There's no better place to experience the majesty of Louis XIV's France than the royal estate at Versailles — the stunning chateau, magnificent gardens, the fountains, the stunning Hall of Mirrors. It's an experience not to miss. It's also immensely popular. To skip the long lines, we always book a skip-the-line tour with an expert guide who makes the past come alive. Let's look at our top recommendations, all of which include transportation from Paris.
1. The Best of Versailles with Priority Access & Gardens… Our #1 choice
2. Versailles Guided Half-Day Tour with Skip-the-Line Entry… With an expert interpreter/guide
3. Full-Day Bike Tour + Skip-the-Line Chateau Access… Visit Versailles on two wheels
4. Visit Versailles + Monet's Gardens at Giverny… On one glorious day trip
This is our number-one choice for a priority-access visit to Versailles. Instead of worrying about trains & tickets, choose to visit Versailles this easy and relaxing way. From central Paris it's a quick ride to the palace, where you arrive refreshed and ready to explore. There, you begin to discover the opulence, beauty, and history of the palace on a skip-the-line guided tour.
What we like about this Versailles activity is that you can include a guided visit to the Queen's Hamlet, Marie Antoinette's fantasy 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. Be sure to choose the full-day, 9½-hour option to truly experience the best of Versailles,s
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.
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.
Versailles looks even better when you're 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 other rooms. There's even time to explore the magnificent gardens.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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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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.
These include the Petit Trianon, the Grand Trianon and the Queen's Hamlet. Hours are noon to 6:30. Always closed on Mondays.
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 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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