How to visit Chateau de Versailles in Paris: All you need to know

Versailles Francie

Versailles in Paris is one of the most visited monuments in the world. It is loved by both local and foreign tourists. With more than 8 million visitors in 2018, Versailles was the third most visited monument in the world and the second most visited in Europe after St. Peter in the Vatican. In this guide, we’ll cover more information about the complex – entrance and tickets to the Chateau de Versailles, opening hours, how to get here, what to see and other useful tips.

Versailles Castle in France

Extravagant, opulent, rich. These are just some of the attributes that perfectly describe the Château de Versailles. It’s so ostentatious that even the pots are made of silver.

According to many, it is the most beautiful castle in the world. I think the Royal Palace in Madrid is perhaps even more spectacular, but that’s just my subjective view.

Versailles Castle / Versailles France

But it’s not just about flashiness. Symmetry, order and balance also helped create the Chateau de Versailles. Everything was carefully chosen to fit into the whole.

The Chateau of Versailles was built in the high French Baroque Classicism. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979, together with the park. Versailles is so unique that many European countries have tried to replicate it (for example Schönbrunn in Vienna).

It currently serves as a national historic monument where the French Parliament meets for congress.

How to skip the line to Versailles: The Chateau of Versailles is famous for its lines. Book your tickets in advance and go straight to the reserved entrance at the venue. Tickets are cheaper if you book in advance – you book a specific time, but it only needs to be for the palace, you can go to the gardens any time before or after.

How to get to Versailles?

How to get to Versailles from Paris?

Versailles is located in the town of the same name west of Paris. The easiest way to get here is by train. Trains depart from several locations in Paris and stop at one of the 3 train stations in Versailles. These are approximately 10-20 minutes’ walk from the palace gates.

You have the following options to get to Versailles:

  • The RER C train can be boarded near Notre Dame, the Orsay Museum, the Invalides or a short walk from the Eiffel Tower. The train runs every 15 minutes and stops at the Versailles Château-Rive Gauche station, which is the closest to the Château de Versailles (about 10 minutes on foot). The journey takes around 40 minutes (depending on where you get on).
  • SNCF train (line N) from Gare Montparnasse to Versailles Chantiers station and from there 18 minutes on foot.
  • SNCF train (line L) from Gare Saint Lazare to Versailles Rive Droite station (17 minutes on foot).
stations on the RER C line

I recommend buying a return ticket. There may be a large number of people returning and the train station may be crowded on the way back. Versailles is in zone 4 and is not covered by public transport tickets in Paris. The price for a return ticket is about 8 €.


Versailles Castle has 2 main entrances – entrance A and entrance B. As soon as you pass through the entrance gate, you will see red signs already guiding you where to go. The entrances are then marked in yellow directly on the buildings. Everything is marked so well and clearly that you can find your way around immediately.

Are you planning to buy your tickets on the spot? The ticket office is in the Courtyard of Honour on the left. If you have a ticket, you go straight to entrance A (also on the left side), where you will stand in the security queue. Entrance B is located on the right side and is intended for guided tours.

Opening hours Versailles

The Palace of Versailles and the Trianon Estate are open to visitors every day except Mondays. The Gardens of Versailles and the park are open every day and are free to visit except for the fountains and music gardens. The specific opening hours of the Chateau de Versailles are as follows:

  • Palace of Versailles April-October 9:00-18:30 (last entry 18:00), November-March 9:00-17:30 (last entry 17:00)
  • Trianon Manor 12:00-18:30 (last entry 18:00)
  • Gardens of Versailles 8:00-20:30 (last entry 19:00)
  • Park 7:00-20:30 (last entry 19:45)
  • Musical Gardens play from 10:00-19:00 every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday until 30 October
  • The Musical Fountains performance runs from 10:00-19:00 on weekends through October 30.
  • The nightly fountain show plays 20:30-23:05 every Saturday through September 24, plus July 14 and August 15.

Note: The musical fountains and gardens are closed during the off-season.

Tickets and admission to Versailles

The Chateau de Versailles offers several types of admission from which you can choose exactly what you want to see and experience. Tickets are listed in order for easy orientation in the table.

The most popular type of ticket is the first, which gets you into the entire palace complex.

Note: Prices are valid when buying tickets online, tickets are €1.50 more expensive at the door.

From July 4 to October 31, the Musical Gardens play Tuesday through Friday. On weekends there is a musical fountain show. If you want to see the whole of the Palace of Versailles, including the sumptuous palace and the magnificent gardens, a ticket for €28.50 will cover you .

For 21,50 € it is possible to get off-season ticket when the musical gardens or the fountain show are not playing.

Ticket for 19,50 € gives you off-season access to the park, gardens and palace. If the Musical Gardens or Fountain Show is playing, you can use your ticket to enter the palace only.

Free admission to Versailles

Admission to Versailles is free for EU youth under 26 and children under 18. However, this does not apply until the end of October on days when the musical gardens or musical fountains are playing (free for children over 6 years old, up to and including 5 years old always). In this case, you need to buy a ticket to the musical gardens (on Tue, Thu, Fri) or to the musical fountain show on weekends.

Entrance to the palace, the Trianon Manor and the galleries in the complex remains free of charge. If you visit Versailles in the low season, you can enter for free every day. You can prove your entitlement to the discount with your ID card or other relevant document.

From November to March, you can also see Versailles for free on the first Sunday of every month.

How to skip the line?

More than 20,000 people a day visit the Chateau de Versailles during the high season (spring-early autumn). In 2018, after the Basilica of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican is the most visited monument in Europe and the third most visited in the world.

What does that imply? The lines for Versailles are really long and the wait for tickets can sometimes be hours. In addition, the castle guarantees entry only to those who have a reservation in advance.

Book your tickets in advance and go straight to the reserved entrance at the door. Tickets are cheaper if you book in advance – you book a specific time, but it only needs to be for the palace, you can go to the gardens any time before or after.

Arrive as early as possible in the morning. Preferably right on 9th hour. Around 10 o’clock, buses are already pulling up and the parking lots in the area are filling up fast.

If you can’t come early in the morning, head to the Versailles Gardens and Park first when you arrive and then go to the palace later in the afternoon (this only works if you visit the palace on days when there is no charge for the gardens and park).

Most visitors choose the palace first and save the gardens for the afternoon. This gives you a better chance to skip the queues and see the indoor areas without the crowds.

Generally, Versailles is most crowded on weekends (even in the low season) or on Tuesdays, when the Louvre is closed and people make plans to visit the Palace of Versailles. The most critical times of the day are morning and early afternoon between 11:00 and 15:00.

What to see in Versailles?

Palace and Hall of Mirrors at Versailles

The palace itself ( Château de Versailles) consists of 3 parts: the core of the palace, the north wing with the Opera House and the south wing. Versailles has 2300 rooms. But not all of them are luxurious. Many of them were used for servants or lower nobility, and the lower the inhabitants of the castle were on the “ladder”, the simpler the rooms were.

To get to Versailles, take the Gate of Honour to the Cour d’Honneur, beyond which is the Cour Royale and then the Cour de Marbre around the oldest part of the chateau.

Versailles Castle / Versailles France
the core of the palace and the Marble Courtyard

The most beautiful and most visited room of the castle is the Hall of Mirrors (Galerie des Glaces) in 1st floor of the castle core, where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919. The hall contains an incredible 357 mirrors. In addition, it is richly decorated with paintings.

Versailles Hall of Mirrors
Hall of Mirrors

In the Hall of Mirrors you will see 17 windows, which correspond to 17 opposite mirrors. At that time, Venice had a monopoly on the production of mirrors. But they were not discouraged by this in France. It gave them the perfect opportunity to show their power and wealth to the world.

So they enticed the Venetian craftsmen. After discovering that the production secrets of the mirrors had been compromised, Venice ordered the murder of the mirror makers. But it is no longer certain whether this actually happened.

Marie Antoinette, the wife of Louis XVI, was responsible for the current appearance of the interior of the palace, and she had drastic changes made to the decoration of the palace.

Park and Gardens of Versailles

The gardens and park of Versailles cover a huge area of 815 hectares. The largest body of water is the 23-hectare Grand Canal, which was built in the shape of a cross. Previously, there was a swamp on the site of theGrand Canal. The canal was often used for naval demonstrations. In addition, you will find many nooks, fountains, statues and other elements in the gardens and park.

Gardens of Versailles
Gardens of Versailles and the park with the Grand Canal behind it

The Baroque-style Jardin de Versailles (Gardens of Versailles) consists of a system of circles and squares. These represent small woods with fountains, statues and usually a pond. These woods are called bosquets. Each bosquets served during the reign of Louis XIV. to something else. One was used for dancing, one for resting and one for meetings.

Gardens of Versailles

As you stroll through the gardens, you will notice the huge number of fountains that were built at the request of Louis XIV. There are more than 50 of them and they are based on Greco-Roman mythology.

But it was not easy to get water here, because the castle is not near any river. Therefore, they built artificial ponds and aerial and underground aqueducts to which all the surrounding waters were diverted. They used a revolutionary new machine to pump water out of the Seine.

Even that wasn’t enough. Therefore, a controlled activation of the fountains was introduced, which started whenever the king walked by.

Versailles Castle / Versailles France / Versailles Gardens

Big and Little Trianon

The Grand and Little Trianon are palaces about half an hour’s walk away through the gardens and then the park. You can also use an electric trolley. The Grand Trianon is built in Baroque style. It has a paved courtyard and pink marble columns that stand out beautifully in sunny weather.

Versailles Castle / Versailles France / Grand Trianon

The Little Trianon is a neoclassical palace donated by Louis XV. his lovers and Louis XVI. then to Queen Marie Antoinette.

Little Trianon Versailles

Hameau de la Reine

Hameau de la Reine is the complete opposite of Versailles. It is a rural village with a lake and stables, built at the request of Queen Antoinette. She came here to “rest” from her royal duties.

At that time, the countryside was fashionable. Even though they are rural farmhouses, they are decorated inside. It’s a great place when visiting Versailles with children.

Book your tickets for popular sights in Paris in advance and skip the long queue on the spot:

Interesting facts about Versailles

Who built Versailles Castle and when?

The history of Versailles dates back to the 17th century. It started subtly, when Louis XIII had a palace built on the site. his country estate. Only a few years passed and the same king decided to convert the country dwelling into a hunting lodge.

Versailles Castle / Versailles France
Everything is golden at Versailles.

It was not until the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King, that Versailles was transformed into a splendid royal residence. The king lived in the Louvre until then. The Louvre was (and still is) surrounded by Parisian houses and Louis XIV. so he couldn’t enlarge his mansion as he planned. This gave him the idea of moving his residence to Versailles.

Several architects were involved in the materialization of his idea. And the best of the best, who were among the top in France. His goal was to overcome the chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte, southeast of Paris in Maincy, which was built for the interim ruler Nicolas Fouquet at the time.

Louis XIV. often invited nobles to the castle to reduce their power and increase his own. After Louis XIV. the castle alternately “decayed” and then flourished again. Its restoration was undertaken by Napoleon and later, after World War I, by the American patron J. D. Rockefeller.

Versailles Castle / Versailles France

Interesting facts about Versailles

During the reign of Louis XIV. the maintenance and operation of Versailles cost a staggering 25% of France’s government revenue. I think we can all imagine what life was like at Versailles. The French, of course, condemned the expensive lifestyle. The royal family lived in luxury while others were poor and starving.

During the French Revolution, they destroyed the golden gate of the palace, which was made entirely of gold. In 2008, it was rebuilt at a cost of $8 million. The Golden Gate is located just beyond the main gate to Versailles.

Gardens of Versailles

In today’s money, building Versailles would cost an estimated $200-300 billion. Of this, one third of the budget went to fountains.

The Gardens of Versailles are made up of 372 statues, 55 water features, 600 fountains and 200,000 flowers and 200,000 trees are planted each year.

The palace can accommodate 5,000 people. Because of its size, the king often ate cold meals, as the dining room was far from the kitchen.

Louis XIV. saw himself as Apollo, the sun god. In several places in Versailles there are frescoes that Louis XIV. portrayed as a sun god. In addition, there are other sites that depict Apollo himself – for example, the Fountain of Apollo in front of the Grand Canal or the Baths of Apollo in the Bosquet des Bains d’Apollon.

Stinking Versailles

Can you imagine how Versailles was full of beautiful scents? Wrong. Versailles was far from perfumed in its time, and there were several reasons for this. It had few public toilets. The toilets were often in poor condition and their contents leaked into the walls and floors.

Throughout the palace there were 274 toilet chairs(Cabinets des Affaires), inside which there was only a container to perform the necessities. But the sewer was far away. During various meetings (at that time, these Cabinets des Affaires were also used to receive visitors), the contents of the containers were thrown out of the windows and later just wiped off.

Cabinets des Affaires

Another reason was the gowns. They were often made of fabrics that could not be washed and were only wiped with cloths. The poorer nobility, unlike the king, could not afford more than one gown, and so it began to stink after a while. In order not to smell so much, they carried little bags filled with herbs or petals. The whole palace was also scented with purple to eliminate the smell.

When to visit Versailles?

If you don’t like crowds of tourists, visit the Chateau de Versailles from November to March when there are the fewest tourists (unless it’s a warm weekend or a school holiday in France). The downside is that you won’t get to experience the music show or see the beautiful gardens in bloom.

The high season at Versailles runs from May to September, when you literally move with the crowd in some areas of the palace (e.g. the Hall of Mirrors). If you want to come here in high season, I recommend you to wait and arrive right at opening time. The other option is to come later in the afternoon.

In April, the gardens bloom and there are not so many tourists. In October, the surroundings of the palace turn into warm autumn tones.


Allow at least half a day to visit the castle. It depends on what you want to see. You can walk for hours in the gardens alone. The tour of the palace itself will take around 1.5-2 hours. If you plan to visit the Grand Trianon and the Little Trianon, you will spend a full day in Versailles. I recommend wearing comfortable shoes.

Printed maps are available behind the entrance and in several other places in the palace. There are also plenty of toilets within the complex – for example, in the north wing, in the Gabriel or Dufour pavilion, or in the Dufour pavilion. in the south wing.

Versailles Castle in Paris

As far as the palace is concerned, most visitors go to 1st floor. Especially the Mirror Room. Other popular spots include the first floor King and Queen suites.

If you have time and energy left, I recommend a tour of Versailles. It’s a nicely maintained and elegant city.

Versailles with children

Versailles Castle is also a perfect place for families with children. The gardens are full of fountains, there is a cave with the Baths of Apollo, ponds, a large Water Canal and other activities.

You can have a picnic or ice cream. Bicycles are available in the park. Some bikes are equipped with child seats. At the Grand Canal they rent rowboats (including life jackets for children). Or take a ride in the golf carts.

Kids will also love the local Hameau de la Reine farm behind the Grand and Little Trianon.

Where to eat in Versailles?

There are several restaurants and snack bars throughout the complex. If you’re looking for a good French restaurant, try La Flottille on the Grand Canal. Or take your food to go and eat in the park like a local.

Chateau Versailles map

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map of Versailles near Paris. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places mentioned in the Versailles guide. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.

How to enjoy Paris?

  • Don’t miss Paris at night – the illuminated pyramid at the Louvre, the illuminated Eiffel Tower or the glowing Sacré-Coeur Basilica. It’s a beautiful spectacle.
  • Avoid the weekends, when even more tourists come here.
  • Visit Paris in the off-season – temperatures are pleasant in spring and autumn and there are noticeably fewer tourists. The best time of year is winter, when flights and accommodation are cheapest.
  • Claim free entry – most of the sights are free for children and young people under 26.
  • Get Paris Pass – Are you over 26 years old? Here, too, there is a way to save money on admission to the sights. The Paris Pass includes access to more than 60 monuments and museums or a cruise on the Seine.
  • Have a real French Crêpes. They have them on almost every corner. They’re delicious.
  • Visit the most famous sights in the morning – the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe or the aforementioned Versailles. Although many places now require advance booking, you will still be subject to security checks. The fewer people, the faster you’ll be inside. Book your tickets in advance and go straight to the entrance at the venue:

This was our guide and practical tips for visiting Versailles in Paris. Do you have a question? Leave a comment or share. Have a safe journey!

Learn more about Paris and France

PARIS ITINERARY: Check out our tips on what to see in Paris. To help you plan, we’ve created an itinerary for 3 days in Paris. For a complete overview of admission fees to monuments, see the article Overview of admission fees and opening times to monuments in Paris.

THINGS TO DO IN PARIS: If you are an art lover, we have prepared a detailed guide to the Louvre (what to see, prices, admission, etc.).

Are you planning to visit Disneyland? Read our detailed guide to Disneyland.

PARIS GUIDE: In a separate article you can find out everything about transport in Paris (airport, public transport, metro, bicycle). Read about accommodation, prices, food and safety in our guide to Paris.

HOW TO SAVE IN PARIS: Read our tips on how to visit Paris cheaply. The Paris Pass is a popular way to save money in Paris – find out more about the Paris Pass.

PROVENCE: How about discovering more beautiful places in France? Provence is one of them. The Provence guide tells you everything you need to know before your trip.

Summary: Chateau Versailles

Who built Versailles?

Versailles was built by Louis XIII. as a country estate and then a hunting lodge. Louis XIV. then had Versailles made into a magnificent and lavish work to show his power and wealth to the whole world.

When was Versailles Castle built?

Versailles Castle was built at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries.

How many rooms does the Chateau de Versailles have?

Versailles Castle has 2300 rooms.

How much did it cost to maintain and run the Chateau de Versailles?

During the reign of Louis XIV. the maintenance and operation of Versailles cost an incredible 25% of France’s government expenditure.

What to see in Versailles?

In the palace, don’t miss the Hall of Mirrors and the King and Queen’s Apartments. After a tour of the palace, continue to the Gardens of Versailles, behind which you will find the Grand Canal Park and the Trianon Estate.

How much does it cost to enter Versailles?

Entrance fees vary according to age, time of year and what you want to visit. A detailed overview can be found in the article.

How long does it take to tour Versailles?

If you plan to visit mainly the palace and gardens, please allow 2-3 hours. A tour of the entire complex, including the Trianon Manor and the park, can take a whole day.

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