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Bonjour, I’m Annie Sargent and today I’ll answer this perennial question: Versailles, YES or NO? This is a short podcast episode where I bring you useful answers under 5 minutes.
Versailles Takes a Whole Day
What you need to know is that a trip to Versailles takes a whole day. If you're in Paris for less than 5 days, I recommend you do NOT take a day out to go to Versailles.
Of course, if it's your life-long dream to see Versailles, then by all means you should go. But for most people, it's a big time commitment, and it introduces a lot of complications to a short trip.
How to Travel Between Versailles and Paris
The easiest way to get to Versailles is to take the RER, it takes about 1 hour each way, plan on 3 hours just in transportation because you’ll have to get the right ticket, find the right platform, wait for the train, yada-yada.
Then you'll have to take a 10 minute walk to the gates of Versailles. That part is easy. Follow the signs and/or the crowd.
Buy Your Versailles Tickets in Advance
You must buy your Versailles ticket before you arrive or you'll have to line up for both the ticket line and the security line. That's only for folks who are gluttons for punishment. Those lines can take 2 hours in high season.
I cannot emphasize this enough: show up with your ticket already bought! If you bought the Museum Pass, entry to the Versailles Palace is included. That’s the normal ticket that covers the entrance to the park and chateau. But you still have to go through the security line and that can be long!
Versailles Special Tours and Events
Versailles also often has special events for which you’ll need another ticket. I highly recommend you visit the official Versailles website that lists events and tours. It's called Chateau Versailles and check out all the great stuff they offer (I have NO affiliate relationship with them BTW).
I’ve taken the official Versailles tours, they are always totally worth it. You’ll get a really knowledgeable guide who specializes in this site alone AND you get to enter faster because tour ticket holders have a special faster security line.
Four Tips to Make Your Visit to Versailles Easy
Tip #1: if you’re going to Versailles, book one of their official tours.
Tip #2: don’t show up at 9 AM UNLESS you have a tour booked for that time. There are busloads of tourists that inundate the chateau first thing in the morning. If you weren’t able to book a tour, plan to leave your hotel around 11 AM, that’ll put you at the gates around 12:30-1PM. That’s when there’s a lull in the security line.
Tip #3: Visit the gardens FIRST. There’s plenty to see, it’s really cute, there are restaurants and cafés, take your time.
Tip #4 You don’t want to be in the Hall of Mirrors until 5 PM. This is true even for people who booked an official tour in the morning. Let the throngs of tourists leave starting at 4 PM and then you go see the chateau at 5 PM.
Check closing times, they do change with the seasons.
What to Do Instead of Versailles?
Can’t go to Versailles? Go to the Opera Garnier or to the Napoleon III apartments in the Louvre instead! They are even more lavish and right in the center of Paris.
Au revoir !