One of the most glittering jewels of France without a question is the Palace of Versailles (Château de Versailles in French). Once home to many kings and queens of France, the Palace now stands as a museum recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Versailles was a symbol of all that the French Revolution was against, and the Revolutions stripped it bare. Due to this, the furniture and decorations in the Palace were dispersed or destroyed. For example, tapestries were burned to recover their gold and silver thread to help fund the very expensive Revolution.
Tips & Tricks
A ticket to visit the Palace is required, I recommend purchasing the Passport ticket. This ticket gives access to the whole estate of Versailles and guarantees access to the Palace within half an hour of the selected time. I did find out that some of my friends used their Student Visa (from their U.S. Passport) and got in for FREE. The Park and Gardens are open every day. Access to the Gardens is free except on days of fountain shows.
COVID REGULATIONS: “In application of governmental instructions, the presentation of a vaccination pass is compulsory to access the palace and museums of the National Estate of Versailles for all persons over 16 years. A health pass is compulsory to access the palace and museums of the National Estate of Versailles for all persons aged 12 to 15.” – Château de Versailles website.
Tip #1: GETTING TO VERSAILLES
Paris was one of my first Metro system experiences and it’s very user-friendly.
PRO TIP: Google Maps gives you step-by-step instructions on how to get from point A to point B. Make sure you have it downloaded on your phone. Google Maps became my best friend while I was abroad for four months.
Versailles is around 10 miles (16 kilometers) from central Paris. The journey takes about 60-90 minutes by train and 20 minutes by car (depending on traffic). Taking a cab/taxi can get pricey quick. Be sure to explore your options for your budget.
The cheapest way to get to Versailles is by taking a train. There are three train stations in Versailles, the closest one to the Palace is Versailles Château Rive Gauche. Here is a helpful guide was written by the Palace on how to get there using a train.
Fortunately, my friend and I were able to secure a free ride to Versailles from the amazing hostel we stayed at. St. Christopher’s Inn – Paris Canal Hostel was my first hostel experience and I have nothing but great things to say about this place! I’m not sure if we were just super lucky or if they offer this all the time but we visited in non-peak season so that might have been a contributing factor.
Tip #2: GO EARLY
The Palace and the estate of Trianon are open every day except for Mondays. The Palace opens at 9:00 am, the estate of Trianon opens at noon.
If this is your first time visiting Paris/Versailles, you will notice that all of the major museums and architectures will have security checkpoints or armed guards. To ensure the safety of its visitors, the Palace of Versailles has strictly applied security measures decided by the French authorities in the aftermath of the Paris Attacks of 2015. Visitors of the Palace are requested to not bring large bags or suitcases.
Our driver picked my friend and me up from our hostel at 7:00 AM. We wanted to make sure we would avoid any lines and also catch some amazing photos beforehand. We arrived at the Gates outside the Palace around 7:30 where we then had to go through a security checkpoint. It went by fairly quickly as we were one of the first ones there. Just imagine mini airport security or something similar to security on a cruise ship after being in port. After taking some incredible photos outside the Palace we entered the Palace a little after 9:00 AM, most exhibits were just being opened and we were the first to be there. It felt like we lived there, being the only ones here. This was one of my favorite parts of the day trip!
PRO TIP: go to the Hall of Mirrors RIGHT AWAY! You’ll be able to capture some incredible photos as if you rented the Palace just for yourself.
Tip #3: DOWNLOAD THE APP
Audio Guides are loaned for FREE to all visitors. The guide is available in 10 different languages so no need to be fluent in French. Here are a few more helpful FAQs to any other questions you may have.
In order to reduce your waiting time at the audioguide desk, I recommend downloading the mobile app on your phone. Again, completely FREE, it contains all the audio tours, an interactive map, and visitor information.
PRO TIP: More often than not, you are typically given a pair of cheap free headphones with any audio guide. However, I always carried around my Apple Earpods (or any headphones with a “normal” tip) just out of comfort and having a quality product that I was able to hear properly.
Tip #4: BOOK A BIKE TOUR OF THE GARDENS
If you’re looking for a great way to explore the Palace and Gardens of Versailles I HIGHLY recommend booking a Versailles Guided Bike and Palace Tour. This is an excellent way to spend a whole day immersing yourself into what it would have been like to live at the Palace.
Want to keep it on the budget-friendly side? Since the Garden has free entry (except for days of fountain shows), you can rent a bike directly from Versailles for as little as a half-hour up to eight hours.
PRO TIP: I always loved booking guided tours versus self-guided audio guide tours. I found I was always able to learn so much more and be able to ask the tour guide expert any random questions I might have throughout the day.
Enjoy your amazing Day Trip from Paris to the Palace of Versailles! If you have any questions or want to chat more before your trip, please reach out!