The Palace of Versailles is the largest royal domain in the world and an European symbol of absolutism. 20 km southwest of Paris, the edifice is considered to be one of the most beautiful renditions of 18th century French art and emblematic for the Sun King’s luxury. The royal gardens cover 100 hectare and are unique through their geometrical patterns and fountains. 15 million people visit Versailles every year.

Palace of Versailles Video

Highlights

  • The Palace – The Palace of Versailles is considered one of the most beautiful representations of the French art of the 18th century. From a hunting lodge, it became a decadent palace and a symbol of absolutism and classicism. Among the most spectacular and popular rooms are the Hall of Mirrors, the Grand Apartments – both designed by Mansard in the 1670s for Louis XIV –the Chapel and the Opera – built in the following century for Louis XV. There are more than 6,000 paintings in the palace.

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  • The Garden – The Gardens of Versailles dates back to Louis XIV, but they were significantly enlarged and redesigned by André Le Nôtre and other architects during 4 decades in the 17th century. The defining elements of the garden are the geometry, the symmetry and the ornate fountains. The most notable ones are Latona Fountain and the Apollo Fountain.

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  • The Grand Trianon – The Trianon is a 1-storey pink marble palace dating back to the 17th century. It was used for the royal family and their friends. Notable are the geometrical gardens of flowers just outside the edifice.

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  • Marie Antoniette’s Estate – Marie Antoinette’s estate comprises of the Petit Trianon, the Gardens and the Hamlet, which was built for the queen alone. She is the only queen to have had a place designed solely after her preferences at Versailles. The place distinguishes itself through elegance and reflects Marie Antoinette’s free thinking.

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Prices

Adults Museum members, large families Minors <18yrs., EU citizens <26yrs, disabled
The Passport (all included) EUR18 EUR18 Free
The Palace EUR15 EUR13 Free
The Trianon Palaces and Marie Antoinette’s Estate EUR10 EUR6 Free
Hidden Versailles (guided tour) EUR16 EUR16 EUR16

The Palace of Versailles is included in the Paris Museum Pass. It’s advisable to purchase your ticket online, from here, as visitors tend to spend from a couple of hours to an entire day standing in the queue at the ticket office. If you have a ticket or you qualify for a fee entrance, go directly to Entrance A.

Tips

  • Interactive Map  – Versailles is huge and it can be quite tricky to get around it. Here is an interactive map so you can plan your visit in advance.
  • Mobile Application – If you have a smartphone, you can install the Gardens of Versailles application for free and use it to find out interesting information while you’re visiting.
  • Visiting Tips – Everyone goes to Versailles early in the morning to have enough time to see everything, which is why it’s then that the queues are the longest. To avoid that, you can visit the gardens first since you don’t need a tick and catch a shorter queue in the afternoon. You can enter the park for free from Rue de la Paroisse or Boulevard de la Reine.

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Transport:

  • RER (Best Option) – Take Line C1 from the city center to Versailles-Rive Gauche. The Versailles Chantier stop is too far from the castle, so don’t get off there. The trip is approximately 40 minutes. If you buy a round-trip ticket it will cost you around EUR8. If you are going to buy a transport pass such as Navigo Pass, make sure that your pass includes Zone 4 which is where Versailles is located.
  • Bus – You can take Line 171 from Pont de Sevres in Paris to Versailles-Place d’Armes. The Pont de Sevres stop is reachable by metro, Line 9.

History

Versailles dates back to 1624, when Louis XIII decided to build a hunting lodge. A few years later, he began expanding it as a castle. His successor, Louis XIV is, however, credited to have expanded the place to the dimensions of today. In 1682, the court was moved to Versailles. After a short period of abandonment that followed Louis XIV’s death, the palace went back to being a royal residence. Louis XV an Lois XVI made changes to the estate throughout the 18th century. The French Revolution left it almost destroyed. Louis-Philippe restored it in the 19th century, but by the next century, it was only rarely used for state meetings. In 1979, Versailles became an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Interesting Facts

  • Life Style – Versailles seems like a pretty luxurious place for us now, but back in the day, living here was like living in an apartment block. Every door had its key and the inhabitants had to return it when leaving. Courtiers were trading places with each other. Rank and status determined the living conditions, so most nobles lived in very small places in the palace that were anything but luxurious.
  • Smell – As fancy as Versailles may look today, until 1768 there were no functioning toilets in the palace, and even after that, only a few were built for the royal family. This aspect caused the estate to have a unique smell that was much talked about. Even if it was not allowed, the courtiers were emptying their chamber pots out the window.
  • Popular Culture – In the modern era, Versailles began hosting different events. Among them were concerts by Pink Floyd, Tina Turner, Air and Jean Michel Jarre. In 2005 the French Live 8 concert took place in the courtyard. The place has served as an inspiration for Al Stewart who wrote a song about the key moments in the history of France called “The Palace of Versailles”.

6 Reviews

  1. Tatiana Freire
    Tatiana Freire 25 Comments
     -  23 Mar 2018

    Fantastic attraction

    The palace and the garden are huge, so arrive early and save an entire day for the visit. I also suggest buying the passport, which gives access to all areas of the palace, gardens and the Trianon Estate, where Marie Antoinette stayed most of her time.

    There are bikes, rowing boats and small cars which you can rent on the gardens.
    Also it’s interest to know, if you are traveling with an infant, strollers are not allowed inside the castle!

  2. Rachelgerard
    Rachelgerard 27 Comments
     -  18 Jan 2018

    Fantastic attraction

    The Palace of Versailles is an incredible way to stroll back in time to the lavish Victorian age. Only a short trip from Paris, the rich history and exquisite architecture and furnishings here will give you and accurate depiction of vaingloriousness in 1700s France. I highly recommend seeing the Gardens around the palace because they are truly a maze of beauty. Even when at its most touristic, the grounds are so expansive that it hardly feels cramped or over run. Definitely make a visit here if you get the chance!

  3. Kyra_Kiwa
    Kyra_Kiwa 49 Comments
     -  31 Dec 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    My sister & I went to Versailles in the summer. From Paris, at least one hour by Metro and then train to Versailles. So travel time is long. But the queues are even longer. It’s best to go as early as possible.

    Once inside, it’s amazing. The Palace is huge and the grounds are even more expansive. We were there for 7 hours and were rushing through at the end. The Hall of Mirrors made me speechless. While there is food inside, the line is too long. It’s better to buy food in the Gardens.

    The Gardens is absolutely stunning. We planned it through so we get enough time for the palace & the gardens. While you can buy tickets for just the palace, I’d recommend buying tickets for both palace and gardens – it’s totally worth it. You get the Gardens and several other structures on the grounds. I would totally go back there again, if ever in Paris.

  4. ToneyM
    ToneyM
    Philippines 26 Comments
     -  28 Nov 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    Visiting the Chateau de Versailles is such a lovely experience! I went there last May 2017 with my friends. I suggest you spend one whole day there if you want to make the most out of your visit by seeing the whole estate. It is an easy commute via the RER train so it would be better to go there on your own than with a tour group to have control of your time.The estate is really huge and would take some time if you will just walk from the entrance to the Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon and the stables. There are bike and car rentals available (make sure you bring your International license or even your local license which they allow sometimes) to make your visit more convenient and to save you a lot of time. There is also a boat ride in the Grand Canal which you pay per 30min.I suggest you visit the queen's estate in the morning and then go to the main palace in the afternoon. The gardens are open even after the queen's estate and the main palace are closed so I suggest to make that the last place you explore. I would definitely recommend this place to everyone visiting France.

  5. AlanStock
    AlanStock 41 Comments
     -  05 Jun 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    Although it looks nice from the outside, and has nice gardens – its the interior of the palace that really wows. Incredible throughout, this is true royalty. The tours are good and this place has a pretty amazing history. Its extremely luxurious and lavish, you feel like you’re in a period royal drama. I’ve never been to such an impressive palace – definitely worth it even if you aren’t that interested in the history.

  6. tinbuiser 10 Comments
     -  16 Nov 2016

    Excellent

    I never really knew how grand the royals lived until I set foot on the Versailles Palace. Every room, every carpet and every mirror in this palace just speaks royalty. It is best to visit this VERY early in the morning to avoid the long queue – and you would need the entire day anyway to explore the whole palace and the gardens. I would also suggest to avail of the passport (access to the entire facility including the Trianon Palaces) to get the whole feel of being Marie Antoniette for a day!

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