After seeing photos of the Château de Versailles in France, I instantly knew it was a place I needed to see in person and I couldn’t wait to visit when I was in Paris last week.
Paris is one of those cities that is often romanticized in the media, especially in the movies. After traveling to Paris for the first time last week I have to admit, I didn’t fall in love with the city.
Yes, it was beautiful and yes I loved learning and seeing the rich history that the city holds — but I wouldn’t go as far to say that it was my favourite city.
It was an incredible experience to visit there, but not a place I could see myself living. It’s hard to explain, but hopefully you can see what I am trying to say.
However, the Château de Versailles did not disappoint; except for the small fact that it was insanely crowded for a rainy winter day.
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How To Get There
I highly recommend taking public transportation there as it’s very easy and inexpensive (taxis cost a fortune in Paris and I tried to avoid using them).
You will need to take the RER C line to “Versailles-Rive Gauche”. I caught the RER C train at “Invalides” station in Paris and the ride was about 30 minutes. The cost for a one-way ticket to Versailles is 3.55 EUROS. I suggest purchasing your return ticket at the same time since the ticket line at “Versailles-Rive Gauche” can be a long wait.
Once you reach “Versailles-Rive Gauche”, the palace is only a 5-10 minute walk away.
When is the Best Time to Visit Versailles?
It’s tough to say what day or which time of day is best to visit the palace. My cousin went in the winter and said he got there 20 minutes before it opened and was one of the first people to get inside to get a photo of the famous Hall of Mirrors without anyone in it.
My parents went mid-morning in April and said it was also relatively quiet.
However, I arrived on a rainy Tuesday morning in February at 9:00am (right when it opened) and there was already a 40 minute wait to get inside.
Perhaps Tuesday is not the best day to visit since the Musée du Louvre is closed this day, so every tour group goes to the Château de Versailles instead (that is just my theory). I would also avoid the weekends since this is also a prime time to visit.
After my experience, I think the best bet is to arrive before it opens on Wednesday or Thursday morning.
I stayed from 9:00am to 4:30pm last Tuesday morning and there was a steady flow of tour groups and visitors, I didn’t notice a moment when it got quiet.
During the winter, the gardens remain open but there is nothing in bloom. The statues are covered and the fountains are not running. On the plus side, they don’t charge you an additional fee to visit the gardens in the winter for this reason.
Should You Go on a Guided Tour?
Going on a guided tour obviously has its advantages since you get to learn more about the rooms, the paintings and its history.
You also get to ask the tour guide questions as you go about the palace. However you are subject to the tour’s walking pace. Some rooms you may want to spend longer in than others, so this is something you may want to consider.
For those who want an unguided tour, there are free audio guides available in a variety of languages. Ultimately, whether you choose to go on a guided or unguided tour is a personal preference.
How Long Should You Plan to Spend at the Château de Versailles?
I would consider going to Versailles as a day trip, so plan to spend the majority of the day here.
I had a Paris Museum Pass so after touring the rooms in the morning, I took a break for lunch nearby and returned to the palace in the afternoon to explore the gardens and Marie-Antoinette’s Estate.
During the summer, you may want to spend more time in the gardens since everything is in bloom.
I recommend getting the Paris Museum Pass or The Paris Pass if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing during your trip. The Paris Pass is good for those who are interested in both museums and tours, and it also includes a transit pass for the Paris metro and buses.
There is a tram available (for a fee) if you want to go around the property outside. It will take you to Marie-Antoinette’s Estate. You can also choose to rent bikes to ride around too which would be a fun activity in the spring or summer months.
Le Petit Trianon
Over to you — have you ever been to the Palace of Versailles?
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