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.
Visit the Palace of Versailles in 2021
The Palace and entire Estate of Versailles are open from 19 May 2021 on the usual days and hours but time-slot admissions 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 fast palace entry.
The Estate of Versailles with its famous château (palace), Orangerie, and 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, European Union citizens (or long-term residents in France) under 26 have free admission to almost all sights at Versailles. On busy days, an organized group tour may be a good idea to skip the lines for getting into the palace.
Visiting the Estate of Versailles on a Day Trip from Paris
The Estate of Versailles is a huge complex in the town Versailles half an hour by train to the west of Paris. The complex is divided into three 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) and the Parc the larger park with the grand canal; and
- The Domaine (Estate) of Marie Antoinette which includes the Grand Trianon, the Petit Trianon, the Hamlet, and 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.
Tickets and Passes for the Palace of Versailles near Paris
Currently, all individual visitors to the Palace of Versailles use the same entrance. As many, if not most, visitors turn up tickets in hand, the main queue is the security line outside the palace. In 2021 timed admission tickets will be compulsory to see the main palace even for visitors qualifying for free admission. Timed tickets guarantee admission with maximum half-an-hour wait, although social distancing rules may increase waiting times.
Tickets are available online, but also from many outlets in France, including at the palace itself or at the Versailles tourist office located in between the train station and the palace. A bus excursion tour using the group entrance may be the only sane option 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 €20 but €27 on weekends when the fountains play. Also available for two consecutive days at €25 (€30 when the fountains play). 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 all sights at the Estate of Versailles except on high-season weekends (and some Tuesdays and holidays) when a surcharge is payable for admission to the gardens (only if visited). Make a time-slot reservation for any free ticket to ensure admission. Tickets for the gardens are available at the palace only, queues are not a major problem.
Visitors to Versailles not interested in seeing all the estate can save a little by buying only tickets to individual sights. Three tickets are available:
- Château (Main Palace of Versailles with timed admission) — €18
- Estate of Marie Antoinette / Trianon & Queen’s Hamlet — €12.
- Gardens — generally free but €9.50 on weekend days during the high season when the (Grandes Eaux Musicales) fountains are working and €8.50 on most summer Tuesdays and Fridays when music is played in the garden and more groves open than on free days.
- The park — always free.
All tickets for the Palace of Versailles may be bought at the palace itself – not wise especially on busy days, online, at FNAC bookstores, and SCNF mainline train stations. Tiqets and GetYourGuide work easily and offer easy cancellation options — the prices for all online tickets should be the same.
Reduced Saving Price Tickets and Free Admission to the Palace of Versailles
In 2021, 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 free. Make free online reservations and then go directly to the main entrance (security line) with documentary proof.
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 Tuesdays 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.
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.