Castles, queens, boujee chandeliers and royal gardens beckon in France. And it’s no secret that out of France’s many castles, the Palace of Versailles ranks as one of the most popular. Being only 13 miles southwest of the City of Lights’ center, Versailles makes a great day trip from Paris. My friend Robin and I spent the weekend exploring Paris and devoted a solid half-day to our Versailles detour. (You most certainly could spend more time here!) From how to get there to how much it costs, here’s your guide on how to take a day trip to Versailles, France, to see the stunning Palace of Versailles.
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How to get to Versailles from Paris
Although you could spend a year in Paris and not see everything, it’s still so worth it to make the journey from Paris to Versailles. No, this smaller town isn’t part of Paris, but it’s extremely simple to get there. Robin and I took the RER C line from downtown Paris directly to Versailles. There are plenty of stops available in the heart of Paris, but if you were to take the RER C line from the Eiffel Tower to Versailles, it takes about 30 minutes. But there are plenty of other stops along the Seine and in the heart of Paris. Honestly, Google Maps does a decent job leading the way, so simply plug in your location and look for the RER C as an option. The RER C isn’t too expensive: the train from Paris to Versailles costs 3.65 euros each way. It drops you off close to the Palace of Versailles. Be sure to hop off at the Gare Versailles Château Rive Gauche. And once there, it’s about a 10 to 15 minute walk to the Palace of Versailles.
How much does it cost to visit the Palace of Versailles?
The short answer is that it depends on how much you want to see. Robin and I chose the Passport tickets, which include palace and estate access, and these passport tickets to Versailles start at 20 euros. If you only want to see the palace, the tickets cost 18 euros. And if you only want to see the Estate of Trianon, it costs 12 euros. Personally, I’d recommend the Passport tickets because it gives you access to the main highlights of the Château de Versailles. Here’s a chart comparing the different tickets.
Don’t want to pay full price? Me neither! The Palace of Versailles offers reduced rates for select groups of people. And they also offer free admission to people under 18 and EU residents under 26. Here’s a full list of people who qualify for free admission.
Still don’t fit into any of those groups? On the first Sunday of the month from November to March, admission is free.
Even if you qualify for a free ticket, definitely book ahead and plan to arrive early. Robin and I booked our Passport tickets and our guided tour several days in advance. But we made the mistake of arriving several minutes before our entry time for our Passport tickets at Versailles. Even for simple Passport ticket access at the Palace of Versailles, dozens of people who had already bought tickets were lined up before the entry time. And this was in November, not the height of tourism season in the summer. So don’t make our mistake: book your tickets in advance and arrive at least 30 minutes before the beginning of your time slot.
How much time do I need?
Versailles is massive, but I think one full day is enough to get the main highlights. Robin and I spent one half-day at Versailles and didn’t get to everything. We skipped out on the gardens since it was freezing, and since it was November, it wasn’t the greenest time for the gardens anyway. We scheduled in a guided tour of the private apartments because both Robin and I had already visited the Château de Versailles and wanted to see another part of the castle.
Guided tour or no guided tour?
You definitely can visit Versailles without a guided tour and learn an incredible amount through the free audio guides or mobile app. But that being said, Versailles is massive and so rich in history that having a guide can make your experience smoother. The first time I visited Versailles, it was on a high school trip at the ripe age of 15. Since I had already taken a day trip to Versailles, I wanted to go deeper this time. For my second day trip to Versailles, I decided to book the guided tour of the King’s Private Appartment. I enjoyed seeing another part of the property and getting more behind-the-scenes information. The Palace of Versailles offers many different types of guided visits in multiple languages, so take a look to see if there are any that tickle your fancy.
Best photo spots at Versailles
Did you even take a day trip to the Palace of Versailles if you don’t put it on the ‘gram? Obviously not. Arguably, every square inch of the Palace of Versailles is photo-worthy, but I’ve rounded up a few of the spots you definitely don’t want to miss. Here are some of the best photo spots at the Palace of Versailles.
Hall of Mirrors
Not only is this room absolutely stunning but it also holds immense historical significance. Long before the Treaty of Versailles was signed in this room in the early 1900s, the Hall of Mirrors welcomed leaders from the Ottoman Empire and Persia in the 1700s. The chandeliers in this room and the regal art will have you drooling and snapping pics left and right.
Black and white checkered floor
Out of all my photos from our day trip to the Palace of Versailles, these photos are my favorite. I absolutely love the contrast between the buildings’ golden details and the checkered ground. You can access this square once you pass the front golden gate. It’s pretty hard to miss!
The golden gate
I’ve seen a handful of castles in my time, but the gold on the Palace of Versailles is striking, that’s for sure. And one great photo spot at the Palace of Versailles is in front of this golden gate at the entrance of the castle.
The gardens at the Palace of Versailles are easily one of the most classic spots to take photos. Because we visited in the dead of winter, we didn’t spend much time outside. Exploring the gardens is still on my list, but there are plenty of great photo opportunities in these lavish gardens.
Last tips for your day trip to Versailles
I hope you’re on the edge of your seat just dreaming about your visit to the Palace of Versailles by this point. I love dreaming about what life was like for Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette and imagining life as queen. Yes, Paris has a lot to offer, but it’s so worth it to take a day trip to Versailles, France, to explore the castle and gardens.