Looking for a day trip from the city of Paris – might I suggest a trip to The Palace of Versailles. The Palace of Versailles is roughly a 40 minute trip from Paris by way of the RER C from Saint-Michel station, stop at Versailles Rive Gauche. For one to appreciate the Palace in its current state, it is important to know the Palaces history. The history is best outlined on the Palaces official site.Take a moment to read out the history prior to visiting.
Some things to know when planning your trip:
- The Palace is open every day except on Mondays from 9:00 am, but the estate of Trianon and the Coach Gallery only open in the afternoon.
- The Park and Gardens are open every day. Access to the Gardens is free except on days of fountains shows.
- You can access the estate of Trianon through the Gardens or through the city.
- The Versailles Estate is open and free of charge to visitors on the first Sunday of the month from November to March. (while this can sound appealing know that it brings larger than normal crowds)
- When looking at ticket options: I suggest the Passport ticket – it grants admission to the entire estate of Versailles including the palace, estate of Trianon (the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet), the gardens and temporary exhibitions.
- Looking to avoid lines (trust me they have been insane every time I have visited) consider buying a Passport ticket with timed entry
There is more to visit than just the initial Palace (thought that is quite big at 721000 square feet & an estimated 2600 rooms) the grounds of the estate (1976 acres) including the gardens, the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet are just a few. Visitors will be given a map and have the option to walk – but will also have the option to take a train (seen above left). Trains every 10, 15 or 20 minutes (depending on the season) and allow visitors to hop on and off at the various stops. Another option is a golf cart; we opt’d for this with another couple during our most recent visit.(above left is a photo we snapped) This golf cart comes with an audio guide & map- allowing you to tailor your visit to what you would like to see.
So what are some of the must sees during a visit to The Palace of Versailles? Of course this will differ depending on who you will ask! Let me start with the main Palace. I suggest getting the audio guide and spending around 1-2 hours with it meandering the Palace. Take time to visit the Gallery of the History of the Palace, the Kings State Apartments, the infamous Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Chapel (see above left), Hall of Great Battles (the size of art is true amazing) and gardens.
While the above is the bulk of the tour – I highly encourage you to also visit the estate of Trianon – the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet. The details at every turn are truly beautiful – just remember photographs without a flash are permitted, but selfie sticks are not allowed.
If you are looking to eat there are several options on the property, you can learn about those here – but my favorite of which is a lunch break in the park with an outdoor picnic.
Another option which we had the unique opportunity to do during for our last visit is a Private Guided tour through the official Versailles ticket office. Our friend Lauren of Aspiring Kennedy organized it for the amazing group above and it allowed us to see the private kings’ apartments as well as the opera hall (it typically includes the Chapel but this was under construction). More to come on the private tour in a seperate post (I will update and link here upon completion)