Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles takes the award for the most visited château in France, and the magnificent Versailles Château Gardens are world renowned. A series of beautifully landscaped gardens, show-stopping fountains, and tree-lined pathways covering 800 hectares (1,976 acres), the gardens center on the cross-shaped Grand Canal.
The gardens of Versailles are famous for their spectacular musical fountain shows and evening fireworks displays, held throughout the summer months.
Most visitors opt to discover Versailles on a half-day tour from Paris. With wait times lasting up to two hours, it’s worth booking skip-the-line entrance tickets if you plan to visit both the palace and gardens. You can explore the gardens on a self-guided tour, but visiting with a tour guide can be helpful if you have limited time or want to learn more about their history.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Plan at least two hours to explore the gardens.
- Access to the gardens is free of charge, except on the days when Musical Fountains Shows take place.
- Electric golf carts are available to rent, and a mini-train runs between the palace, the Trianon palaces, the Queen’s Hamlet, and the Grand Canal.
- The Versailles Château Gardens contain a selection of restaurants and cafés, but picnics are not permitted.
- It can be breezy in the gardens even in summer, so bring a jacket.
- Free Wi-Fi points are located in the Main Courtyard and at the garden entrance, and a free Gardens of Versailles app is available to download.
- All visitors to the gardens must pass through security checks, and no large bags or suitcases are permitted.
How To Get There
The Palace of Versailles, 13 miles (21 kilometers) outside Paris, is easy to reach by train. RER C trains run from central Paris to Versailles Château Rive Gauche, a 10-minute walk from the palace. SNCF trains run from Paris Montparnasse station to Versailles Chantiers or from Paris Saint Lazare to Versailles Rive Droite station. On arrival at the palace, direct entrance to the gardens is through the Courtyard of the Princes.
When to Get There
The Versailles Château Gardens are open year-round, but by far the most popular time to visit is in high season (April to October) when Musical Fountains Shows, Musical Gardens, and Fountains Night Shows take place. On show days an admission fee is charged, and it’s best to visit early in the morning or just before closing to avoid the busiest periods. Visiting in low season means smaller crowds, but for conservation purposes the fountains are switched off, the groves are closed, and many of the statues are covered.
A Walking Tour of the Versailles Château Gardens
The masterpiece of landscape architect André Le Nôtre, the stunning gardens of Versailles offer scenic walks through groves, around formal parterres, and past spectacular fountains. Stride down the Royal Walk, gaze out across the Great Lawn, stroll around the Orangerie, and admire Marie Antoinette’s Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon palaces. Additional highlights include Apollo’s Baths Grove, the Mirror Pool, Ballroom Grove, the Neptune Fountain, and Apollo’s Fountain, which looks out across the Grand Canal.