There is little to no way to describe how massive the property of Versailles is. I remember comparing in to grasping the size of the universe. Versailles is something I regretfully skipped during my first visit to Paris and I made sure not to miss it on my most recent visit. It is a must see day trip from Paris. It won’t take you long to get there via RER but you absolutely have to plan for a whole day. We spent about 6 hours there and saw 10% of the property. With a rented a go-cart. It’s insane.
What is Versailles?
Versailles is a palace or, royal chateau, in Versailles which is on the outskirts of Paris. Royalty reigned here from 1682 when King Louis XIV moved the royal court here from Paris until 1789 when the royal family was forced to return to Paris, right after the start of the French Revolution. The palace is a symbol of absolute monarchy as well as being the famous home of King Louis XVI and Marie Antionette. Today more than 10 million people visit the palace and gardens annually.
Who lived there?
Most notably, King Louis XIV (the Sun King), Louie XV, Louis XVI, and Marie Antionette.
How do I get there?
From Paris you can either take the RER from Paris St-Michel/Notre Dame to Versailles Château Rive Gauche for $2-4 OR take the train from Paris Austerlitz RER to Versailles-Chantiers for $9-14.
The palace is open every day except for Monday’s and on May 1 from 9-6:30. (The gardens and the park are open every day and the trianons and hamlet are open the same as the palace, but from 12-6:30.) You will need a pass that you can purchase in advance online or on site. (Purchase online!) Visit here to purchases passes!
How much of The Palace is accessible?
Of the monstrosity that is Versailles, only a small portion of the entire Palace is open to the public, however, you will not realize this because even that portion will take you HOURS to see. You will be able to see The Mesdame’s Apartments, The Hall of Mirrors, Apartments of Marie Antionette, The Royal Chapel, The King’s Chamber, The King’s Grand Apartment, Apartments of the Dauphin and the Dauphine, The Opera Royal, The Apartment of the Marquise de Pompadour, The Battles Gallery, and The Queen’s Grand Apartment, The King’s Interior Apartments. It sounds like a lot, but just wait until you see a map of the Palace and realize how much square footage of the Palace you won’t be able to see!
How big are the gardens?
The gardens are immense and wonderful. Check and see when the musical fountain and musical garden shows are for a true treat. The gardens can be accessed with a pass by foot or by renting a cart. I think it would be great to dedicate an entire trip to seeing only the gardens!
In the gardens you can discover The Groves, The Water Parterres, The Walks, The Sculptures, and The Orangerie. Read more on the gardens here.
What’s up with the hot chocolate?
You won’t explore Versailles without catching Angelina’s. Immediately you will wonder about their “famous hot chocolate.” Chocolate was a serious luxury during the times of royalty in the palace and Marie Antionette loved it so much that she drank hot chocolate for breakfast every morning, with whipped cream and an orange blossom.
What is the Petite Trianon and Grand Trianon? The Grand Trianon was a man-cave of sorts for the King and his men, and the Petite Trianon is what I like to call Marie Antoinette’s “tiny home” or tree house. They are referenced to as the “intimate part of Versailles’ where the King, Queen, and royal court could escape and relax. These lovely sites are a 20 minute cart ride from the palace (and well worth the money to rent the cart). From April-October you can visit the trianons along with the Queen’s Hamlet from 12pm-6:30pm except for Mondays. Buy the passport ticket so that you can access these sites! Access to the Palace and Gardens alone will not grant you access here. Read more about visiting here.
The Palace and Gardens will take you all day and all evening (and could easily take longer) but you can also enjoy the many leisures of the Park by the Grand Canal where you can rent a boat, bicycle, picnic, play, or go for a jog with your dog! Read more about those activities here!
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