Versailles Chateau, a Day-Trip from Paris, Episode 14

Versailles chateau with cloudy sky

Versailles Chateau, a Day-Trip from Paris

Today on Join Us in France we take a day-trip from Paris to Versailles and visit the Versailles Chateau. This symbol of the absolute monarchy has always inspired both admiration and resentment and we are sure it will not leave you indifferent either. One thing is for sure: it is stately. As a matter of fact, the whole city of Versailles is stately in many ways: wide avenues, statues, grand buildings.

Elyse gives us some historical background, we discuss why you should consider going, and why maybe you should skip it too. Then there’s the question of the lines which can be formidable and some tips on what you can do to make it more bearable.  Should you take the time to explore the grounds or just be in and out of the château? These are all questions we tackle in today’s episode. Enjoy!

If you love our approach to travel and want to tour France with us, visit Addicted to France to look at upcoming tours.

Correction: Elyse misspoke, Louis XIV is the son of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, NOT Mary of Medici.

If you enjoyed this episode, also listen to Louis XIV, Miraculous Child.

Episode Highlights with Time Stamps

  • [3’45”] Where is it the Versailles Chateau?
  • [5’50”] Historical background
    • Hunting Lodge
    • Louis XIII decides to build a country home there
    • Construction starts in 1631
    • Louis XIV decides to establish permanent residence
  • [13’05”] Louis XIV invests fortunes and hires the best
  • [16′] Le Notre, landscape architect
  • [22’30] The role of rich Americans in restoration efforts
  • No privacy for Kings and Queens
  • Le Petit Trianon
  • Marie-Antoinette
  • [30′] During the French Revolution
  • [33’15”] The furniture you will see inside
  • [36’45”] The blessing and curse of having so many historical treasures in France
  • [39’30] Versailles chateau restoration is a work in progress
  • [44′] Getting around
  • [46’10”] How to avoid being stuck in line for hours
  • [55′] The best way to get there

Conclusion: If you don’t have a reserved timed ticket and if you are not visiting with a tour guide, consider arriving around 1 PM so you don’t wait in line as long.

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11 thoughts on “Versailles Chateau, a Day-Trip from Paris, Episode 14”

  1. Merci beaucoup! thank you so much for this wonderful posting. We are visiting Paris this summer for the first time and planning to spend the day in Versailles. Your information on the history of the place was very informative.

  2. I love the structure the way it is. I like the way it is like a conversation between friends. the length does not matter because of the pause feature if I get interrupted while listening to you.
    Keep up the good work.
    Thanks for the information, education, and making me dream about going back to France some day.

  3. Hello Genevieve, and welcome to Join Us in France! Thank you for the feedback, it’s good to know. I certainly hope you come to France some day, it’ll be here waiting for you when you do!

  4. Dear all.

    Just to add a little something to your excellent podcast: we are just back from Paris and we visited Versailles as well:

    1) Photography was not an issue at all – no restrictions whatsoever (I do not use flash).
    2) The entry to the Gardens was 9 euro p.p.

    Thanks a million!

    1. Hello Yuri and welcome to Join Us in France! Thank you for telling us about the photography!

      About the garden entrance fee, there may have been some special circumstances on the day of your visit because this is what the château’s website says: “Admission to the park of Versailles is free for pedestrians but there is a fee for vehicles: 3€ for a motorcycle, 6€ for a car and 30€ for a bus (from 12 seats). Admission to the French gardens is free except on the days of the Grandes Eaux musicales et Jardins musicaux shows. From November to March admission to the gardens is free every day. From April to October there is an admission charge for the gardens on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and on some other days (including bank holidays).”

  5. Your podcasts are very informative and pleasant to hear! That said, you have some avid Francophiles listening to you who know their French history rather well…kindly check to see who was Louis XIV’s mother…wasn’t it Anne of Austria rather than Marie de Medici?

    1. I’m delighted to have avid Francophiles listening and pointing out errors, thank you! You are correct, Elyse misspoke and she’s aware of that. Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that I had to memorize the names of all French kings in college, this particular error didn’t jump out at me while I was editing that episode. Changing it now would be quite difficult, so I just file it under if you speak long enough you’re bound to say something stupid. But maybe I should put a correction on that episode page. Thanks!

  6. I loved this episode very much. Elliese really gave us the recipe for a perfect day, all day at Versailles (morning in the gardens and chateau in the afternoon) followed by visit to Eiffel in the evening. I would like to know what if we do either saturday or sunday so we can see the water works. Just worried it may be crazy busy. We will be there at the end of september.


    1. Absolutely! Elyse reveals the secret and it works! Will it work on a weekend? Yes, it will. But weekends are busier anywhere in Paris. I think you should try it and report!

  7. Hello! We are prepping for a family trip to Paris and your podcast is the perfect primer. The Paris Pass seems like a must for the adults. For kids under 18, do they need a pass?

    Thank you!

    1. This is the official word from the folks who run the Museum Pass (not the Paris Pass, did you mean Museum Pass?):

      “Most of the monuments and museums are free for children aged under 18 years old and for 18-25 years old youth residents in the European Union and so the Paris Museum Pass isn’t necessary. Youths just need to present themselves with their ID at the entrance of the national museums and monuments and most of the time, they can access the site by the priority entrance. Please note that sometimes, they can ask them to pick up a “free ticket” at the ticket office. For further information, here is the list of free admissions.”

      Then, I asked what is valid ID and if a photocopy is enough (so they don’t lose it or have it stolen) this is what they responded: “We confirm that you can bring a copy of their passport. Usually, kids under 18 don’t need to collect a free ticket at the entrance. In the case they have to stop by the ticket office, please note that you’ll get the priority access anyway since you have the Paris Museum pass. However, you have to take into consideration the waiting time for the security checks, which depends of the affluence the day of your visit.”

      Officially this is only for EU Citizens, but it seems to me they don’t care about that. Ask when you buy your Museum Pass. So long as kids go in with parents, you should be fine.

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