Visiting Versailles from Paris

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Updated: October 20, 2020

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Skip-the-Line Tickets to Versailles

Visiting Versailles from Paris

A marble statue of Marie Antoinette at the palace of Versailles outside of Paris

The opulent palace and grounds of Versailles are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important historic destinations in France. A day trip to the extravagant erstwhile home of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette is a highlight of any trip to Paris, but getting there requires some advance planning. Here’s what you need to know before you go:

The Basics

  • Hours: The palace is open year round from 9am to 5pm or later, depending on the season. The gardens open an hour earlier at 8am. The Trianon estate and the Coach Gallery are only open in the afternoon. Versailles is closed on Mondays, Christmas, and New Years Day.
  • Location: Versailles is located about 20 km southwest of Paris, about an hour from the center of the city by car or train.
  • Website: chateauversailles.fr

Do I need to buy tickets to Versailles in advance?

We highly recommend buying tickets online in advance, which will allow you to bypass long entrance lines and spend more time exploring the palace and grounds. Tickets are available to purchase in advance via the Versailles website and through other venues.
This option also includes coach bus transportation from Paris.

How do I get there?

The best way to get to Versailles from Paris is by train, on Line C of the RER regional train system. A round trip ticket to Versailles (recommended, to save time standing in line on return) is a little over €7 per person, and the trip takes between an hour and 90 minutes. The trip is not difficult to manage, but if you are hesitant or want to leave the navigation to someone else, there are plenty of guided tours that provide train escort or semi-private transportation. See the blue box above for our recommendations.

  • On most stops in Paris along the RER C line, you can just board in the direction of Versailles Rive Gauche/Chateau de Versailles and disembark at the last stop (the closest Versailles station to the palace).
  • If you catch the RER C train in northwestern Paris, you will need to first take the train headed in the direction of Pont de Rungis-Aeroport d’Orly, and change trains at the Champs de Mars Tour Eiffel station to catch the RER C train to Versailles Rive Gauche/Chateau de Versailles.
  • It is a 13-minute walk from the Versailles Rive Gauche/Chateau de Versailles station to Versailles palace.
  • Find a map of the RER C train route here.

How long should I plan to spend at Versailles?

You can easily spend an entire day exploring the palace and expansive grounds, and even if you only plan to spend a few hours there, it can take the better part of a day getting there and back. Touring the palace interior usually takes around an hour and a half; exploring the gardens and summer houses can easily take another 2 hours or more. Remember to also allow time needed for a picnic lunch, or breakfast or lunch in the palace or at a restaurant nearby.

What food and drink options are available at Versailles?

There are multiple dining options on the Versaille grounds, ranging from elegant fine dining to a take-away market for picnics. There are also many fast food and cafe-style restaurants and a lovely covered market (Marché Notre Dame) not far from the train station. You can bring your own food for picnicking, but note that food and drink are not allowed in the palace, and will have to be checked at the entrance.

The very best restaurant near Versailles is Gordon Ramsey’s Michelin-starred Au Trianon in the Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace Versailles.

Is Versailles good for kids?

Small children aren’t usually very excited about the palace itself, but the gardens provide lots of room to run around, and there’s a little farm in the Queen’s Hamlet that kids enjoy. If you’ll be visiting Versailles with kids, consider a family or bike tour, to keep kids interested. Children under 18 gain free admission to the palace, but will need tickets for skip-the-line entry and access to the Fountain Shows and Musical Garden program. Note that strollers and baby carriers with metal frames are not allowed in the palace and will have to be checked (for free) at the entrance.

When are the Fountain Shows and Musical Gardens?

During the spring, summer, and fall, the gardens at Versailles come alive with magical coreographed fountain displays and chamber music. Separate tickets need to be purchased to tour the gardens during these times, and can be purchsed in advance online. Ticketing and schedule information can be found here.

What are the best hotels in Versailles?

It is relatively easy to get between Paris and Versailles using the regional RER train, but for travelers who want to stay closer to the Palace, there are many wonderful accommodation options. We recommend:

Versailles Tips and Regulations

  • Strollers are not allowed inside the palace, only fabric baby carriers without an underlying metallic structure are permitted.
  • Pets, food, drink, flash photography, tripods, umbrellas, and selfie sticks are not allowed inside the palace.
  • A smartphone and tablet app is available that includes audio tours and interactive maps of the palace and grounds. It can be used with or without a wi-fi connection.
  • There are two free Wifi hotspots: one at the entrance to the Cour d’Honneur, and one at the entrance to the gardens. Free and secure cellphone charging stations can be found in two locations inside the palace.
  • The grounds at Versailles are extensive, and every trip will include a lot of walking and at least some time outdoors; be sure to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes, dress for the weather, and bring sunscreen during the summer.

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