Visit Versailles The VIP Way – While Avoiding The Long Line-ups

There's no better place to experience the majesty of Louis XIV's France (r. 1638-1715) than the royal estate at Versailles. The stunning chateau, magnificent gardens, the fountains, the Trianon Palaces, and Marie-Antoinette's estate. From the decadence of the Grand Apartments to the stunning Hall of Mirrors and the opulent Royal Quarters, it's a must-see attraction when you're in Paris. Of course, it's also immensely popular.

Versailles

As you know by now, we don't like to wait in lines — in fact, we hate it. That's why we always book a skip-the-line tour that also includes the services of an expert guide who can make the past come alive with stories of palace life. Our top choices are the tours that also provide transportation from Paris, so that everything is taken care of. It's the way we do it. Here are our top recommendations.

The Top Ways to Visit Versailles

1. Your Own Private Versailles

Private tour of Versailles

Instead of worrying about transportation, tickets, and guide books, visit Versailles the easy way — on a private tour. Your driver picks you up at your Paris address for a quick trip directly to the royal estate where priority entrance gets you past the long ticket lines. Inside, you'll be guided to areas previously seen only by dignitaries. See the Hall of Mirrors, the king and queen's private residences and many more rooms. There's plenty of time to explore the magnificent gardens.

2. The Best of Versailles with Priority Access & Lunch

Chateau de Versailles

Instead of worrying about trains, tickets, and guide books, choose to visit Versailles this easy and relaxing way. Your driver picks you up at your Paris address for a quick trip directly to the palace, where you arrive refreshed and ready to explore. First up, a morning tour of the chateau itself.

Later, after a classic French lunch near the Grand Canal, your guide leads you through the magnificent gardens to the Queen's Hamlet, Marie Antoinette's private rustic farm. You also visit the Petit Trianon, the mini-palace where Louis XV and Louis XVI liked to relax and escape hectic court life. There's free time to wander through the gardens, surrounded by statues, fountains, and marble vases. This full-day tour is very popular, so be sure to book early.

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Features of the Tour
• Includes transportation from central Paris
• Full-day, 8-hour activity
• Classic French lunch included
• Visit the chateau & gardens
• Includes the Grand Trianon & Queen's Hamlet
• Private guide at the chateau

3. Versailles By Bike

Versailles By Bike

This tour is immensely popular with visitors… and with Paris Insiders Guide readers. It starts in Paris, where you meet up with your expert guide and catch the RER urban train to Versailles. There you pick up your bike. First stop — the bustling city market to buy ingredients for lunch. Then you ride through the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles, along tree-lined trails, past fountains, through the forest, leaving walkers behind!

The French royal families used to enjoy picnics by the Grand Canal, and that's exactly what you will do. You're not done yet, there's still the palace itself to explore before you return to Paris on the RER. The 9-hour tour includes everything. This activity runs in most months, with a break from December to February.

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Features of the Tour
• Guided round-trip train transportation from Paris
• Full day, 9-hour activity
• Bikes, helmets & audio guides are provided
• Includes market visit in Versailles
• Picnic lunch by the Grand Canal
• All entrance fees

4. Versailles Half-Day Tour with Priority Access

Versailles Half-Day Small-Group Tour

The day begins in central Paris where you meet your driver for a small-group (maximum eight people), priority-access visit to Versailles. A professional guide introduces you to the best rooms in the chateaux, including Hall of Mirrors and the Royal Apartments. There is still plenty of time for you to explore the amazing gardens.

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Features of the Tour
• Transportation from central Paris
• Half-day, 5-hour activity
• Air-conditioned, luxury Eurovan
• Priority access
• Guided tour of the chateau
• Free time in the gardens

5. Versailles + Monet's Gardens in One Day

A Paris Insiders Guide Favourite

Versailles + Monet's Gardens

You will love this full day of art & history that includes two historic and iconic sites. First stop, Giverny, the home of Claude Monet's famous gardens, his house, and his studio. It's an amazing feeling being in the place when Monet painted some of his most-famous Impressionist masterpieces.

Next up — visit the magnificent chateau at Versailles with your guide leading you to the the Hall of Mirrors, the royal apartment, and other rooms in the royal palace. Available in the flower seasons, April to October !

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Features of the Tour
• Transportation from central Paris
• Full day, 10-hour activity
• Small group, 8 people maximum
• The route takes you through picturesque countryside
• Skip-the-line entrance & professional guide

More To Know About Visiting Versailles

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Versailles fountains & fireworks

The Fountains of Versailles

Water has been an important design feature of the royal estate since the very beginning. In its heyday, there were 2,400 fountains operating in the garden and park. Today there are only 50, yet they still contribute to the glory of Versailles. Come with us on a virtual stroll as we visit the most popular fountains as well as other important water features.

Versailles' Gardens & Park

The Versailles estate covers nearly 2,000 acres and includes the chateau (natch), a collection of formal gardens, and a large woodland park. Learn about these gardens and the park in our guide. By the way, did you know entrance to the gardens is (usually) free?

Versailles – Its History & The Top 5 Highlights

Before you hop in the Eurovan and head out for the royal estate, it's nice to know a bit about its history. Like, who built Versailles? And, who lived there? We also share five highlights of Versailles that you don't want to miss.

9 Things We Learned on Our Skip-the-Line Tour

When you don't have to stand in a long lineup you have more time to learn fascinating details about Versailles. Here are nine things we learned on our recent visit.

Five Restaurants of Versailles

It really takes a full day to explore Versailles. (For instance, it takes an hour to walk from the chateau to the far end of the Grande Canal. Plus there is the Trianon & Marie Antoinette's toy farm to to explore.) So, you're going to need refreshments, bathroom breaks, and rest. Taking time for a meal in one of the eateries on site will take care of all three of those needs.

On a recent visit to Versailles we had a chance to explore the options — from a high-end restaurant to a tea salon to casual dining. We'll share our findings.

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Versailles Resources

Large Map of the Gardens and Park

The chateau itself is open daily (except Mondays) from 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM. Plan for a minimum ninety minutes for your visit. During the summer months, it's certainly recommended to arrive by 9 AM to avoid the crowds. (The crowds are why we recommend skip-the-Line tours.

Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate

These include the Petit Trianon, the Grand Trianon and the Queen's Hamlet. Hours are noon to 6:30. Always closed on Mondays.

The Park

It's the perfect place for a walk, renting a boat on the Grand Canal, going for a bike ride. The Park is open free of charge daily from 7 AM to 8:30 PM. In the winter months the park opens at 8 AM and closes at 6 PM.

The Gardens

The gardens are also free of charge except for days when there are a fountains show or Musical Gardens show. The gardens are open daily from 8 AM to 8:30 PM, closing at 6 PM in the winter months. Sometimes the gardens close at 5:30 for special events. Plan for at least 2 hours for your visit.

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