How to Visit Versailles From Paris (Complete Guide + Tips!)

Visiting Versailles is at the top of many Paris trip wishlists–and considering that the palace and expansive grounds make up one of the most opulent royal residences on the planet, it’s not hard to see why!

Planning a day trip to Versailles from Paris is fairly straightforward, but you’ll definitely want to go in with a plan in place.

That’s what we’re here for!

We’ve been lucky enough to visit Versailles Palace, its gardens, and the lesser-known palaces on the property in both the depths of winter and the height of summer.

And while there are many wonderful day trips from Paris, there’s no doubt that Versailles is among the best of them!

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Versailles from Paris, from how to get there to whether or not a guided tour is right for you.

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Should you book a guided tour of Versailles?

One of the first questions travelers planning their first Versailles visit tend to have is whether it’s worth having a guided tour to help structure your day.

And the answer is: it depends!

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The Versailles estate–which as we’ll cover in this Versailles guide extends far beyond the iconic palace–is enormous enough to be overwhelming, and packed with enough history that a live tour guide can add lots of context!

If your goal for your day trip to Versailles is to see and learn as much as possible about the palace itself, while not stressing about finding your way around the estate, then a well-reviewed guided tour like this is an excellent option.

If your ideal day at Versailles sounds more like seeing the Hall of Mirrors and a few famous spots and then wandering through the gardens, relaxing, maybe renting a rowboat, and not stressing about seeing each place, then booking a timed entry ticket in advance may be enough to make sure you have a wonderful day.

front facade of palace of versailles, a paris bucket list sightseeing destination

There are no wrong answers here: Versailles tours are definitely valuable, but depending on your travel style, may or may not be right for you.

One other thing to consider?

Some Versailles tours, like this one, include transportation from Paris–and others, like this one, meet up in the town of Versailles itself (about a 40-minute RER C train ride from Paris, plus the time it takes you to get to the RER C train).

As you consider your trip to Versailles, be sure to keep in mind whether or not you want to be responsible for your own transportation!

Book your Versailles entry ticket or guided tour of the estate today!

kate storm in the gardens versailles day trip from paris

Top Things to Do at Versailles

Though “visiting Versailles” is often touted alone as something to do when it’s discussed in more general Paris posts, the estate is–clearly–enormous.

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Even within Versailles itself, there are plenty of things to do, and most trips to Versailles won’t be able to cover them all.

Be sure to prioritize your personal list of things to do at Versailles to make sure you don’t miss anything that is important to you!

To help you make your plans, here are some of the best things to do at Versailles.

Visiting Versailles from Paris: Grand Trianon

Tour the palace of Versailles.

Obviously, touring the Versailles Palace belongs at the very top of this list!

Most people visiting Versailles will already know of its most recognizable room, the Hall of Mirrors, and many more gilded areas are open to the public as well, including the State Apartments and the Royal Chapel.

The details, history, and beauty of the Palace of Versailles is the cornerstone of any visit to the estate, and the center point of virtually every guided tour of Versailles!

Visiting Versailles: Exterior of the Palace

Pay a visit to Grand Trianon.

Built by the Sun King, Louis the 12th (grandfather of the famed Louis the 14th), Grand Trianon is incredibly beautiful.

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Grand Trianon boasts more understated elegance than what you will experience at the over-the-top opulence of the palace of Versailles, and it’s an interesting window into the evolution of the French aristocracy.

Tucked into a quiet corner of the sprawling property, Grand Trianon feels worlds away from the hectic nature of Versailles.

Visiting Versailles: Interior of Grand Trianon

Duck inside Petit Trianon.

This small palace was built by Louis the 13th as a gift for his longtime mistress, before being gifted to Marie Antoinette when Louis the 14th took the throne.

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Though small (especially as compared to the palace of Versailles or even Grand Trianon), Petit Trianon is lovely, surrounded by beautiful gardens, and is isolated from the main palace of Versailles.

Standing inside this small (by Versailles standards, anyway) palace, it’s easy to see why it would have been considered a quiet escape from court life!

kate storm on the grounds of versailles enjoying a day trip to versailles from paris france

Flounce around Marie Antoinette’s Hamlet.

What do you do when you’re a teenage queen looking to get away from court life?

Why, turn the gardens of Trianon into a pretend rural village, of course!

The Queen’s Hamlet consists of an entire grouping of rural buildings built around an artificial lake.

Visiting Versailles: The Queen's Hamlet

In Marie Antoinette’s day, it functioned as a working farm, complete with plenty of animals and fields, the purpose of which was to contribute to the education of the royal children.

Marie Antoinette herself used the hamlet to relax or host small gatherings.

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Visiting the hamlet while on a day trip to Versailles definitely gives a bit of a feeling of being out of place–which makes perfect sense given the context of how the hamlet came to be!

Today, the hamlet is once again a working farm, and as you explore, you’ll likely spot growing food or even some animals in this part of the property.

tower at marie antoinette hamlet as seen from across the water on a visit versailles

Rent a rowboat on the Grand Canal.

Versailles’ Grand Canal–which is located west of the palace, straight back into the gardens–is home to a collection of wooden rowboats that are available to rent.

If you’d like to get an unusual perspective on the palace and the gardens, consider hitting the water as part of your tour of Versailles!

travelers enjoying rowboats in the versailles gardens on a versailles tour

Wander through the maze of gardens.

Spanning more than 8.2 square kilometers, the gardens of Versailles are more than just beautiful flowers and well-manicured trees–they’re the perfect place to get lost!

Definitely dedicate a chunk of the time that you are visiting Versailles to exploring the gardens!

Each section has its own perks, from baroque fountains to ice cream stands.

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Especially be sure to check out the Ballroom, the Apollo Baths, the Enceladus Grove, and, of course, the beautiful and easy-to-spot Leto’s Fountain, which is situated right at the top of the gardens.

Unlike most of the estate, the gardens are free to visit from November to March.

While they certainly aren’t at their best then, they’re definitely still worth a stroll even during a winter visit to Versailles.

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Check out an exhibition or event at the palace.

If you’d like to make your visit to Versailles extra special, consider visiting Versailles for a special event!

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Most popularly, the Musical Fountains show is put on during some summer days, and though it requires a special ticket, allows you to admire the gardens at their very best, with live baroque music and the fountains turned on in all their glory.

Various exhibitions and events also take place throughout the year, so if you have your eye on a unique visit to Versailles, be sure to check the calendar to see what’s going to be available during your trip!

Alternatively, popular guided tours like this often include a stop at the shows (during the season) as well!

grove of 3 fountains spraying water on a day trip to versailles france

Hire a bike and explore the grounds.

If walking around the grounds of Versailles feels too slow and a golf cart feels too removed from the environment, consider renting a bike for the day!

Not only is riding through the grounds lots of fun, it will also make your schlep out to Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon, and the Queen’s Hamlet much easier.

Visiting Versailles: Tour the Gardens

Tips for Visiting Versailles From Paris

Buy skip-the-line tickets in advance.

The lines for visiting Versailles are nearly always ridiculously long: with 7 million visitors per year, Versailles doesn’t really have anything approaching a deserted period during opening hours.

For that reason, if you’re visiting Versailles independently, we strongly recommend purchasing timed entry, skip-the-line tickets before arriving.

Considering the amount of time it saves, there’s absolutely no reason not to!

Bear in mind that though purchasing tickets for Versailles in advance does allow you to skip the (usually enormous) ticket line, you’ll still need to pass through security–there’s no way around that one.

You’ll also need to visit the palace itself at the entry time you choose–all the other attractions of Versailles can be visited at your leisure.

Book your Versailles tickets today!

Visiting Versailles: Girl in the Gardens

Consider touring the gardens and Trianon first, then the palace.

This depends somewhat on what time you arrive, but especially for those of us who are a bit challenged by early mornings, it can pay off to reverse the order of your traditional visit.

On one of our previous Versailles day trips, we walked right around the enormous security line to enter the palace when we arrived and instead made our way into the much more accessible gardens.

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From there, we visited Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon, and the Queen’s Hamlet at our leisure before looping back to the palace of Versailles just a couple of hours before closing–and as a result, we waited less than 5 minutes in the security line!

If you book a timed entry slot to the palace (which we highly recommend in 2023), this won’t apply to you–but just in case you’re planning a last-minute trip, it’s worth mentioning!

Keep in mind that the outer buildings only open at noon, so if you’re an early riser and are able to get into the security line before the palace of Versailles opens, the traditional route might still be better for you.

Visiting Versailles: Gardens of Trianon

Bring cash with you.

Whether you want to buy a coffee or an ice cream from one of the vendors in the gardens, rent a rowboat for a romantic paddle in lake, pick up a golf cart for a few hours, or hop a ride on the small tram in the gardens to make the trek out to Trianon a bit easier, odds are you’ll find something while visiting Versailles that you want to drop some cash on.

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Wear the most comfortable shoes you packed.

Visiting Versailles includes a lot of walking.

Even if you take advantage of bike or golf cart rentals for exploring the grounds, you’re still going to end up spending the bulk of your time on your feet.

We both walked away from Versailles with feet just as sore as the day we visited Disneyland Paris, and that’s saying something!

This is not the place for new shoes or heels of any kind: do yourself a favor and stick to something cozy.

Visiting Versailles from Paris: Girl near Petit Trianon

The palace of Versailles and the Trianon Estate are not open on Mondays.

Though the park and gardens are still open, if you’re taking a day trip to Versailles from Paris, you’ll obviously want to avoid coming on a Monday.

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Consider avoiding Versailles on Tuesdays.

If you have the opportunity to schedule your visit to Versailles on any day of the week, Tuesday is best avoided.

Given that the palace of Versailles is closed on Monday and the Louvre (along with the Musee Rodin and some other Paris museums) is closed on Tuesday, Tuesday is one of the most popular days to visit Versailles.

The resulting heavier-than-usual crowds are best avoided if possible!

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Expect to spend a full day at Versailles.

It is possible to get a glimpse of Versailles in half a day, especially if you book a guided tour, but if you want to see the bulk of what Versailles has to offer, expect to spend a whole day there… and to leave with feet so sore that you’re not interested in sightseeing with any time you have left in the day.

If you only have a few days in Paris and can only dedicate half a day to visiting Versailles, we recommend booking a tour to ensure that you make the most of your time.

This half-day tour from Paris will ensure that you see the best of Versailles, fast!

Visiting Versailles: Gardens of Versailles

Don’t forget about the town of Versailles!

While for visitors, visiting Versailles from Paris is synonymous with the visiting royal palace and grounds, Versailles is also a town!

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If you’d like to step outside the typical route and see Versailles beyond the relics of the royals, consider paying a visit to the beautiful Versailles Cathedral, admiring the adorable French homes in the quarter of Saint-Louis, and checking out the Musée Lambinet.

And, of course, no visit to a French town is complete without wandering the quiet, beautiful streets while ducking into the occasional pastry shop!

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When to Take a Day Trip to Versailles

At this point, we’ve been lucky enough to visit Versailles in both the summer and winter, and the truth is… summer is undeniably better.

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Sure, it’s a bit more crowded, but the grounds truly come to life in the summer (especially the Queen’s Hamlet), and it’s much easier to immerse yourself in the grounds and lose track of yourself wandering the estate during the summer.

That being said, we did also adore our visit to Versailles in the winter, and if you happen to have a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Paris in the winter, we wouldn’t recommend skipping Versailles just because of the season.

The palace is stunning at any time of year, and there is a peacefulness to the grounds in winter, as well.

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Getting to Versailles from Paris

To visit Versailles from Paris, the easiest thing to do is to take the RER C train to the Versailles-Château-Rive-Gauche station.

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Once you get on the RER C train, the journey is about 40 minutes from the center of Paris.

Keep in mind that the RER is a separate train system from the metro, even though they both exist in some of the same stations in Paris!

Be sure to intentionally buy an RER ticket to Versailles, and not simply use a Paris metro ticket.

Visiting Versailles from Paris: Train Station

When you purchase your train ticket to Versailles, be sure to purchase a round-trip ticket (and then keep track of which ticket you validate first, so you don’t accidentally try to reuse a ticket on the way home!).

The crowds can get very heavy at the Versailles-Château-Rive-Gauche station, especially around the time that the palace closes, and it’s much simpler to already have your return ticket in hand when heading out to Versailles.

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Once you arrive at the Versailles-Château-Rive-Gauche station, it’s an easy 10-minute walk to the palace.

While visiting Versailles via the RER C line is fairly simple, if you’d prefer not to have to worry about transportation, consider booking a tour of Versailles that leaves from Paris.

Visiting Versailles from Paris: RER C Train

Getting Around When Visiting Versailles

The grounds of Versailles are enormous!

Regardless of how you decide to get around Versailles, you’re virtually guaranteed to finish your Versailles visit with sore feet–hours of walking is the nature of the beast.

However, if you’d like to expedite your way around the grounds, you have a few options.

You can rent bikes, hop on the tram, rent a golf cart for the day, or even sign up for a bike tour of Versailles.

If you think you might want to take advantage of these options, be sure to bring some cash with you on your visit to Versailles!

Book your bike tour of Versailles today!

view of the versailles gardens from just outside the palace on a versailles day trip from paris

FAQ About Visiting Versailles From Paris

Is Versailles worth visiting?

Yes, Versailles is definitely worth visiting!

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As one of the most opulent and (in)famous palaces in Europe, Versailles is both beautiful and extremely historically relevant.

There’s a reason Versailles is widely considered one of the best day trips from Paris!

jeremy storm standing in the hall of mirrors in versailles palace

Do you need a whole day for Versailles?

If you want to explore Versailles in-depth, including the gardens, palace, Queen’s Hamlet, and Trianon Estate, you’ll definitely want a full day to visit Versailles.

However, if you’re limited on time and only have half a day to spare, it’s still worth seeing the palace and gardens in a shorter timeframe.

travelers admiring artwork inside versailles palace

Can you walk around Versailles for free?

The gardens of Versailles are free to visit when the fountain shows and musical gardens are not happening.

The shows are seasonal, from April to November, and you can check the exact days here.

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A couple of other offbeat areas, like the park and Gallery of Coaches, are also free.

However, if you want to truly experience the estate, you’ll be better off purchasing a ticket.

Personally, unless you’re on a very strict budget and also extremely motivated to see Versailles, I’d recommend skipping Versailles and sticking around Paris longer if you don’t want to purchase a ticket (after all, there are an overwhelming number of wonderful, free things to do in Paris).

kate storm walking through leafy trees in the versailles grounds

What’s included in a ticket for Versailles?

Most travelers visiting Versailles from Paris will want to book the passport ticket, which is the “main” Versailles ticket.

It includes access to the palace, grounds, Queen’s Hamlet, and Trianon Estate (note that these tickets are more expensive on days when the fountain and garden show plays).

There are also tickets strictly for the palace or the Estate of Trianon if you’re planning a more limited trip to Versailles.

Book your tickets to Versailles today!

building located inside the queens hamlet in versailles france

What should you wear to Versailles?

The most important things to consider about what to wear when visiting Versailles are the weather and your comfort!

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A trip to Versailles almost inevitably includes a lot of tightly packed crowds and a lot of walking.

The Queen’s Hamlet, for example, is about a 30-minute walk from the palace.

Opt for comfortable shoes and clothes you don’t mind wearing all day when planning your day trip to Versailles from Paris!

Visiting Versailles from Paris: #versailles #paris #france #parisdaytrip #travel
About Kate Storm
Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

2 thoughts on “How to Visit Versailles From Paris (Complete Guide + Tips!)”

  1. This is really useful info. I know that the palace and Trianon estate are closed on Mondays, but I was wondering if you can still wander around the grounds and look at the outside of the Trianons and Queens Hamlet without going inside them on a Monday? Thank you.

    • Hi Ruth! My understanding is that you can visit the exterior of the Trianons on Mondays, and I know the gardens are certainly open. I’m less sure about the Queen’s Hamlet, as it’s set a bit further out than even the Trianons, but I suspect your odds of being able to walk through the area are good.

      If you do happen to visit on a Monday, we’d love to hear what you find out on your trip! 🙂


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