-sized car for your trip from Paris to Versailles.
Parking at Versailles Estate is no issue, for there are numerous car parks.
A Versailles tour from Paris takes you on a scenic route, and a private car means you get to stop and explore on the way.
However, Paris traffic and the high cost of renting out a car for a day weigh down this option.
Paris to Versailles by Uber
If you want the luxury of private transport to Versailles but don’t want to navigate the traffic yourself, you can hire an Uber.
Traveling the 26 Kms (16 Miles) distance to Versailles in an Uber X will cost you between 40 to 60 Euros.
The ride will last 45 minutes or so, depending on the time of the day and the traffic.
If you hire an Uber to return as well, your transportation cost alone will be 80 to 120 Euros.
Recommended reading: Palace of Versailles facts
What to see inside the Palace of Versailles
At its peak, around 5000 Royals, aristocrats, and servants lived in the 2,300 rooms inside the Palace of Versailles.
This comprehensive list of the must-see rooms in the palace is a good overview of Versailles Palace interiors.
1. Hall of Mirrors
The Hall of Mirrors, the most famous room in the Versailles Palace, was built as an afterthought.
It replaced a large terrace, and a few rooms from both the King’s and the Queen’s apartments.
Nobody goes inside the Palace of Versailles and walks out without seeing the Hall of Mirrors.
It is perhaps the most beautiful room in the whole world.
2. The War Room
Master architect Hardouin Mansart started building the War Room in 1678.
Artist Le Brun painted the ceiling, depicting the victories of France.
His paintings paid tribute to the military victories, which led to the peace treaties of Nijmegen.
The decoration of the War Room was over by 1686.
3. The Peace Room
The Peace Room is exactly symmetrical to the War Room.
In here, artist Le Brun decorated the ceiling with the benefits of peace brought to Europe by France.
Initially, this room was considered part of Queen’s Apartments.
However, with time, this room got added to the suite of State Apartments.
4. The Gallery of Great Battles
The Gallery of Battles is one of the most power-packed inner rooms of the Palace of Versailles.
It covers almost the entire first floor of the South Wing of the Palace and depicts nearly 15 centuries of French military successes.
The 30 plus paintings decorating the walls of this room, light up the interiors.
5. Kings State Apartments
This group of seven rooms was used to host the French King’s official ceremonies.
Visitors who wanted to meet the King and his family waited in these rooms.
They could share a word or pass a note as the Royals crossed these rooms on their way to the chapel.
The Hercules Room
The Hercules Room was the last room to be built by King Louis XIV.
Hercules Room once used to be the Palace Chapel.
While the work on the Hercules Room was over early, the interior decoration wasn’t over until 1736.
François Lemoyne took four years to paint the ceiling depicting The Apotheosis of Hercules.
To give you an idea of the scale of this painting – it has 142 people in it.
The work had taken such a massive toll on Lemoyne that one year later, he committed suicide.
The Hall of Plenty
When the King gathered their courtiers, and other visitors in the State Apartments, Hall of Plenty served as a refreshment room.
There was plenty of coffee, wines, and liqueurs to consume.
Since the King kept his curios in this room, it has often got other nicknames too – Cabinet of Curiosities and Room of Rarities.
The Venus Room
Along with the Diana Room, the Venus Room also acted as one of the main entrances to the State Apartments.
Le Burn painted the ceiling here as well. The interiors of this room light up thanks to Venus depicted on the roof as the Goddess of Love.
During Evening gatherings, the Venus Room was the place to fill the tables with fresh flowers, and rare fresh fruits such as oranges and lemons.
The Diana Room
The highlight of this room is the Goddess of the Hunt and the Sister of Apollo on the ceiling.
Like the Venus Room, the Diana room served as a lobby to the State Apartments.
During evening get-togethers with the inner circle, this room doubled up as a Billiards Room.
The Mars Room
The Mars Room marked the start of the King’s Private Apartments.
It was also referred to and used as a Guard Room.
No wonder then, that the interiors of this room are a dedication to the God of war.
On the ceiling of the Mars Room, Claude Audran painted Mars on a chariot pulled by wolves.
When you visit this room, don’t miss out on the cornice.
Since the theme of the room is war, the cornice is decorated with a variety of helmets and military headgear.
The Mercury Room
The Mercury Room was also known as the ‘bedroom.’
The interiors of this room in the Palace of Versailles were highly decorated, but Louis XIV had to melt them down to finance the War of the League of Augsburg.
When Louis XIV died, his body was displayed in this room for eight days – from 2 to 10 September 1715.
The Apollo Room
Apollo Room was the sovereign’s Ceremonial Room.
From 1682 onwards, the Apollo Room got used as a throne room.
Since King Louis XIV had adopted the symbol of Sun, this room’s ceiling got dedicated to Apollo, the Sun God.
However, in 1689, Louis XIV’s famous silver throne was melted to pay for a war, and gilded chairs doubled up as thrones.
And the Apollo room stopped being used as the throne room.
Palace of Versailles map
Versailles Palace is the World’s largest royal domain and exploring it requires a lot of walking.
While trying to get the most out of the Versailles Estate, it is easy to quickly lose track of time and way (and in the process miss the exhibits).
That’s why we recommend a guided tour, where a local expert shows you the way.
The next best option is to save the below-given Palace of Versailles maps for ready reference during your visit. Download Print Version
Palace of Versailles gardens
The Palace of Versailles gardens is one of the most extensive gardens ever created.
These French-style formal gardens cover 800 hectares (1976 acres), including 300 hectares (741 acres) of forest and two ‘French’ gardens called ‘Petit Parc’ and the ‘Trianon.’
The Palace of Versailles Gardens took 40 years to build.
When the Versailles Gardens were complete, they included 372 statues, 55 water features, 600 fountains, and over 32 KMs (20 Miles) of canals.
Over the years, the Gardens of Versailles have become a favorite haunt for the locals, people from Paris, and visiting tourists.
Photography at Versailles Palace
Chateau de Versailles is a photographers’ dream.
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 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.
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 fantastic 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.