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Visiting the stunning Palace of Versailles: How to make the most of your visit

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An extraordinary architectural feat, the Palace of Versailles attracts between 8 and 10 million visitors each year. Situated just 30 minutes outside Paris in the village of Versailles, this elaborate complex once thrived as the epicenter of political power for the Kingdom of France. Built in the late 1600s, the Palace of Versailles was initially constructed as a hunting lodge for King Louis XIII. In 1682, Louis XIII’s son, King Louis XIV, decided to move the royal court from the bustling city of Paris to Versailles, transforming his father’s old hunting pavilion into a magnificent castle. It wasn’t until the French Revolution, in 1789, that the royal court was forced to move back to the capitol.

Illustrating more than five centuries of French history, the Palace not only houses remarkable works of art - it stands as a work of art itself. A Palace of Versailles ticket gives you the opportunity to observe a fine example of 17th Century European architecture; the exquisite palace contains 2,300 rooms, including the famous Hall of Mirrors and the glamorous King and Queen’s apartments. Equally as impressive as the castle are the estate’s stunning gardens. Spanning over 230 acres, the Gardens of Versailles feature 50 fountains, 620 water jets, hundreds of sculptures, approximately 200,000 trees and more than 210,000 flowers.

Palace Of Versailles

Essential Information

Alhambra Palace Granada
Alhambra Palace Granada
Alhambra Palace Granada

Here is a quick list of things that should make to your notes if you are visiting the Palace Of Versailles.

Things to know

Best time to visit - Wednesdays and Thursdays during the morning hours
Suggested duration - 4 Hours
Starting Versailles tickets price - €18
Architectural style - French Baroque
UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription - 1979

Opening Hours

Tuesday to Sunday - 9 am - 6:30 pm
Closed on Monday


Hall of Mirrors
The Grand Trianon
Royal Opera
Hamlet of Marie Antoinette
Gardens of the Palace of Versailles
Royal Apartments


Place d'Armes, 78000 Versailles, France
Get There

Why Visit The Palace Of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

The glorious Versailles Palace was home to the French monarchs and was the centre of its government until the French Revolution. The history of the palace is just as complicated and intriguing as its design. So much so you can sense the grandeur in its name. The Hall of Mirrors, the Grand Trianon, Royal Opera, the royal apartments, Petit Trianon, the Hamlet of Marie Antoinette and the vast gardens of the Château have earned their place in UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Today, it is the crown of all attractions in France drawing 7,700,000 visitors worldwide, just behind the Louvre museum and Eiffel Tower. Situated just 30 km from Paris, a visit to the Palace of Versailles will give you a sneak peak into the lives of the French monarchs.

The Palace of Versailles History

The story of a hunting lodge turned into an opulent Château that made history.

Louis XIV turned his modest hunting lodge into a stunning palace. It was initially an unfit land where you could not imagine such a palace being built. There were swamps all around. The King kept buying the surrounding land until he was satisfied. Finally, after 21 years of construction, the Versailles Palace was complete under Louis XIV. For the 20,000 people who were going to reside there, the building had 700 rooms and 2,153 windows (the French loved their windows) over 67,000 square meters of floor space!

The Château underwent constant changes and expansion until the French Revolution in 1789. Many of the ornamental furniture and antiques of the Château were melted and sold to pay for war expenses. Restoration of the Château began in the early 20th century initiated by Pierre de Nolhac. Since then, the Château has been undergoing restoration to the present day. The Treaty of Versailles, the most important treaty for peace that ended World War Ⅰ was signed in 1919 in the Hall Of Mirrors making it one of the most historically important places.

Marvel at the Palace of Versailles’ Architecture

Palace of Versailles

Inspired by French Baroque architecture, Versailles Palace is engraved with multifaceted designs and embellishments. From the outside, it appears as though it is made of gold, which is true for most fittings inside. Vast emerald French and English gardens surround the Château which is located at the centre. The main palace gates are in the front of the apartments. The Trianon palaces are located beyond the royal apartments and towards the east of the Gardens.

Le Vau, the chief architect of the Château during the times of Louis XIV designed most of the Château. Hardouin-Mansart was the man behind the design of the Hall of Mirrors, the Trianon and other sparkling rooms. Le Nôtre designed most of the green landscapes. Although the three architects had contributed to the Château in different time periods, their trinity created the whole of the Château glory!

The Best Palace of Versailles Ticket Options

There are 2 types of Versailles tickets you can choose from.

  • A. Versailles Skip The Line Tickets - These tickets will help you skip the long waiting lines at the entrance and skip the lines quickly. For clarity, the distance from the gate to the Palace itself would take more than 15 minutes to cover. This ticket is also for the ones who wish to explore the palace at their own pace.
  • B. Versailles Tours - For anyone who would love to hear the secrets of the French Palace should opt for these tickets. You would be assisted by a local guide explaining what you might miss while exploring on your own. You can also enjoy the company of other fellow visitors from around the world sharing the same interest and admiration for Versailles.

Versailles Tour From Paris

A round trip from Paris to Versailles will get rid of all your transfer worries. Here are a couple of options you can choose from to tour the Palace of Versailles while also get the benefits of transfers from Paris for just a few more Euros.

Palace Of Versailles Combo Tickets

For those who are on a tight budget, a combo ticket is the way to go. Get access to not only the Palace of Versailles, but also the spectacular Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Seine River Cruise, and many others. Here are some combo tickets that make for a pefect day tour in Paris within your budget.

Navigating the Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles Entrances

The main entrance to the Palace of Versailles is through the Court of Honor (Cour d'Honneur). Upon entering the courtyard, you will find 3 entrances that take you into the Castle:

Entrance A
(at the top of the courtyard to the left)
For guests who have already purchased tickets online (this applies to all Headout tickets).

Entrance B
(at the top of the courtyard to the right)
For groups with a reservation. (If you book any Headout Guided Tours, your guide will direct you to this entrance.)

Entrance H
Reserved for guests with disabilities.

Good To Know

• If you do not purchase tickets online, then you will have to stand in line at the ticket counter to get your ticket and then enter via Gate A. The waiting time in the ticket queue can easily be anywhere from 20-40 minutes while the queue at Gate A is relatively shorter at 15-30 minutes. That's a minimum queuing up of 30 minutes.
• If you have purchased general admission tickets online, then you enter via Gate A. The wait in queue here can be anywhere from 15-30 minutes.
• With skip the line priority access tickets, you can skip the ticket queue and Gate A, and enter via Gate B. This gives you the quickest access to the Palace of Versailles, with not more than 10 minutes of queuing up.

The entrance to the Gardens can be found further left of Entrance A, in the Court of Princes. Extending beyond the main Castle and the Gardens, you will find the Grand Canal and the Park. (The Grand Canal separates the Park and the Gardens.) To the left of the Grand Canal is Marie-Antoinette’s Estate (the Petit Trianon and the Grand Trianon).

Read our detailed guide on Palace of Versailles entrances and pick the right entrance for your visit.

Layout of the Palace

The Royal Estate (Domaine) consists of five main areas:

The Palace

Get a glimpse of life during the French monarchy as you roam the Grand Apartments, Hall of Mirrors, Royal Chapel, Royal Opera, Congress Hall and mant other rooms of the Palace. Read more on the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles.

Carrosses Gallery (The Royal Stables)

Step back in time as you browse through the works showcased at the the Carrosses Gallery. Created by Louis-Philippe, the gallery houses a valuable collection of carriages, sleds, cars and harnesses.

Marie Antoinette’s Estate (Domaine de Trianon)

Visit Marie Antoinette’s Estate and tour the buildings constructed for her to escape the rigors of courtly life. Visit the discret Petit Trianon and Queen’s Hamlet, and get a glimpse into her private life.

The Gardens

Spread across hundreds of acres, roam around the serine French Gardens and admire the Versailles fountains, ponds, sculptures and groves. Read more on the Palace of Versailles Gardens and Fountains.

The Park

Situated around the Grand Canal, the Versailles Garden offers incredible views of the Gardens and Palace. Picnic on the lawn or ride around on a Segway tour as you take in the grandeur of the Royal Estate.

For additional tips on how to navigate the palace and a more detailed description of each area within the estate, check out our Palace of Versailles Entrances page.

How to Make the Most of a Trip to Versailles

Depending on your priorities - whether that be optimising your time, money or comfort - there are multiple ticket options to best suit your desires. From guided tours of the Palace of Versailles to priority access skip-the-line tickets, there’s a perfect Versailles experience for everyone.

For Those Pressed On Time

While you could easily spend an entire day roaming around the palace grounds, it is also possible to explore the most popular areas of the estate in as little as two hours. With that being said, the time it takes to tour the palace is not your biggest concern - the entrance line, on the other hand, is.

The are two solutions when it comes to avoiding the long lines. First: pre-book your tickets on-line. Second: opt for a skip-the-line ticket. For those who arrive without a ticket, there are a total of three entry lines at the Palace of Versailles: the ticket box office, the main entrance queue and the security line. The box office line can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Afterward, you will need to again queue at the main palace entrance, followed by the security check, which can collectively take another 1-3 hours. With pre-booked, skip-the-line tickets, you can avoid the hassle of waiting in long lines and maximize your time at Versailles.

Another huge time saver is to choose a guided tour of the palace. Being that the estate is so large, it’s quite easy to get a bit lost as you wander around. A professional guide will be able to take your around to all the hot spots in the most efficient manner.

For those looking to save money

The cheapest ticket possible to enter the Palace of Versailles is the basic entry ticket, available for purchase (in-person only) at the palace box office for €18. However, keep in mind that while you might save a little bit of money with this option, you’ll pay for it with time. For just €18, you can avoid the box office line and pre-purchase a basic entry ticket to Versailles on-line. Even better, at €30, you can enjoy a skip-the-line priority access ticket.

All of the tours above include an audio guide and grant access to the most popular places within the royale estate. If you prefer a Palace of Versailles tour, you will have to spend around €38.

Guided vs Self-guided tour

All self-guided tickets to the Palace of Versailles include a complimentary audio guide, available in 11 languages (Spanish, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese and Russian). For those who prefer to roam around solo, or would like to save some money, an audio guide can certainly relay the bulk of information in terms of historical facts and stories of the royal family. However, a professional guide will be able to personalize your tour by answering questions and going more into depth on the areas that most interest you. In addition, touring with a guide will help you maximize your time. The Palace grounds are no small feat to cover; a guide will save you time and ensure your tour is efficient.

Best Time To Visit Palace Of Versailles

During the spring and summer months (from April - October) a variety of musical fountain shows take place in the Gardens of Versailles on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. There are three types of shows: the Great Musical Waters, Musical Waters and the Great Nocturnal Waters.

The Great Musicals Waters take place on the weekends. A combination of music and fountain displays, witness the basins, the groves and their waters come alive to the rhythm of Baroque style music in the Gardens of Versailles. The Musical Gardens take place on Tuesdays and Fridays. With an emphasis on classical music, enjoy a mystical walk through the groves as you roam about the heart of Versailles’ French gardens.

To access the gardens and attend these shows, you will need a Versailles Passport ticket or a Versailles Guided Tour with Priority Access + Passport ticket.

Getting to the Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is located approximately 12 miles (30 minutes) West of Paris, in the village of Versailles.

Get There

By Bus: The closest bus stop is Gare Versailles Château Rive Gauche. The Palace is only 8 minutes walk from the stop.

By Train: Gare de Versailles Château Rive Gauche is the nearest train station and only a 10-minute walk to the Palace.

By Train: Gare de Versailles Château Rive Gauche is the nearest train station and only a 10-minute walk to the Palace.

By Car: Type “Palace of Versailles” on your phone’s GPS and follow the directions to the Palace.

Versailles Tour From Paris: Alternatively, you can pick one of the Versailles Tour From Paris which also includes transfers. You will save time, dime, and the efforts of choosing the right transportation since it is already taken care of.

Opening Hours Of Versailles Palace

Palace/ Castle Hours
Tues - Sun from 9AM to 6:30PM (high season) 5:30PM (low season)
Last entry to the palace is at 6pm (high season) and 5PM (low season)
Carrosses Gallery (The Royal Stables) Hours
Tues - Sun from 12:30PM to 6:30PM
Last entry is at 6PM.

Marie Antoinette’s Estate (Domaine de Trianon) Hours
Tues-Sun from 12PM to 6:30PM
Last entry is at 6PM.

The Gardens Hours
Daily from 8AM to 8:30PM
Last entry is at 7PM.

The Park Hours
Daily from 7AM to 8:30PM (last entry at 7PM)

Best Time to Visit

During high season in Paris, from April through October, it is recommended to visit the Palace early in the morning, right when it opens. It is likely the entry line will already be long; however, with skip-the-line tickets, you can enter immediately and enjoy your tour before the crowds pour in. In addition, your priority access tickets will ensure you’re among the first to go through the security line - another long wait if you arrive during busy hours. Tuesdays and weekends generally see the most traffic, especially on days of water fountain shows.

Amusing Palace Of Versailles Facts

  • Much of the silver, of which most furniture was made, were melted down in the year 1689 to pay for war expenses.
  • The most important treaty for peace that ultimately ended World War Ⅰ, the Treaty of Versailles was signed in the Hall Of Mirrors.
  • For such a Palace to be built, the land was not fit initially. The hunting lodge was situated on a narrow plateau with many stinking swamps around.
  • It was a tough challenge. From water to the ponds to the materials involved or the precision of design, nothing was easy. The place was not situated in an area where water was easily available. And to bring life to the hundreds of fountains…. One could only imagine! They created an artificial pond to draw water for the fountains. Materials required for construction also came from far places most french had not known of.
  • Only THE well dressed allowed. The Gardens of Versailles were open to all visitors but had one condition, they all must be well dressed.

FAQs About Palace Of Versailles

Palace of Versailles Guide

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