The Palace of Versailles redefines opulence and at a mere twenty kilometres from Paris, it is definitely a worthwhile day trip from the capital. So how to get from Paris to Versailles to explore the old-world realm of the Sun King, Louis XIV?
The good news is that there are plenty of options.
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What is the Palace of Versailles?
The UNESCO World Heritage Listed Palace of Versailles is a grand chateau that was used by the French royal family as a residence many years ago. The palace has extensive grounds with manicured gardens and large water features including the lovely Grand Canal where visitors can hire a rowboat to explore.
Built in 1631-4 by Louis XIII, the palace was once more modest however was transformed by the infamous Louis XIV whose taste for the decadent more than contributed to the eventual overthrowing of the French Monarchy in the French Revolution.
There is little doubt that the Palace of Versailles is one of Europe’s most beautiful Royal Palaces.
How To Get From Paris To Versailles?
The simplest way to get to the Palace of Versailles is to drive or take a taxi or rideshare. From central Paris, near the Notre Dame Cathedral driving to the Palace of Versailles will take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half depending on traffic conditions.
In a taxi, this could become quite an expensive trip, but is an easy option if money is no object and you’re pondering how to get from Paris to Versailles.
If you’re hiring a car, however, enjoy the drive and be sure to explore some more of the French countryside once you’ve seen the palace.
Paris is renowned for its excellent train system and the Palace of Versailles does have its own railway station, the Gare de Versailles Château Rive Gauche serviced directly on the yellow C line from Paris. From further out, like Montmartre, visitors can take the train from Abbesses to Montparnasse and then change for Versailles-Chantiers station.
The walk is fairly comparable from either Versailles station to the palace.
The Palace lies about 15 minutes’ walk from the station, and it is easy to find – just follow the throngs of tourists!
If you’re simply not confident on how to get from Paris to Versailles, then a guided tour might be your best bet. Luckily, as this attraction is such a hot tourist destination, there’s plenty of half or full day tours of the Château de Versailles available.
If you’re keen on exploring further than just the Palace of Versailles, you can also join a tour that also visits Giverny, where Monet’s famous garden is located. Both Versailles and Giverny should absolutely be on your France bucket list.
Tickets to visit the Palace of Versailles
Like everything in a capacity-restricted, post COVID world it is always a good idea to book entry tickets to the Palace of Versailles in advance to avoid large lines or missing out completely.
Entry passes can be purchased online in advance, which gives you great peace of mind that you will actually be able to enter the Palace on the day you choose to visit. Your entry ticket usually comes with an audio guide which gives great insight into the various sections of the palace and grounds.
Alternatively, tickets may be purchased at the entry gate.
What to see at the Palace of Versailles
Once you’ve figured out how to get from Paris to Versailles, the next thing to do is to start exploring the resplendent Palace complex.
The Gate of Honour
It may seem odd to single out a gate, but the entrance gate to Versailles sets the tone for the grandeur of the entire palace.
The original Grill d’Honneur was torn down during the French Revolution but there is no doubt that this beautiful replica features all the pomp and spectacle of its predecessor.
The Hall of Mirrors
Arguably the Palace of Versailles most famous resident, the magical Hall of Mirrors will have visitors gasping in disbelief at its abundance of hanging chandeliers, ceiling frescos and of course, the 357 mirrors in the grand hall.
This room is truly the definition of French splendour. Given that it is such an icon of the Palace of Versailles, be prepared for it to be packed full of tourists at any given time.
If you want a much sought-after image with limited or no people in it, then considering getting to the palace at opening time, run straight to the Hall of Mirrors to take your shot and then go back to the entrance and start exploring the palace.
This large baroque castle exists on palace grounds but lies separate to the more formal Palace of Versailles. The Kings of France enjoyed retreating here where they could be away from the formalities and responsibilities of the court.
One of the most famous views of the Grand Trianon is the diamond black and white checked flooring along the building’s frontage that overlooks the surrounding gardens.
The small chateau on palace grounds is part of the Domaine de Trianon and is most famous for being doomed French Queen Marie Antoinette’s personal retreat from palace life and responsibilities.
Marie Antoinette redesigned the Petit Trianon gardens extensively and the grounds are beautiful.
The Grand Canal and Gardens
Once you’ve explored the Palace of Versailles, you will find yourself outside standing at the entrance to the extensive chateau gardens.
These gardens are as grand as the palace’s interior, curated down to the nearest leaf and creating wonderful geometric shapes in their design.
Some garden highlights include the enormous 1500 metre long Grand Canal as well as the famous Versailles Orangerie that features a large collection of citrus trees from around Europe.
Where to stay in Paris?
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