The Palace of Versailles with its chateau and gardens is a popular day trip from Paris — opening hours are long while discount passes allow for savings on ticket prices for the chateau, park, gardens, the Trianon, and estate of Marie Antoinette.
The Estate of Versailles with its famous château (palace), Orangerie, Trianon, formal Baroque gardens, and park is a popular day trip from Paris. Opening hours are relatively long, although crowds are often present and queues long to get into the palace itself. Various discount tickets and passes are available to allow for faster and cheaper entry into the sights. The gardens are mostly free. Children under 18 and European Union citizens (or long-term residents in France) under 26 have free admission to almost all sights at Versailles but do need time-slot reservation tickets. On busy days, an organized group tour may be the best way to skip the lines for priority admission into the palace.
Visit the Palace of Versailles in 2023
In 2023, the Palace and the entire Estate of Versailles are open on the usual days and hours but time-slot reservation tickets are now compulsory to see the main palace, even for free admission and other ticket holders. Buy tickets online from Tiqets or GetYourGuide — easy cancelation options are available. Guided tours from Paris remain an easy option for transportation and the best fast palace entry.
Visiting the Estate of Versailles on a Day Trip from Paris
The Estate of Versailles is a huge complex in the town of Versailles half an hour by train to the west of Paris. The complex is divided into four main parts with different admission tickets and opening hours:
- The Château is the Palace of Versailles with the royal apartments, state apartments, and the famous hall of mirrors.
- The Jardin is the formal baroque gardens (between the palace and the Grand Canal) — admission is charged on music and fountain show days.
- The Parc the larger park (free) with the grand canal; and
- The Domaine (Estate) of Marie Antoinette, which includes the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon, the Hamlet, and a model Farm.
For opening hours and some ticket prices, the season is divided at Versailles into the high season from April to October while the low season is the winter months from November to March.
Ticket Options and Passes for the Palace of Versailles near Paris
Currently, all individual visitors to the Palace of Versailles use the same entrance. As time-slot reservations are essential to see the main palace, the queue outside the palace is for security which is often very strict. Timed tickets guarantee admission with a maximum half-an-hour wait, although at times visitors have to wait until enough other travelers have vacated the castle.
Time-slot reservation tickets for the Palace of Versailles are best bought online but tickets are still sold at the palace itself, if slots are still available. All visitors, including those qualifying for free admission, must make time-slot reservations. A bus excursion tour using the group entrance is the best option for priority admission to get into the palace quickly during the busiest periods.
Combination tickets and tourist passes for the Palace of Versailles and related sights:
- The Versailles Passeport is a day ticket that gives admission to all sights at the Estate of Versailles. The passport cost €28.50 and includes the musical gardens and fountain show when applicable. The main palace must be seen on the stated reservation time — other sites may be seen at any time.
- The popular Paris Museum Pass gives admission to the main palace (chateau) and the Estate of Trianon (making free time-slot reservations are essential). The museum pass does not cover access to the garden on musical gardens or fountain show days. Tickets for the gardens are available at the palace or online, queues are not a major problem.
Visitors to Versailles not interested in seeing all the estate may save a little by buying only tickets to individual sights. Three tickets are available:
- Château (Main Palace of Versailles with timed admission) — €19.50
- Estate of Trianon (Marie Antoinette Queen’s Hamlet) — €12.
- Gardens — generally free but €10.50 in summer. The Grandes Eaux Musicales fountains play mostly on weekends and music is played most summer weekdays with extra groves open. The garden is free on most Mondays even in summer.
- The park — always free.
Tickets for the Palace of Versailles are still sold at the palace but almost all visitors buy time-slot reservation tickets online in advance. Garden-access tickets may easily be bought at the palace itself but online tickets will give immediate access.
“Buy” a Free Admission Ticket to the Palace of Versailles
In 2023, all visitors need time-slot reservations to see the main palace at Versailles. Free timed reservations are possible for visitors qualifying for free admission (or having some alternative ticket).
All children under 18 and European Union citizens (and long-term residents in France) under 26 get into the palace and most sights at Versailles for free. Make free online reservations and then go directly to the main entrance (security line) with documentary proof. To make the free reservation, “buy” the chateau and Trianon tickets separately and select the “free ticket” option.
The exception to the free admission rule is access to the gardens on the “Grandes Eaux Musicales and Jardines Musicaux” days during high-season weekends when the fountains are playing and most high-season weekdays when larger parts of the garden are open. Full admission is payable for the gardens on these days by all visitors, except free for children under 6 years old.
The Palace of Versailles is a very popular day-trip destination from Paris. Many bus tours are available, taking a Vespa scooter tour certainly is more exciting, but using public transportation from Paris to Versailles is very simple too with the RER train line C5 giving direct access from downtown Paris to Versailles in half an hour. A great option is a full-day bike tour of Versailles‘s extensive park including the train from Paris, palace admission, and time to buy a picnic lunch at the local market.
Opening Hours of the Estate and Palace of Versailles
Much of the Estate of Versailles is open every day year-round but the main attraction, the Château (Main Palace) and smaller palaces are closed on Mondays (and thus very busy on Tuesdays). The palace is sometimes closed when used for public events (or closed during strikes) — closures are usually advertised a few days in advance.
- The Château de Versailles Palace is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am. Last admission to the palace is at 5 pm during the low season and 6 pm during the high season.
- The Gardens at Versailles are open every day from 8 am to 6 pm during the low season and 8:30 pm during the high season.
- The park is open every day from 7 am to 8:30 pm (7 pm for vehicles) during the summer season and 8 am to 6 pm during the winter season.
- The Estate of Marie Antoinette (with Trianon palaces) is open Tuesday to Sunday during the high season afternoons only from noon to 7 pm (6 pm for buildings). During the low season (noon to 5 pm), some smaller buildings and parts of the gardens are not open.
- The Coach Gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday from 12:30 pm to 6:30 pm, 5:30 during the low season.
- The Royal Tennis Court is open Saturday and Sunday from 12:30 pm to 6:30 pm from May to October.
Best Times to Visit the Palace of Versailles
The best times to visit the Palace of Versailles are early in the morning or late afternoon and preferably not during the summer or French school holidays. Wednesday, Thursday, and surprisingly Saturday are generally the more quiet days at Versailles.
The Estate of Versailles is best avoided on Tuesdays (when many other museums and monuments in France are closed), Sundays, and during school holidays. The estate is great in all seasons but during winter some statues are covered and the gardens obviously not that spectacular.
Travelers, who cannot avoid the peak periods, may consider taking a formal group tour of the Palace of Versailles. Although getting to Versailles on public transportation from Paris is very easy, a bus tour or shuttle bus excursion will allow the visitor to get into the Palace of Versailles without having to wait in queues. However, the palace will still be crowded inside.