The elaborate decoration of the palace of Versailles represents the royalty and majesty of French Kings. Today, the Versailles Palace is one of the most important Palace of the French History. Located just outside of Paris, the palace and its extraordinary domain are now a must-see attraction for every tourist coming to Paris for more than 2 days.
Palace of Versailles history
In 1682, the French King Louis XIV decided to transfer the royal court and the French government from Paris to the city of Versailles (located in the southwest of Paris). The aims of this settlement were to host the French royalty, to be protected from any civil movement by keeping the powerful men of the court right under his nose, and to give an impressive visual representation of the power of the French monarchy to the whole world. Louis XIV decided to use a former hunting lodge of his father, the French King Louis XIII, to turn it into a magnificent palace.
And thus the palace of Versailles became a symbol of the majesty of French Kings. After the death of Louis XIV, all French Kings lived there. The out-broke of the French Revolution in 1789 forced the government to go back to Paris. In the 19th Century, it was turned into a museum of the History of France and many spaces in the palace became museum areas.
The domain of Versailles: the Palace, gardens and other places
There are many areas to visit in the palace of Versailles. Inside the palace itself, you can visit the various living rooms of the King and the rest of the royalty members. The most impressive and unmissable place to see is the famous Hall of Mirrors. This massive corridor, which served as a ball room, displays not less than 357 mirrors reflecting the light of the sun entering from the huge 17 windows.
It covers various spaces like the coach gallery that has reopened after 10 years of renovation. Outside of the palace, you can access three additional attractions: the gardens with its fountains, the palace of the Grand Trianon, and Queen Marie-Antoinette‘s estate.
The Estate of Marie Antoinette, also called “Petit Trianon”, was the private domain of Queen Marie-Antoinette, where she used to escape the gravity of the court by holding small parties and dinners and by playing at living a simple farmer’s life. She owned indeed a few sheep and other animals in this place.
The Grand Trianon is a small side palace that Louis XIV had built to hide his love affairs with his mistresses. Built in marble and porphyry, it’s an exquisite example of the architect Mansard‘s talent.
Last but not least, the gardens are a wonderful place to wander. During spring and summer, they offer exceptional fountain and musical shows, “the musical waters” or “Grandes eaux musicales” on Tuesdays and weekends, when you can stroll from grove to bush at the sound of classical music while enjoying the numerous water fountains activity. The “Musical Gardens” or “Jardins Musicaux” offer the same nice walk at the sound of music but without the fountains. Moreover, the gardens are an excellent place if you want to have a nice walk and admire the architecture of the castle from the outside.
You can enjoy a group or private guided tour of the palace, the gardens and Marie-Antoinette’s estate as well.
How to get there by yourself
The Versailles Palace is located outside of Paris. That means that you will need to use transportation from Paris to suburbs if you want to get there by yourself. Several transports are available if you want to get there. If you are not going on a group or private trip organized from Paris, we recommend you use the fast train or a bus shuttle.
If you plan to take the fast train (called RER) use the line C and stop at the Versailles Rive Gauche station. The travel between this station and the Palace lasts 12 minutes.
If you want to take the bus shuttle, there is a special bus that will take you from the Eiffel Tower to the palace of Versailles. Called the Versailles Express, it runs twice a day at 8am and 2pm from Tuesday to Sunday.
Other trains (not fast trains) can also take you to Versailles. We recommand this option if you are only near to the stations (Montparnasse & Saint Lazare).
- From the station Paris Montparnasse stop at the station Versailles Chantiers.
- From the station Paris Saint Lazare stop at the station Versailles Rive Droite.
- 1: at least 1 full day is necessary to visit the entire domain.
- 2: If you do not have enough time to visit the entire domain, just go for the castle and the gardens, which you can see in approximately half a day.
- 3: We advise you to go before 9 A.M (it opens at 10 A.M) because you will have less people in the castle. It is the same if you go after 4 P.M.
-> Do not try going on Tuesday or during the weekend, the attendance is very high!
- 4: the gardens are open for free when the musical gardens or the musical waters are not on display.
- 5: it is better to buy your tickets in advance. Even if you will have to do the security line, it will save you time as you will skip the first line.
- 6: The Versailles passport will give you access to the entire domain with just one ticket, including the gardens on the days of the musical gardens and waters.
Plan your visit to the Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles closes on Monday.
There are several options to plan your visit to the Palace of Versailles. Below are the few we recommend.
Passport (Versailles Pass) – from €10
Buy the one day passport from €10 with / without show to get access to entire Versailles estate including the Palace & the gardens. There is an additional €15 when there is the musical fountain show and a €8 one when the show is not playing. It is definitely worth it if you visit Versailles the right day. Note that the access to gardens is not available when the musical shows are on. Do not forget adding this option when insert the passport into your cart.
You need your own transportation to Versailles (see how to get there) if you book the entrance only.
Shuttle & ticket – €53
Reach Versailles from central Paris with this shuttle that will allow you a half day visit of the Palace of Versailles and the gardens. The entrance tickets are included in the price. This solution is the easiest one to get a quick overview of Versailles. It does not include a guide tour.
Train & ticket – €69
Reach Versailles by train and feel free to spend as much time as you want. The train tickets will be provided at your hotel. You will be on your own and not part of a big group. This is how we recommend you to visit Versailles.
Complete tour – €99
This tour is the most comprehensive one. You will access a tour of the entire Palace of Versailles. You can choose to do the tour on the morning or the afternoon. You will be picked up from your hotel to Versailles (if your hotel is located in the center of Paris). Note that it is available for a group of eight person.
Find other options to visit the Palace of Versailles from Paris, that include private tours and visit, private transport, helicopter trips and much more.
For further information go on the Official website of the Palace of Versailles
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