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A Day Trip To Versailles: Complete Guide & Visitor Tips

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This article is a guest post written by Abigail Dalton.

Are you wondering if you should take a day trip to Versailles? Well, we just visited this incredible place, and it’s definitely somewhere you should be adding to your Paris itinerary. It’s absolutely mind-blowing.

To be honest, a visit to Versailles Palace was not on our agenda, but the opportunity arose, and we decided to make it the last stop on our road trip before heading home. At the start of our trip, we visited Strasbourg and cruised around Alsaces’s wine region, but it never crossed our minds we would be ending the trip at this gorgeous site.

We’ve been to Paris before but didn’t manage to visit and so on this trip, and since it was our last stop in France, we were keen to make the most of our day out at Versailles Palace. And we did, even though it was rainy and windy.

In this article, I’m going to share everything we learned from our day trip to Versailles so you can plan an incredible visit as well.

Abigail is the owner and creator behind I’m Going On An Adventure. She focuses on world travel and outdoor adventure, giving first-hand experiences to help her readers plan their perfect travel and make the best memories.

Close-up of the ornate golden gates at the entrance of Versailles
The Gates of the Château de Versailles

Is A Day Trip To The Palace Of Versailles Worth It?

Even though we visited in mid-November on a cloudy and windy day, I genuinely enjoyed our day trip to Versailles. It was an attraction I have wanted to visit for a while now, having heard and read some interesting articles and seen many beautiful photos. 

You’ll find its sheer size quite breathtaking, along with the decor and manicured gardens. It was a lovely visit where we were able to explore the palace and gardens and learn about the French aristocracy. It’s certainly a place which would appeal if you’re looking for a blend of history and grandeur. 

I found the palace stunning, rooms like the Hall of Mirrors and the Apartments of Mesdames being my favourites. These are filled with intricate details, and if you get the audio guide (I recommend you do) you’ll learn a great deal about how daily life for these royals was carried out. 

Hall of Mirrors in Versailles with its grand chandeliers and reflective surfaces: versailles from paris day trip
The Hall of Mirrors in the Versailles Castles

It’s a destination for anyone who has a love for French culture, architecture and royal history.

For us, the vibe was just fantastic, even in early winter. It was still busy within the palace but not too bad, and although the gardens were not at their prettiest, it was nice to walk around and not be swamped by tourists.

It’s a superb choice for a day trip and promises a mix of awe and enjoyment, and since it’s super easy to get from Paris to Versailles, a visit can easily be added to any Paris itinerary.   

Best Day Trips From Paris To Versailles

Although we didn’t visit from Paris, most people enjoy day trips from the capital. It’s possible to book anything from full-day guided tours and skip-the-line tickets to basic entrance. However, it’s important to pre-book your visit, even in low season. (Check availabilities here)

With this in mind and since we loved our visit, I wanted to highlight the top three Versailles day trips to help you plan whether you’re coming from Paris or not.

Intricate window and wall frescoes and artwork inside the Palace of Versailles
View from the Castle over the Gardens

About the Versailles Estate

The Versailles Estate, which is generally what people refer to when discussing Versailles, comprises three main sections:

  1. the Palace of Versailles
  2. the Gardens
  3. & the Trianon Estate

Its history is marked by significant events over the centuries. For instance, the Hall of Mirrors witnessed the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, formally concluding World War I – an interesting fact we discovered during our visit.

It’s facts like these we absolutely love learning about, and Versailles is full of them.

The palace, initially a hunting lodge constructed in 1624, underwent a transformation in 1661 under Louis XIV, reflecting the absolute power of the French monarchy.  I previously mentioned its size, but its opulence is also breathtaking…it’s no wonder the French revolted.

Ceiling details at the Versailles Castles
The ceiling in one of the many halls at the Versailles Castle

Architect Louis Le Vau, landscape architect Andre Le Notre, and painter-decorator Charles Le Brun collaborated to bring Louis XIV’s vision to life, completing the palace in 1682.

The 18th century witnessed expansions, including the Petit Trianon (residence of Marie Antoinette) and the Queen’s Hamlet. Yet, it also experienced turbulent times with the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789. The royal family left Versailles, and the palace underwent various repurposing.

Today, Versailles holds UNESCO World Heritage status, attracting visitors globally. Its rich history, from royal decadence to revolutionary upheavals, adds a layer of intrigue to an iconic site.

Grand Trianon Marble Facade
The Marble Facades at the Grand Trianon

Overview: A Day Trip To Versailles Palace

Time you should plan for your visit: 6 Hours

Cost: Passport €21.50 (recommended entrance-only ticket option, book here) + Audio Guide €5

Overall, you can expect to find a lavish and well-kept royal palace turned museum with grand formal gardens. Inside, you’ll wander through rooms filled with centuries-old furniture, stone statues, paintings, intricate objects and historic artefacts. 

Throughout the estate, there are information plaques providing details and usage of each chamber. Whether it be the royal apartments or galleries showcasing the history of the palace. 

When planning your day trip to Versailles, you’ll need to consider a few things. 

  • Ensure you allocate enough time to explore the grounds, given the vastness of both the palace and the gardens. We spent a full day walking around. 
  • With that said, remember to wear comfortable walking shoes as you’ll be covering a significant amount of ground. (You can book a Golf Cart Tour here)
  • Take a look at the timetable for special events like the Musical Fountains Show or Musical Gardens to have the best experience. 
  • Consider grabbing a guidebook or selecting an audio guide to get a better understanding of the history that Versailles presents.
  • Don’t forget to pick up a map at the entrance!
View of the entrance of the Castle Versailles, getting to the palace of versailles from paris
The Entrance of the Versailles Palace

Dates and Opening Times

  • The Palace and the Estate of Trianon are open every day except on Mondays. 

  • The Palace opens from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm (6:30 pm during high season)
  • The Estate of Trianon opens from 12:00 pm to 5:30 pm. (6:30 pm during high season)
  • The Gardens are open daily from 8.00 am – 6.00 pm – (8:30 pm in high season)

High season runs from 1st of April to 31st of October, Low season from 1st of November to 31st of March.

#1 Visit The Palace Of Versailles

The Palace has two accessible levels and although not all areas are open to the public, there is enough on-show to keep you busy for a few hours. Especially if you like to absorb all the information. 

For us, we spent just over two hours inside the Palace. We do enjoy our history and purchased the audio guide, but I will say that towards the end it does become rather repetitive. We are also not huge fans of art, and so moved quicker through the galleries.

There is a route to follow, colour-coded and easy to navigate. I recommend following this route. 

You will start on the ground level in the Dauphin’s Apartment (green) before entering the Gallery of the History of the Palace (purple).

The Art Galeries of the Chateau de Versailles
Gallery at the Versailly Castle

On the second level, you will start at Louis XIV Rooms (orange) before moving on to the Hall of Mirrors (red) and finally, the Gallery of Battles (blue). There are a few other rooms within these sections as well.

I enjoyed the Dauphin’s Apartments, the Apartments of Mesdames and the Hall of Mirrors the most. By the end, we were ready to explore the gardens and get some fresh air.

#2 Explore The Gardens of Versailles

Note: the gardens are free of charge from November to March

The gardens and groves are wonderfully manicured and even in winter were lovely to walk around. 

The Gardens of Versailles are incredibly vast! We didn’t walk around their entirety, as it would take hours, if not days. However, there is a route through them, passing the Grand Canal, to the estate of Trianon.

Most visitors will follow this route however I urge you to explore further, especially around the groves as there are many hidden fountains.

The largest is Neptune Fountain which has fountain shows during the summer alongside the Mirror Pool, Apollo’s Fountain, and Latona’s Fountain among others.

The Garden of Versailles with the Castle in the backdrop
French Garden at the Château de Versailles

#3 Discover The Estate Of Trianon

The Estate of Trianon is a separate estate which was used as Louis XIV’s retreat to escape the pomp of court. There are three buildings located inside: the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet.

The whole estate is much more modest in comparison to the palace. Although the Grand Trianon still showcases a pink-marble facade. It served as the meeting place for Louis XIV and his lover Madame de Montespan. 

The Petit Trianon which was later inhabited by Marie Antoinette exudes a more intimate charm. It’s surrounded by English-style gardens, which you can wander around to reach the Queen’s Hamlet.

A surprise for us – it resembles more rustic farmhouse buildings than those fit for royalty.  

The estate therefore offers a glimpse into the private lives of royalty, surrounded by lovely gardens and picturesque lakes.

The Queens Hamlet - Le Hameau de Marie Antoinette
The Hameau de Marie Antoinette – the Queens Hamlet in Versailles

How To Get To Versailles?

There are many ways of getting to the Palace of Versailles, whether you’re coming from Paris or from another direction.

However, for the purpose of this article, I’m going to discuss getting to the Palace of Versailles from Paris. It’s possible to reach Versailles by train, car, and bus, or you can choose a guided tour. 

If you’re wondering how far the Palace of Versailles is from Paris, it’s between 20 min and 1h hours (by train). However, this can differ depending on where you depart from in Paris. 

#1 Join a Guided Tour

One of the best ways to take a day trip to Versailles is on a guided tour. Booking a tour gives you an easy and informative journey with a knowledgeable guide who will be able to provide historical insights while you explore. Personally, I enjoy these tours when I want a stress-free option.

It’s possible to arrange a guided tour from Paris which will include transport and expenses, or there are options to join tours at the Palace if you’re already in Versailles.

  • From Paris: Transfer to Versailles with Skip the Line Tour & Garden Access (book here)
  • From Versailles: Skip the Line Tour of Palace and Garden Acess (book here)
  • Time Saver: Combine Versailles with the Gardens in Giverny – More Info here

#2 Take the Train from Paris to Versailles

The most popular way to reach Versailles if you choose not to join a tour is to hop on the train. From Paris, it will take about 40 minutes. At most, it will take you 1.5 hours to reach Versailles, depending on where you are traveling from in Paris.

It’s quick and convenient, and that’s why day trips to Versailles from Paris are super popular!

You have three options travelling to Versailles by train: 

  • The RER C train line (stops e.g., at the Eiffel Tower, St. Michel and Musée d’Orsay)
  • The train line L (starting at Saint Lazare)
  • The train line N (starting in the south of Paris at Montparnasse)

You can expect to pay around €7 – 10€ for a round trip. 

RER C stop at the Eiffel Tower in Paris
The RER is the suburb train in Paris

#3 Take the bus to Versailles

If you prefer a more scenic route then jumping on a bus might be a good option for you, although it’s not the fastest route. It does, however, provide a relaxed journey, allowing you to enjoy the surroundings and get a glimpse of suburban life outside Paris.

There are regular buses between Paris and Versailles. The most popular starting point is from the Pont de Sèvres bus stop in Paris — RATP bus line 171 which runs every 15–20 minutes — to the Place d’Armes Versailles bus stop and costs €4. 

#4 Drive to Paris in your Car

The fastest road connection between Paris and Versailles is via the N118 and the A86. Departing from the heart of Paris, travel west along the Seine using the D910 until reaching Pont de Sevres. Cross the bridge and stay to the left to proceed onto N118, before continuing on A86.

Simply follow the indicated signage, and in less than 40 minutes, you’ll arrive at the Palace of Versailles. Just be aware the traveling time can vary depending on rush hours.

#5 Take a Taxi (Uber)

If you are in a group and plan to travel to Versailles for around €60 you can book a taxi to get you there in 40 minutes!

Statues and sculptures adorning the indoor spaces of Versailles
The Château de Versailles

Best Tips On Visiting Versailles

  • Time it Right: Mornings and weekdays are your best bet to avoid the crowds, although it’s busy throughout the year, winter is quieter. Make sure you check the website and official schedule for opening times.
  • Garden Adventures: It’s not only the palace which is stunning, you’ll love exploring the Gardens of Versailles as well. Set aside a couple of hours to wander around the groves and fountains and if you visit in Summer, there are Fountain Shows and Musical Garden events.
  • Joyride in a Golf Cart: We didn’t do it, but for €42 for the hour you can rent a golf cart and ride around the estate. It looked like a fun way to visit the Trianon Estate and discover more of the Gardens within the royal estate.
  • Comfy Shoes are Key: Versailles is a walking attraction where you’ll be on your feet for most of the day, so it’s super important to wear comfy shoes.
  • Check for Special Events: Before you book your day trip to Versailles, suss out any exhibitions or events. Temporary exhibits often reveal hidden gems of history or art.
  • Take a Packed Lunch: If you’re looking to save a few bucks, then consider taking snacks with you. Most of the restaurants within the estate are rather pricey, although there are a few affordable options.
Louis XIV Rooms in the Castle of Versailles with Velvet curtains
Louis XIV Rooms in the Castle of Versailles

Where To Eat In Versailles

Since you’ll be spending most of the day at Versailles you’ll be happy to know that there are loads of places to eat within the grounds. Below are a handful of popular restaurants to help you plan your day trip (but there are more!).

Picnic – Free

You can bring your own food and enjoy a picnic in the park. The gardens are open every day from 8:00 am to 8:30 pm in the high season (April to October) and 8:00 am to 6:00 pm in the low season (November to March).

Tip: The Marché Notre Dame in Versailles is a lovely place to stock up on food for your picnic. The market halls are open Tuesday to Sunday. The outside market is open Tuesday, Friday and Sunday mornings.

Restaurant Angelina – Expensive

The restaurant Angelina is located at the end of the palace tour/route on the first floor. It was busy when we passed with a long queue already forming. 

It’s a tearoom which offers sweet and savoury dishes and is open from Tuesday to Friday, 10 am to 5.30 pm in high season (April to October) and 9:30 am to 5 pm in low season (November to March). Saturday to Sunday, 10 am to 6.30 pm, closed on 1 May, 25 December and 1 January.

La Girandole – Mid-Range

In the heart of the Gardens, La Gironde looked like a nice place for breakfast, lunch, or a snack. It has a terrace overlooking the grounds as well, if you visit on a sunny day and want a delightful view. 

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm, and closed on Monday. (Annual closure from 8 to 28 January 2024).

Le Daupin in the Jardin de Versailles
You find several restaurants on the castle grounds

Le Dauphin – Budget

In the middle of the Groves, we stopped here for a coffee and to rest our tired feet. Le Daupin is a small café in between the Palace and the Estate of Trianon and great for grabbing a sweet or savoury snack and a warm drink. 

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Closed on Monday. 

La Petite Venise – Expensive 

Tip: Book your table with The Fork and save €10 when signing up with the code 83FDC2B7

For Italian cuisine in a rustic setting, you can enjoy a lounge area and shaded terrace perfect for warm sunny days. It’s between Apollo’s Fountain and the Grand Canal.

Open every day from 11.45 am to 6 pm (closed at 5 pm from November to March).

Statue in the Gardens of Versailles - Trianon
Statue in the Estate of Trianon

In Summary: A Day Trip To Versailles Palace

I like to finish with a few final thoughts about our trip to Versailles, the parts we enjoyed the most and those we didn’t enjoy as much. However, overall, I think a day trip to Versailles is a superb idea – it’s a lovely attraction with a lot of history and educational elements. 

The sections we weren’t as keen on as others include the galleries and the Estate of Trianon. But, this is just personnel preference as the galleries, for example, would be stirring for anyone who enjoyed art.

As for the Estate of Trianon, I think had we visited in Spring/Summer it would have been more impressive, but the buildings lacked the same pizazz the Palace exudes and looked rather windswept.

That said, we did enjoy strolling around the grounds spotting mushrooms! And, as for the Queen’s Hamlet, it was a wonderful little rustic area. 

a little lake near in the Trianon
a little lake near the Grotte de Marie Antoinette in the Estate of Trianon

The Gardens and Groves as a whole we loved. The trees were still changing colours so we had some lovely yellow and orange foliage to enjoy, but most of the statues had already been covered up in preparation for winter.

With this in mind, we would like to return in summer, if only to stroll around the gardens again.

The Palace was very impressive and well-organized. I enjoyed my visit, and therefore would recommend a day trip to Versailles to anyone visiting Paris or the surrounding area as a must-do activity. 

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