The Palace of Versailles is undoubtedly the biggest tourist draw in Versailles, less than 40 km southwest of Paris. Yep, that means big tourist lines. If you’ll be coming from Paris, too, don’t fear. Read on to find out how to do the best day trip from Paris to Versailles by train with these Versailles tips and tricks on day 2 of your Paris 4 day itinerary.
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- Paris Solo Travel Packing Essentials
- Why Versailles Is Worth Seeing
- How to Get to the Palace of Versailles from Paris
- How Much it Costs to Go to Versailles from Paris
- Best Time to Visit Versailles
- How Much it Costs to Visit the Palace of Versailles
- How Much Time to Tour Versailles
- What is Best Way to Tour Versailles?
- Palace of Versailles Restaurants
- Is it Best to Visit the Palace of Versailles Alone?
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Paris Solo Travel Packing Essentials
Day Trip from Paris to Versailles Not to Miss Tips
Why Versailles Is Worth Seeing
Ever since art school, the Château de Versailles (commonly referred to as the Palace of Versailles) had been on my bucket list of places to visit. It epitomizes French art and history in a royal residence. A cultural UNESCO World Heritage site, the palace and park was first the residence of Louis XIII and later expanded upon by future kings through to King Louis XVI.
The artistry of the Neo-classical Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors) – a nod to the Sun King, Louis XIV, the Grand Trianon, the Orangery, the expansive Park (and more), reflect the height of 17th and 18th French artistry employed through generations of sculptors, architects and landscape artists as well as the excesses and failure of the French monarchy that ended with the French Revolution.
Since the beheadings of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in 1793, the Palace has been used for official functions and as a museum. At the time of this writing, it is estimated 10 million visitors descend on the Palace of Versailles yearly. Visiting few other French cultural sites makes learning history so much visually fun, making Versailles worth seeing.
How to Get to the Palace of Versailles from Paris
Easily, Versailles is a day trip from Paris. A mere 27km southwest of Paris, you can get to the Palace of Versailles from Paris by car, train, bus or through a multitude of tour companies.
I recommend taking a train from Paris to Versailles. It’s quick, easy, inexpensive and eco-friendly – all of the best things for single travelers.
How Much it Costs to Go to Versailles from Paris
Your day trip to Versailles from Paris by train provides two departing Paris train station options. I suggest you make your way to the Paris St-Michel/Notre Dame station and catch the RER C train to Versailles Château Rive Gauche, which leaves every 20 minutes, and takes 37 minutes to arrive. From there, it’s less than a 15-minute walk to the Château de Versailles.
The Paris to Versailles train cost is approximately $5 (check for current prices and train schedules online. As I recommend in my Paris itinerary, paying for this train ticket outside of your Paris Metro Pass will save you money if Versailles is your only train ride outside of Zones 1-3.
An alternate way to reach Versailles is via the SNCF train to the Versailles Chantiers station from Paris St-Michel/Notre Dame or arrive at Versailles Rive Droite station from Paris Saint Lazare.
Best Time to Visit Versailles
Without a doubt, the best of my Versailles tips and tricks is to not go in the summer during the height of tourist season. Period. Same for Paris, as this is a day trip on your solo 4-day Paris itinerary. Enjoy the area in the shoulder season for fine weather and less people.
Try to also avoid visiting the Palace of Versailles on the weekends, holidays and Mondays and Tuesdays when most Paris museums are closed, including the Palace.
If you must see the Palace of Versailles on the above days or summer season, do your best to get there well before the Palace opening time, even with your pre-downloaded Versailles Skip the Line ticket.
Versailles Solo Travel Tips
Always check and dress for the weather. This Versailles from Paris day trip could be a full day affair for you so bring the necessary eco-friendly items such as a day jacket/dress in layers, sunscreen, a hat and/or travel umbrella, and comfortable walking shoes.
Also, bring a light eco-friendly bag that fits all you need for entire day but not overstuffed where you’ll get tired hauling it around. Ensure your bag’s pockets are secured and do not keep valuables in your pockets. Such a crowded tourist attraction is bound to have pickpockets.
ECO TRAVEL PICKS
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How Much it Costs to Visit the Palace of Versailles
The cost to visit Palace of Versailles depends on what you wish to see and how much time you have. The Palace of Versailles interactive map can help you plan.
The Versailles Park is free to enter and opens before the palace does. At time of writing, an individual ticket to the Palace of Versailles – to all access cards – range from 7.50 to 90 €.
Another biggie Versailles tip: ensure your Palace of Versailles ticket is a “skip the line” ticket purchased in advance. Trust me.
How to Skip the Line at the Palace of Versailles
I did not want to spend all day in Versailles so I purchased the Palace Passport with audio guide and timed entry that allowed me to access a different line and enter within a half hour of my ticket time. There are several ticket options and timed entry times to suit your touring needs.
Entry to the Palace
With your reserved ticket on your device, or printed out, go directly to Entrance A of the Palace. To visit only the Trianon palaces and the estate of Marie-Antoinette, go to these entrances .
Can You Buy Tickets at Versailles?
Yes, but I would not recommend it. Book your Palace of Versailles tickets in advance. You do not want to be stuck in this line of tourists without a ticket:
Note, the line seen above is only a third of the line, and I took this picture early in the morning. In April. Yah. Remember, this is a huge tourist attraction. Tourist groups get dropped off by the bus load. I’m not trying to deter you from visiting the Palace of Versailles by any means. Just follow my Versailles tips and tricks so you get the best possible experience.
How Much Time to Tour Versailles
Your time at the Palace of Versailles depends on what you found interesting on the palace map and your overall day trip from Paris time you have allowed. Don’t forget to check out the times for special attractions, like the Musical Fountains, as these could affect your visitation plans.
A general guideline is to allow at least 1-2 hours inside (tour depending), and 1-3 hours outside, to get the most of your visit. Note, this does not include time waiting in line nor lounging with some food and drink onsite.
You want to arrive at the Palace of Versailles before your “skip the line” ticket entry time starts. If you can, enter the park at the opening time and get in line before your early morning palace entry time. Please be respectful and adhere to the Palace garden and park rules, and do not wander off designated paths or damage the flora.
What is Best Way to Tour Versailles?
The quickest answer to this is whatever works best for you. Do you like guided tours or do you want to wander on your own?
There is a self-guided audio tour available if you wish to learn a lot but not be walking with a pack of others on an in-person guided tour. To save time, download the free audio app on your mobile device in advance.
Go with some type of tour if you wish to get the most out of your visit and allow time in your day trip schedule.
The Palace of Versailles hours of operation are 9am to 6:30pm every day except Monday. The Versailles Palace gardens are open every day 8 am to 8:30 pm, and the Park opens at 7am. Last outdoor admissions are at 8pm for pedestrians.
Palace of Versailles Restaurants
Allow some time to take a breather and eat cake (I couldn’t resist). The Palace provides several dining options. Consider grabbing some lunch before heading back to the Versailles train station. You’ll feel more refreshed, especially if you will still be on the move in Paris.
Is it Best to Visit the Palace of Versailles Alone?
I completely recommend staying away from large tour groups on this one. The Palace is already going to be crowded. If you are involved with a large group, it’s just going to add more time to your visit and less time to get back and enjoy Paris.
Getting a single Palace of Versailles ticket in advance can also be easier than coordinating with others.
Personally, I like to get in, and see what I want, and have the luxury to leave at any point I like. What you happen to feel ill? Would you want to sit around waiting for a group to dictate when you can get back to your hotel and lie down? No thank you.
For my visit in April, the Palace of Versailles was quite crowded, even early in the morning. I couldn’t imagine going in the summer. Ugh! Plus, in all honesty, I was a little “palaced out” by the time I had my day trip from Paris on my 7-week Europe vacation. Within an hour I was wanting to escape the indoor crowds, so I shuffled through a little more quickly than planned to enjoy the gardens and park and grab a leisurely lunch at one of the cafés. You can’t beat that freedom.
Let Me Hear From You
I would love to hear if my day trip from Paris to Versailles tips and tricks were helpful to you. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!