comScore

Versailles Palace (Chateau de Versailles)

#12 in Best Things To Do in Paris

Versailles Palace picture in Paris
Hall of Mirrors at Versailles picture in Paris
Versailles' Gardens picture in Paris
Versailles Palace picture in Paris
Hall of Mirrors at Versailles picture in Paris
Versailles' Gardens picture in Paris

Key Info

Price & Hours

  • Prices vary; free for all on the first Sunday of the month March-November
  • Hours vary

Details

  • Castles/Palaces, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
3.9
Overall
US NEWS LOGO

Scorecard

  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    3.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

The Château de Versailles, the sprawling palace and former seat of power, is located 14 miles southwest of Paris in Versailles. Every year, millions of travelers make the trek from Paris to bear witness to the chateau's world-famous grandeur in person. But between all of the gold figurines, dramatic frescoes and cascading crystal chandeliers you'll no doubt find in bulk throughout the chateau, you might be surprised to learn that King Louis XIV's extravagant former residence had pretty humble-ish beginnings.

His father, King Louis XIII favored the site for its hunting potential and built a brick and stone lodge there so modest, one of his advisors remarked that "a mere gentleman would not have been overly proud of the construction" about the place. XIII eventually decided to expand, building two small palaces, but it wasn't until Louis XIV came along that the chateau we see today started to come to fruition. Louis XIV moved the French government and court here and is credited with implementing numerous additions, including the palace's most popular attraction, the Hall of Mirrors. The Royal Opera House was added under Louis XV, who rarely resided in the chateau, and became the venue where Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette got married. After Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were forced out of the chateau during the French Revolution, the government left, and Versailles was practically abandoned. It was eventually brought back to life, turned into a museum and in the 20th century served as the site where the World War I peace treaty, or the Treaty of Versailles, was signed. 

For 18 euros ($20.29), visitors can explore parts of the 2,300-room palace, including the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Opera House, the Royal Chapel and the King's Private Apartments. Ticket holders can also explore the gardens, a major favorite among travelers, as well as any temporary exhibitions held at the time. For 20 euros ($22.36), visitors can access the palace, the Estate of Trianon, a village-like complex built for royals (and favored by Marie-Antoinette) wanting their own respite away from the palace. And if you find yourself in Paris on the first Sunday of the month from March to November, admission to Versailles is free. 

Recent travelers loved Versailles, but stressed to plan when you arrive wisely. Some tourists recommended coming really early in the morning, while others said arriving later in the afternoon was the trick to avoid heavy crowds. Even those arrived early or late and purchased tickets in advance online said they waited an hour, some even two, to get in the door. Even with the wait, travelers were in complete awe of Versailles' over-the-top magnificence, with many saying they could easily spend all day exploring the ins and outs of the palace, its perfectly manicured grounds and learning all of the fascinating history behind it. And you might want some help in exploring that history. Some said paying the extra 7 euros ($7.82) for a guided tour enhanced their experience while others were fine with the audio tour (complimentary with your ticket). Whatever ticket you decide to get, make sure to bring comfortable shoes, as travelers say you'll be on your feet for hours. 

Versailles palace is open every day except for Mondays from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Estate of Trianon has its own hours (12 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) and is closed on Mondays too. The gardens have extended hours, 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and as such, travelers suggest making sure to see all the buildings first on your tour, then the gardens. The best way to get to Versailles is to take the RER C train to Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche from Saint-Michel or Champs de Mars stations. For more information on Versailles, visit their website

Powered by Viator See more Tours & Tickets

Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
Hotel Le Versailles

Hotel Le Versailles ...

  • 0.1 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
Royal Hôtel

Royal Hôtel ...

  • 0.4 Miles Away
  • 2.0-star Hotel Class
Pullman Château de Versailles

Pullman Château de Versailles ...

  • 0.2 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Paris »

More Best Things to Do in Paris

Notre-Dame Cathedral picture in Paris
Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
The Louvre Palace and Pyramid picture in Paris
Museums Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Eiffel Tower picture in Paris
Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Le Marais picture in Paris
Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Sacré-Coeur  picture in Paris
Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Musee d'Orsay picture in Paris
Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Pere Lachaise Cemetery picture in Paris
Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Opera Garnier picture in Paris
Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Luxembourg Gardens  picture in Paris
Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Arc de Triomphe picture in Paris
Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Centre Pompidou picture in Paris
Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Versailles Palace picture in Paris
Castles/Palaces, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Musée Rodin picture in Paris
Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes de Paris) picture in Paris
Monuments and Memorials, Tours Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Champs-Élysées picture in Paris
Shopping, Neighborhood/Area Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
|

#1 Notre-Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris) Like the Eiffel Tower, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is seen as a Parisian icon. Located right along the picturesque River Seine, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is considered a Gothic masterpiece and is ... Read more » gbarm / Getty Images

#2 Musee du Louvre If you only had time to visit one museum in Paris, it should undoubtedly be the Musée du Louvre. That's because the Louvre is not only widely considered to ... Read more » orpheus26 / Getty Images

#3 Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) Designed and constructed for the 1889 Exposition Universelle (the World's Fair), the Eiffel Tower was always meant to be a temporary structure, but it skirted demolition talks twice.  ... Read more » Eric Schaeffer / Getty Images

#4 Le Marais Straddling the 3ème and 4ème arrondissements (districts), Le Marais is one of Paris' oldest and coolest districts  so cool, in fact, that French writer Victor Hugo (author of "The Hunchback ... Read more » PicsFactory / Getty Images

#5 Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur) Rising high above Paris, the Sacré-Coeur (meaning "Sacred Heart") looks more like a white castle than a basilica  but that's what it is. Towering over the eclectic neighborhood of ... Read more » Jennifer Reedie / Getty Images

#6 Musee d'Orsay Housed in a former railway station along the Left Bank, the Musée d'Orsay is regarded for its rich collection of impressionist works. You'll see paintings by French artists ... Read more » Steve Shupe / Flickr

#7 Pere-Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise) A cemetery as a tourist attraction? If any city can pull it of, it's Paris. Covering nearly 110 acres of the 20th arrondissement (district), the Père-Lachaise Cemetery is considered one ... Read more » jacquesvandinteren / Getty Images

#8 Palais Garnier - Opera National de Paris A masterpiece of architectural opulence, the Opéra Garnier  also known as the Palais Garnier  still exudes the same enigmatic atmosphere it radiated in the late 1800s. This palpable sense of intrigue ... Read more » Joe deSousa / Flickr

#9 Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg) A warm-weather oasis that offers the simplest of pleasures, the Luxembourg Gardens provide ample green space (61 acres) for sun-soaking and people-watching, plus there are plenty of activities to keep ... Read more » chrisdorney / Getty Images

#10 Arc de Triomphe Situated at the western end of the Champs-Élysées, the towering Arc de Triomphe was commissioned by Napoléon to honor the Grande Armee during the Napoleonic Wars. The arch, which is the largest of its ... Read more » AndreaAstes / Getty Images

#11 Centre Pompidou The Centre Pompidou is one of the most visited cultural sites in Paris. But keep this in mind  and recent travelers attest to this  if you're not a fan ... Read more » siraanamwong / Getty Images

#12 Versailles Palace (Chateau de Versailles) The Château de Versailles, the sprawling palace and former seat of power, is located 14 miles southwest of Paris in Versailles. Every year, millions of travelers make the trek from ... Read more » Ninara / Flickr

#13 Musee Rodin A hidden jewel in the city, the Musée Rodin is actually the former residence of famed 19th-century sculptor Auguste Rodin. But in the place of furniture and kitschy lawn ornaments ... Read more » bbourdages / Getty Images

#14 Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes de Paris) Not every inch of Paris is as romantic as you think  in fact, the Catacombs are downright chilling. Prior to the creation of the Catacombs in the late 18th century ... Read more » haahr / Flickr

#15 Champs-Elysees Musician Joe Dassin once sang "Il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux Champs-Élysées," which translates to "There's everything you could want along the Champs-Élysées." And he's ... Read more » Bruno De Hogues / Getty Images

Notre-Dame Cathedral picture in Paris
The Louvre Palace and Pyramid picture in Paris
Eiffel Tower picture in Paris
Le Marais picture in Paris
Sacré-Coeur  picture in Paris
Musee d'Orsay picture in Paris
Pere Lachaise Cemetery picture in Paris
Opera Garnier picture in Paris
Luxembourg Gardens  picture in Paris
Arc de Triomphe picture in Paris
Centre Pompidou picture in Paris
Versailles Palace picture in Paris
Musée Rodin picture in Paris
Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes de Paris) picture in Paris
Champs-Élysées picture in Paris
Notre-Dame Cathedral picture in Paris
The Louvre Palace and Pyramid picture in Paris
Eiffel Tower picture in Paris
Le Marais picture in Paris
Sacré-Coeur  picture in Paris
Musee d'Orsay picture in Paris
Pere Lachaise Cemetery picture in Paris
Opera Garnier picture in Paris
Luxembourg Gardens  picture in Paris
Arc de Triomphe picture in Paris
Centre Pompidou picture in Paris
Versailles Palace picture in Paris
Musée Rodin picture in Paris
Paris Catacombs (Les Catacombes de Paris) picture in Paris
Champs-Élysées picture in Paris

For a beautiful photo op of the Notre-Dame, walk along the Petit Point - Cardinal Lustiger bridge. gbarm / Getty Images

The giant glass and metal pyramid that serves as the entryway to the Louvre museum is a popular spot for photos. orpheus26 / Getty Images

The soaring Eiffel Tower is one of the most visited landmarks in the world.  Eric Schaeffer / Getty Images

The Le Marais area of Paris showcases many archietcturally impressive buildings and also boasts a burgeoning gay community with a selection of gay bars. PicsFactory / Getty Images

In addition to a beautiful church, Sacré-Coeur is known for being a popular vantage point from its small park. From there, you can panoramic views of Paris as far as the eye can see.  Jennifer Reedie / Getty Images

This museum features works from the greats including Monet, Van Gogh and Degas. Steve Shupe / Flickr

Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf are among the famous buried here. jacquesvandinteren / Getty Images

The opulent Opera Garnier served as inspiration for "The Phantom of the Opera."  Joe deSousa / Flickr

The Luxembourg Palace, part of the Luxembourg Gardens, is home to the French Senate.  chrisdorney / Getty Images

The towering Arc de Triomphe can be found at the end of the famous Champs-Élysées. AndreaAstes / Getty Images

The Stravinsky Fountain features 16 separate fountains representing the themes and works by composer Igor Stravinsky. siraanamwong / Getty Images

If you want to beat the crowds of Versailles, travelers say the best time to go is either really early in the morning or right before the attraction closes.  Ninara / Flickr

Once the residence of Auguste Rodin, Musée Rodin now showcases the artist's renowned works like The Thinker and The Kiss. bbourdages / Getty Images

haahr / Flickr

The Champs-Élysées draws shoppers in droves to its luxury storefronts. Bruno De Hogues / Getty Images

×

See full list of Best Things to Do in Paris »

Explore More of Paris

Find the Best Price

Enter your check in and check out dates to find the best price

PriceFinder powered by TripAdvisor Primary Logo