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7:00 am to 12:00 pm
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August 2017
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Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Paris

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Palace of Versailles - Tours & Tickets

Why Visit Palace of Versailles


The exquisite Palace of Versailles is one of the most extraordinary achievements in 17th century European art. Situated just 30 minutes outside Paris, in the village of Versailles, this elaborate complex once thrived as an epicenter of political power for the Kingdom of France.

Built in the late 1600s, the Palace of Versailles was initially just a hunting lodge, constructed for King Louis XIII. As the years went by, the royal family grew increasingly fond of the quaint French village. 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 complex of rooms, gardens and fountains. For nearly 100 years, a succession of kings continued to embellish the palace and reign in Versailles. It wasn’t until the French Revolution that the royal court was forced to move back to the capitol, in October of 1789.

Today, the Palace, also known as Château de Versailles, contains 2,300 rooms spread across 63,154m². 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. One of the most ornately designed rooms of all, the Hall of Mirrors features 357 mirrors, including seventeen mirror-clad arches that reflect the seventeen arcaded windows overlooking the gardens. The Versailles Palace Gardens span an impressive 250 acres, and continue to thrive as a beautifully manicured plot with 400 sculptures and 1,400 fountains.

Each year, it is estimated that approximately 5 million people visit the Palace of Versailles, and between 8 and 10 million people walks its gardens. A place of immense beauty, Versailles stands as a symbol of France’s monarchy and lives on as the location of several important peace treaty signings, including two treaties of the 1783 Peace of Paris, by which Britain recognised the independence of the US, as well as the Treaty of Versailles, which formally ended the First World War.

Demystifying the Palace of Versailles


Spread across 800 hectares, navigating the royal estate can be quite daunting. To make it much easier, we’ve broken the Palace grounds down into five main areas, so that you can easily decide which parts you’d like to visit, figure out the best time to go there, and know exactly how to get there. In addition this information will help you in choosing the right experience, as some tickets give you access to different areas.

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

Browse highlights of each section and find out the best time to visit. Please note- high season runs from April 1st to October 31st and low season from November 1st to March 31st.

1. Palace/Castle

With over 700 rooms, the Palace offers a peek into the lives of the French monarchy’s most influential figures. From the glittering Hall of Mirrors to the stunning portraits that sweep the ceilings of the Royal Apartments, tour the Palace and travel back in time.

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)

Places to visit inside the Castle
Entry to the following are included in basic entry tickets:
- The Grand Apartment of the King
- The Grand Apartment of the Queen
- The Hall of Mirrors

Some of the other areas to explore in the Castle are the Museum of History, Apartments of Mesdames, Battle Gallery, Royal Chapel, Royal Opera, Congress Hall, Marie-Antoinette’s Interior Cabinets, Favorites Apartments, The King’s Inner Apartment, The Apartments of the Dauphin and the Dauphine.

Entrance
The main entrance to the Palace of Versailles is through the Court of Honor (Cour d'Honneur). Entrance A, (at the top of the courtyard to the left), is reserved for all guests who have pre-purchased tickets online (this applies to all Headout tickets). Entrance H is reserved for guests with disabilities.

2. 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.

Hours
Tues - Sun from 12:30PM to 6:30PM
Last entry is at 6PM

Entrance
The Carrosses Gallery is located at the right side of the courtyard, across from the Castle entrance.

3. 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.

Hours
Tues - Sun from 12PM to 6:30PM
Last entry is at 6PM

Places to visit inside
- Petit Trianon
- Grand Trianon

4. The Gardens

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

Hours
Tues - Sun from 8AM to 8:30PM
Last entry is at 7PM

5. The Park

Situated around the Grand Canal, the Versailles Park 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.

Hours
Daily from 7AM to 8:30PM
Last entry is at 6PM

Places to visit inside
- The Grand Canal
- Lemon Tree Walk

Garden Shows

On select days, a variety of musical fountain shows take place in the Gardens of Versailles. 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.

1. The Great Musical Waters

Witness the basins, the groves and their waters as they come alive to the rhythm of Baroque style music in the Gardens of Versailles.

When
Saturdays & Sundays from April 1st - October 29th

Timings

  • Watering on weekends and public holidays from 11AM to 12PM and from 3:30PM to 5PM
  • Watering of the Bassin du Miroir every 10 minutes from 10AM to 7PM
  • Watering of the thicket of the Théâtre d'eau every 15 minutes from 10AM to 7PM
  • Watering of the Neptune Basin at 5:20PM

Buy one of these tickets to see these shows

2. Musical Gardens

Enjoy a musical walk through the groves as you roam about the heart of Versailles’ French gardens.

When
Tuesdays and Fridays from March 31st to October 31st

Timings

  • Watering of the Bassin du Miroir every 10 minutes from 10AM to 7PM
  • Flooding of the Bosquet du Théâtre d'Eau every 15 minutes from 10AM to 7PM

Buy one of these tickets to see these shows

3. The Great Nocturnal Waters

As night falls, be a part of the garden’s exclusive light and water spectacular and witness the finale firework show as it lights up the Grand Canal sky.

When
Every Saturday from June 17th to September 16th

Timings
From 8:30PM to 11:05PM (the grand finale firework show begins at 10:45PM)

Buy one of these tickets to see these shows
Royal Evening at Versailles Guided Tour with Great Nocturnal Waters + Transfers

Tips to Choosing the Right Experience


Approximately 8 million people visit the Palace of Versailles each year, which translates to over 22,000 per day. Depending on your priorities - whether that be optimizing your time, money or comfort - there are multiple ticket options to best suit your desires. From guided tours and packages with hotel transfers from Paris to priority access skip-the-line tickets and entrance passes with different access levels, discover your perfect experience.

Buy Tickets in Advance

Both ticket and security entry lines grow long even before the Palace opens its doors each morning. If you do not book tickets in advance, you will have to first queue at the ticket box office, (located towards the left of the courtyard). Those who have already booked tickets can head directly to the Palace entrance. If you have purchased normal entry tickets, you will need to queue at two points: first to enter the palace (Entrance A, located at the top left of the courtyard), and again to go through the security check. This can take upto 3 hours during crowded times. If you have purchased Priority Access tickets, which we highly recommend, you can save yourself the hassle of waiting in the entry line and proceed straight to the security check.

Beating the Crowds and Getting Skip the Line Tickets

With priority access skip-the-line tickets, you can enter immediately and enjoy your tour before the crowds pour in. While you will still need to pass through security (which takes between 5 to 15 minutes) you get to bypass a much longer queue of guests visiting with normal entry tickets.

Audio Guide vs Guided Tours

Audio guides are available in 11 languages (Spanish, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese and Russian) and 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.

Entry + Audio Guide Ticket Options

1. Versailles Entry Ticket with Audioguide

Includes Access to:

  • The Castle
  • The Gardens (excluding days of Garden shows)
  • The Park
  • The Carrosses Gallery
Starting from €20 →

2. Versailles Priority Access Entry with Audioguide

Includes Access to:

  • The Castle
  • The Gardens (excluding days of Garden shows)
  • The Park
  • The Carrosses Gallery
Starting from €28 →

3. Versailles All Access Passport Entry with Audioguide

Includes Access to:

  • The Castle
  • The Gardens (including days of Garden shows)
  • The Park
  • The Carrosses Gallery
  • Marie-Antoinette’s Estate (Petit and Grand Trianons)
Starting from €22 →

4. Palace of Versailles Priority Access + Passport Entry with Audioguide

Includes Access to:

  • The Castle
  • The Gardens (including days of Garden shows)
  • The Park
  • The Carrosses Gallery
  • Marie-Antoinette’s Estate (Petit and Grand Trianons)
Starting from €35 →

Guided Tour Ticket Options

5. Versailles Priority Access Guided Tour - 75 Minutes Classic

Includes Access to:

  • The Castle
  • The Gardens (excluding days of Garden shows)
  • The Park
  • The Carrosses Gallery
Starting from €38 →

6. Versailles Priority Access - Full Day Guided Tour from Paris

Includes Access to:

  • The Castle
  • The Gardens (excluding days of Garden shows)
  • The Park
  • The Carrosses Gallery
  • Option to upgrade to the Behind the Scenes Tour, which gives you access to areas of the Palace off limits to the general public.
Starting from €75 →

7. Versailles Guided Bike Tour with Priority from Paris

Includes Access to:

  • The Castle
  • The Gardens (including days of Garden shows)
  • The Park
  • The Carrosses Gallery
  • Marie-Antoinette’s Estate (Petit and Grand Trianons)
Starting from €99 →

8. Versailles Priority Access Private VIP Tour + Transfers

Includes Access to:

  • The Castle
  • The Gardens (including days of Garden shows)
  • The Park
  • The Carrosses Gallery
  • Marie-Antoinette’s Estate (Petit and Grand Trianons)
Starting from €115 →

Planning Your Time at the Palace of Versailles and Getting Around


Main Entrance to the Castle

While we highly recommend you pre-book your ticket, if you arrive without one, you will need to line up at the ticket box office to the left of the courtyard. The line here can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Afterward, you will need to again queue at the entrance and security check, which can take another 1-3 hours.

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.

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).

Making the Most of Your Time Inside the Palace

The Palace of Versailles spans over an impressive 800 hectares. To ensure you make the most of your time, it’s imperative you have a plan of action before arriving at the royal estate. To begin planning, decide whether or not you would like tour with an audio guide or a professional tour guide. In terms of information, the audio guide is quite comprehensive and despite large crowds, you will still be able to hear with the headset provided. However, in terms of navigation, it is quite beneficial to tour with a guide. He or she will be a local expert, familiar with the ins and outs of the estate grounds. You won’t have to worry about making your way from area to area, and can trust your guide to show you all the best parts in a timely manner. Another important time saver is to purchase Priority Access Tickets, which will allow you to skip the long entrance line, saving you anywhere between 2 to 4 hours of waiting. Couple your skip the line tickets with a Versailles Private VIP tour and you’re in for a real royal treatment.

With that being said, a self guided tour with an audio guide is still an incredible experience. But having an idea of what you’d like to see will help you fine tune your tour. It typically takes anywhere from 2 to 5 hours to thoroughly cover the main sites at Versailles. Begin your visit by exploring the ornate Royal Apartments. The Grand Apartment of King Louis XIV, also known as the Apartment of the Planets, features seven salons (rooms), each dedicated to a mythological deity (Saturn, Venus, Diana, Mars, Mercury, Apollo, and Jupiter). Be sure to check out the paintings in each room. In the salons at the Queen’s Apartment, admire the antique furniture and peek into the private quarters where Marie Antoinette spent most of her time. The stunning ceilings in each room are dedicated to the heroines of mythology.

Next, make your way to the glittering Hall of Mirrors. Connecting the two aisles of the palace, the Hall is 73m long, 10m wide and 12m high. Designed to protect the ornate walls and ceilings from smoke, the hall’s 357 mirrors were strategically placed to reflect the light of candles. With just a few flames, the reflection off so many mirrors was enough to light up the whole hall! The paintings on the ceiling depict military victories from the 20 first years of Louis XIV’s reign and are a tribute to the king’s power and dedication to the people. The main purpose of The Hall of Mirrors is to amaze visitors passing by and, rightfully so, has been deemed one of Louis XIV’s best contributions to the Palace. Historically, it is also where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, ending WWI.

Afterward, 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. Then, stroll along the cobblestone grounds, through the beautiful French Gardens and admire the grandeur of the Palace’s impressive architecture. Time your visit for a Saturday and witness the magical night-time Fountain Show. Accompanied by Baroque style music, it’s the perfect way to wrap up a Versailles tour.

Getting from the Palace to Marie Antoinette’s Estate (Domaine de Trianon)

It takes about 20-30 minutes to walk from the Palace to Marie-Antoinette’s Estate. If you’re short on time or prefer to not walk, you can take Petit Train. The train runs daily, starting from the backside of the Castle. It makes stops at the Grand Trianon, then the Petit Trianon and finally the Grand Canal, before returning to the Castle. Guests can get off at any point, explore the area, and catch the next train to the following stop. On days of Musical Gardens shows, the Petit Train is included in a Versailles Passport Entry ticket. Otherwise, a round-trip ticket will cost you €7.50.

Getting to the Palace of Versailles


The Château de Versailles is located approximately 12 miles (30 minutes) West of Paris, in the town of the same name.

By car
If you’re driving there by car, you’ll want to get on the Peripherique (the Paris beltway) and exit, direction, Rouen on the A13. With no traffic, you can make it to Versailles in about 20 minutes. However, that’s usually not the case. Especially on summer weekends, plan on a minimum of 45 minutes. There is metered public parking lot in front of the chateau. You pay when you exit, using either a credit card or cash.

By public transport
To reach by train, you have several options:

  • Take RER line C to Versailles Rive Gauche. From the station, it’s just a 10-minute walk to the Palace.
  • From Paris Montparnasse train station, SNCF trains arrive at Versailles Chantiers station, an 18-minute walk to the Chateau.
  • From Paris Saint Lazare train station, SNCF trains arrive at Versailles Rive Droite station, a 17-minute walk to the Château.
  • You can find RER and SNCF trains schedule at www.transilien.com.

Things to Know Before Visiting Palace of Versailles


Palace of Versailles Hours

Everyday, except Mondays, the Palace opens at 9AM and closes at 6:30PM. Last entry is at 6PM. The Trianon Estate and the Carrosses Gallery open in the afternoon, at 12PM and 12:30PM respectively. Both close at 6:30PM. The Gardens open at 8AM and the Park at 7AM; both close at 8:30PM. (Hours are subject to change during severe weather conditions.) The entire premise of the Palace of Versailles closes each year on May 1st.

When to Visit

During high season, 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.

What to Wear

Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Smart-casual attire is suggested.

Where to Eat

There are several restaurants at your disposal around the Palace grounds You may picnic at the Park, but not in the gardens. Be sure to carry water with you throughout your tour. It can get quite hot during the summer and you will be walking a lot.

Why Book With Headout


  • Incredible Selection of Versailles Palace Tickets
    From guided tours with hotel transfers from Paris to bike tours and passes with varying entry levels, discover your perfect Versailles experience.
  • Save Time
    Save anywhere between 1 to 3 hours using Priority Access and Guided tours.
  • 24-7 Help Line
    Have any questions about your experience? Customer service representatives are available around the clock.

Know Your Attraction: Palace of Versailles Quick Facts


  • The Palace of Versailles was initially built by Louis XIII in 1623 as a hunting lodge and was later enlarged into a royal palace by Louis XIV in the late 1660s.
  • All the materials used in building and decorating Versailles were made in France.
  • During Louis XIV’s reign, Versailles’ gardens featured 400 sculptures, 1,400 fountains and covered more than 30,000 acres.
  • The Palace officials perfected the art of lighting by using twenty thousand candles and glittering chandeliers to illuminate the palace during special events. They created what they called a 'corridor of light'.
  • The Treaty of Versailles, which formally ended the First World War, was signed in the Hall of Mirrors.
  • The Palace boasts around 2,143 windows, 1,252 fireplaces, and 67 staircases.
  • In 1789, the people of Paris made their stand against King Louis XVI, forcing him back to Paris and out of a life of luxury. From then on, the Palace of Versailles became known as the “cradle of liberty” (Berceau-de-la-Liberté).
  • During the French Revolution, all the pieces of art within the Palace of Versailles were transferred to the Louvre for safe keeping.

What People Are Saying About Versailles Palace


Neil B

Stellar tickets!

Super pleased with our entire experience at Versailles, thanks to Headout. Skip the line tickets were such a life saver! Definitely worth booking tickets ahead of time, otherwise, you’re looking at multiple long lines. The last thing you want to do is spend your Paris vacay in line!

Albert M

Headout’s skip the line tickets are worth it

The palace is breathtaking! I highly recommend touring the Palace with a guide. There’s so much to see and soooo much history. If you try and navigate it on your own, chances are you’ll miss some really interesting parts. We went for the full day guided tour and were happy to spend the whole day there.