Formerly a (comparatively) humble hunting lodge, the Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles) is the extravagant creation of Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King. Embellished to epitomize ultimate royal decadence, the inequality of which tindered the French Revolution, Versailles Palace is a feast for the eyes — its 700 rooms are replete with frescoed ceilings and carvings, while the Versailles Gardens (Jardins de Versailles) brim with geometrically designed walkways and fountains. No visit to Paris, or France for that matter, is complete without experiencing the grandeur of Versailles.
Visiting every one of the palace's 700 rooms would take days, so a Versailles guided tour that encapsulates Chateau de Versailles' highlights is indisputably the best option. In the Hall of Mirrors, gold-framed windows let in heavenly light, while priceless antique furniture decorates the King's Grand Chambers. The Royal Chapel's seemingly interminable columns are divine to behold, and in the Gardens of Versailles, the colossal Grand Canal dominates while the Musical Fountains dance to classical music at regular intervals.
Lines can be long, often exceeding two hours, so purchase a skip-the-line ticket to spend less time waiting and more time exploring the Versailles Palace and Gardens. Various combo tours include skip-the-line entry at both the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum and a Versailles Palace tour, allowing travelers to maximize their time in Paris. History buffs should consider a private tour for tailored insight into the residence's history, particularly Marie Antoinette's exile in the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon, while active travelers can tour Versailles by bike to cover more ground in less time. On a full-day tour, fans of Impressionist art can combine Versailles with a visit to Giverny, the village that inspired the water lily paintings of Claude Monet.
- The palace is incredibly popular — book a skip-the-line ticket to save time.
- The majority of tours from Paris include hotel pickup and drop-off.
- Select a tour that combines round-trip transport with an audio guide for a self-guided experience.
How To Get to the Palace of Versailles
The palace is located in the small township of Versailles, 13 miles (21 km) outside of Paris, and is easy to reach by train. Catch RER C from Paris to Versailles Rive Gauche station, only a 10-minute walk away from the palace. You can also catch the SNCF train from Paris Montparnasse station to Versailles Chantiers or from Paris Saint Lazare to Versailles Rive Droite station.
When to Get There
At night, when the palace lights are illuminated and the sun has set, the gardens' Musical Fountains are at their most magical. Visit the Versailles Gardens on a Saturday evening between June 17 and September 16 to see a particularly special fountain performance crowned with a fireworks display.