Hi France Travel Planners! With nearly 10 million visitors every year, the Palace of Versailles is one of the most visited historic sites in the world. Featuring near the top of many Paris day trip list of must dos, questions about taking a day trip to Versailles from Paris fill online forums such as the France Travel Planning Facebook group. This post will take you through the best way to visit Versailles for a Versailles day trip.
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Update: all visitors to Versailles must book a timed entry ticket, even if you are using your Museum Pass. If you are travelling independently to Versailles we recommend you confirm all current arrangements for visiting on the official Versailles website.
Planning your day trip to Versailles from Paris
What we commonly refer to as Versailles (or the Chateau de Versailles) spreads almost 800ha (approximately 2,000 acres) and comprises the Palace, Parks and Gardens and the Trianon Estate which includes Marie-Antoinette’s Hamlet. Versailles merits spending the greater part of a day to be fully appreciated.
It is a matter of personal preference whether you visit Versailles independently or take a tour. While the best way to see Versailles is a frequent question in the Facebook group, there is no one single best Versailles tour for everyone. Irrespective of how you visit Versailles, you should book Versailles tickets in advance to minimise waiting time at the entrance of the Palace and also to ensure availability for your preferred date and time.
Do It Yourself Versailles Day Trip
Visiting Versailles from Paris
You have multiple options for getting to Versailles from Paris. Versailles is approximately 20km from Paris, depending on where you are staying. Most international tourists choose to travel from Paris to Versailles by train, bus or Uber.
Paris to Versailles by RER C train
If you are traveling independently, the RER C train is the best way to get to Versailles from Paris. Unless you have purchased a pass that covers zone 4, you will need to buy a Paris – Versailles Rive Gauche RER train ticket at either the metro or railway station within Paris. The price is approximately 4€ one way from Paris to Versailles irrespective of where you leave from within Paris. To save time when returning to Paris, purchase a return ticket at the same time. Transfers from the metro are included in your RER ticket.
The Paris – Versailles train is straightforward: take the RER C train to Versailles-Rive Gauche station. On exiting the station, turn right and follow the signs clearly indicating the direction of Versailles for approximately 10 minutes.
- There are the 3 different train stations with “Versailles” in the name. Rive Gauche is the closest train station to the Palace of Versailles. (Sometimes the train will say Versailles RG rather than Rive Gauche in full).
- Check train availability, especially during summer, when track and station upgrades often cause closures on the RER lines.
How to get to Versailles from Paris by Uber
Your day trip to Versailles from Paris by Uber may be booked using the same Uber application you use on your telephone in your home country.
The following estimates have been provided by the Uber price estimator departing Notre Dame (centre of Paris). Prices are estimates only and do not reflect variations due to discounts, traffic delays, pickup location, vehicle hired, surge pricing, price increases or other factors. Flat rates and minimum fees may apply. Actual prices may vary.
- Uber X / Green / Access (1-4 people one way): €39 – 53
- Berline (1-4 people one way): €64 -85
- Van (1-6 people one way): €64 -85
Do it yourself Versailles tour strategies
Opinion is divided as to the best strategy for visiting Versailles. If you arrive when the Palace opens, both strategies will allow you to maximise your time visiting the Palace, Gardens and Trianon Estate and will aim to minimise feeling crowded. Choose the one that you prefer.
- Book your Passport with Timed Entry for 9am when the Palace opens. Closed Mondays.
Entrance to the Palace is via the middle door of entrance A to the Dufour Pavilion
Visit the Gardens, Park and Trianon Estate in the afternoon.
- Visit the Gardens (open from 8am daily) and Park followed by the Trianon Estate which opens at midday (closed Mondays). To access the Garden, head to the left at the top of the Courtyard of Honour. Access is through the Princes Courtyard, at the left-side of entrance A.
Visit the Palace with your Passport with Timed Entry in the afternoon.
Park and Gardens: Opens 8am daily. Free access except on Fountains Show and Musical Garden days.
The busiest days at the Versailles are Tuesdays (after Monday closure) and weekends.
Buy tickets to Versailles: Passport with timed entry (Versailles skip the line tickets)
There are a very limited number of same day tickets for sale each day. Once these are sold out, the only way to enter the Chateau is on a tour or via a timed entry ticket – so the strong recommendation is to book in advance.
By purchasing skip-the-line tickets, we were able to bypass hundreds of people / hours of waiting in the boiling hot sun / standing on cobblestone for what must’ve felt like an eternity for those who didn’t buy skip line tickets. (France Travel Planning group member Summer 2019).
You can book your timed entry ticket by clicking here. These Palace of Versailles tickets provide access to the Gardens, Park and Trianon Estate and provides access to the Palace within half an hour of your selected time.
Note: You will still need to queue to pass through security.
Audioguides/Mobile phone app
When purchasing your Passport with Timed Entry, you may also choose to book an audioguide. The audioguide is provided free in 11 languages: French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Korean and Polish.
The mobile app contains all the audioguides and additional information to make the most of your visit. Download the app prior to arriving at Versailles and avoid having to wait at the audioguide desk.
Using the audioguide or mobile app will enhance your visit by providing a historical context to what you are seeing as well as pointing out details that you may miss or not understand.
If you prefer a hard copy guide, or don’t like listening to audioguides, Rick Steves’s Paris and France guidebooks both include detailed self guided tours of Versailles.
In-house guided Versailles tours
The Palace of Versailles offers tours in English daily at 9.30am, except Mondays.
.. and the guided tour points out so many details that we would have missed. (Member of French Travel Planning group)
Due to ongoing works in the Chateau the rooms this tour visits may be subject to change.
If you have purchased this tour instead of entering via Entrance A for ticket holders with timed entry, enter the Northern Ministers’ Wing (to the right of the Courtyard of Honour). Your waiting time will be even less than for those with timed entry tickets.
Visiting Versailles with the Paris Museum Pass
While the Paris Museum Pass includes Versailles, a Palace of Versailles tour with the Museum Pass does not allow you to skip the queue for entry. With so many people now purchasing the pass this can result in a lengthy wait to enter the Palace. One way to avoid this is to purchase a ticket for the In-house Guided Tour. The €10 could be a worthwhile investment to avoid standing for hours in the heat, cold or wet.
Versailles Tour From Paris: Guided Tours
Joining a guided tour is not for everyone, but may provide benefits:
- expert knowledge is shared with you and the depth can be tailored depending on the interest and pre-existing knowledge of the participants
- response to questions you may have
- less waiting and queuing with priority access
- access to additional rooms that the general public may not access
- flexible cancellation arrangements (who really wants to do a bike tour in the rain?).
But how do you decide which is the best Versailles tour? The choice is overwhelming. We have done the work for you and found tours that we recommend based on feedback from people that we trust and our own experiences. We encourage you nonetheless to read the details of the tours and reviews of them to find the best fit for you. Only you know what features are important to you.
These three tours include the all important skip-the-line ticket for the Palace in your Versailles entrance fee. They don’t allow you to skip the security line but do allow you to cruise past the queues of people waiting to purchase tickets.
|Palace of Versailles Morning Tour||Versailles bike tour with picnic||Palace of Versailles and Marie Antoinette Guided Tour|
|Tour Details and booking||Morning at the Palace: Small Group Versailles Tour from Paris with Garden Show||Versailles Full-Day Bike Tour with Picnic||Click here|
|Days||Daily except Mon and Wed||Daily except Mon (may vary in off season)||Daily except Mon (may vary in off season)|
|Meeting Point||Just adjacent to the Arc de Triomphe||1 avenue Emile Zola, 15e||10, Avenue du Général de Gaulle, 78000 Versailles|
|Number||15 max.||20 max||30 max. For large groups headphones provided|
|Transport||Minivan (may be subject to change||Round trip train||Not included|
|Palace Entry||Skip-the-line tickets||Skip-the-line tickets||Skip-the-line tickets|
|Tour Type||Guided tour||Guided tour with picnic lunch||Guided tour|
|Palace of Versailles Gardens /||Entrance to Garden and guided tour of the fountains||Entrance to Garden||Entrance to Garden|
|Marie-Antoinette’s Estate||Introductory tour of Garden||Guided tour of Garden||Guided tour of the Gardens, and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate|
|Cancellation policy||Free up to 24 hours beforehand||Free up to 72hours beforehand||Free up to 24 hours beforehand if booked via this link|
|Notes||Return to Paris at leisure||Return to Paris at leisure||Return to Paris at leisure|
|Cost||From €119||From €109 per person||From €139|
More Versailles Guided Tour options from Take Walks:
Versailles Bike Tours
It is possible to hire bikes at Versailles to visit the park, Grand Canal, the Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate. You can even hire at one point and return to another.
Much positive feedback has been received about the advantages of doing a bicycle tour. The tour allows even those who have visited Versailles to see parts of the grounds they have never been because they are too far to walk. This is with a guide who navigates for you and shares their expert knowledge with you.
France Travel Planning members speak highly of tours operated by Fat Tire with some doing them more than once. You can click here to book Fat Fire Bike Tours of Versailles.
The most popular tours include being met in Paris, then escorted on the train (tickets included) to Versailles. This saves you having to figure out what ticket you need, how to get there etc. You visit the local market to purchase fresh produce for your picnic lunch and then cycle to Versailles. Your tour includes a tour of the grounds and you will have skip-the- line access to the palace, as well as access to the Palaces of Trianon and Marie-Antoinette’s Hamlet. You have the ability to also explore the Palace and the Gardens on your own and will be provided with a ticket for you to return to Paris at your leisure.
The table below summarises the differences between the 3 most popular Versailles bike tours.
|Versailles Bike Tour with Palace & Queen Farm Entrance||Skip-the-Line: Versailles Guided Bike & Palace Tour||Versailles Full-Day Bike Tour + Skip-the-Line Chateau Access|
|Tour details & booking||Click here||Book a Paris Fat Tire Tour today!||Versailles Full-Day Bike Tour with Picnic|
|Days||Daily: Tue- Sun||Daily: Tue- Sun||Tue, Fri, Sat, Sun|
|Times||9am||8.15, 8.30, 8.45am||8.15am|
|Meeting Point||Starbucks near Metro Saint-Lazare 75008||Park near Exit 1 (Sortie 1) of Metro Javel-André Citroën 75015 Paris||Park near Exit 1 (Sortie 1) of Metro Javel-André Citroën 75015 Paris|
|Number||14 max.||20 per guide max. Split into groups if more than 20||20 per guide max. Split into groups if more than 20|
|Palace visit||Self-guided with audio guide||Self-guided with audio guide||See areas of the palace unavailable to other visitors with a guide|
|Cost||From €99||From €99||From €149|
If you haven’t organised your tour in advance and are interested in a bike tour at Versailles, it is worth dropping into the Fat Tire office (near the Eiffel Tower) to check their board for last minute specials. If there are free spots, you may be able to get onto their Versailles tour for €75 – but you must be flexible with your dates, and of course, tours may be booked out.
Fountains night show and fireworks
Wanting to do something a little different? During summer, on Saturday evenings Versailles comes alive with performers in period costume in the Palace, a fountains show, music and special effects with a fireworks finale over the grand canal.
|Versailles Sunset Bike Tour with Fireworks Show||Palace of Versailles and Musical Fountains Night Show|
|Details & booking||Click here||Click here|
|Meeting Point||Park near Exit 1 (Sortie 1) of Metro Javel-André Citroën 75015 Paris||10, Avenue du Général de Gaulle, 78000 Versailles|
|Number||20 per guide max. Split into groups if more than 20||Not defined|
|Transport||Round trip by train||Not included. Make own way to Versailles by RER. Last train is approximately 11.30pm|
|Additional activity||Cycle to Versailles market square to purchase picnic provisions. Picnic||After tour of the Palace free to stroll through village of Versailles for dinner (own cost)|
|Garden / Park||Guided tour of Garden and Park by bike. View Trianon Estate. Entrance to musical fountains night show & fireworks||Entrance to Musical Fountains Night Show and fireworks (8.30-11.15pm)|
|Palace||Skip-the-line ticket providing after-hours access. Watch period costumed performers||Skip-the-line ticket. Tour of the palace with a professional guide|
|Cancellation||Free cancellation up to 24 hours before tour starts if booked via this link||Free cancellation up to 24 hours before tour starts if booked via this link|
|Cost||From €129||From €68|
Bonus Comments and Tips for Visiting Versailles
As a bonus for readers here are some tips from our France Travel Planning community to help plan your Versailles tour from Paris:
- Take the Metro/train …. Cheap/easy
- Get a timed entry ticket to avoid very long waits
- The palace was great, but the gardens were our favorite!
- Comfortable shoes are a must.
- … at the Versailles palace after seeing the sights relax in taking the little white palace tourist train for a tour of the lovely huge park. There is also the wonderful royal kitchen garden from 1683 well worth your visit still producing marvels with a fine shop potager-du-roi.fr
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Photo credits: Jo Karnaghan/Canva unless otherwise credited