Climb aboard a comfortable, climate-controlled minivan in central Paris to begin the drive west to for a private tour of the Palace of Versailles. Upon arrival, stop for a coffee and croissant in a nearby cafe (included) before meeting your guide at the reserved entrance to the palace. There, you'll get to bypass the long lines and go right inside thanks to your priority access ticket.
Begin your visit to the Palace of Versailles by seeing two of the 17 rooms of the State Apartments – the Council Study and the King's Chamber – before they get too crowded. Next, visit the Hall of Mirrors, which you'll also get to see before the bulk of the crowds. Take in the extravagance of the hall, lined with 357 mirrors on one wall and windows on the other.
After seeing these highlights, follow your guide beyond the velvet ropes to the Royal Quarters which are usually off-limits. The rooms of Louis XV and Louis XVI that you will see are:
- Louis XVI's library, reportedly a favorite room of his
- The formal dining room in which Louis XV held important dinners for nobility
- The clock room, where you'll see a clock with a crystal globe depicting planets revolving around the sun
- The 'corner room,' in which Louis XV's roll-top desk is located, thought to be one of the finest pieces of furniture on earth
After this visit to the Royal Quarters, your tour continues to one of two additional attractions at Versailles, depending on availability. You will either see the Royal Chapel, in which much of the artwork is focused on the theme of kings being divinely chosen, or the Royal Opera House. The latter was built in 1770 to commemorate the marriage of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
This marks the end of the guided tour of Versailles. There will be an opportunity to ask your guide any follow-up questions or recommendations for the remainder of your visit to the palace and gardens.
The rest of your visit can be spent in a variety of ways. You can go back to see some of the other 15 rooms in the State Apartments or take a break for lunch at the restaurant inside the palace, Angelina's (own expense). You can venture out to explore the vast Gardens of Versailles – or at least some of its 1,977 acres (800 hectares). Depending on the day of your visit, you may be lucky enough to see one of the special summer events in the garden – the Musical Gardens or Musical Fountains Show (Grandes Eaux Musicales
in French). See the Itinerary
section below for more details.
Also in the gardens is a popular little restaurant, La Petite Venise, set inside what were once the palace's stables near the Grand Canal. This is where you'll meet your guide for the return trip to Paris at the conclusion of your tour, and of course you're welcome to eat at the restaurant before that, too.