Are you planning your first trip to Paris? If so, I recommend planning a day trip to see Versailles. Here are a few tips to take with you as you head out to Versailles from Paris.
As I was planning my first trip to Paris, I knew I wanted to spend one day exploring Versailles. I learned about the Palace of Versailles in one of my favorite podcast shows “Dressed: The History of Fashion.” After learning about how King Louis XIV moved the French court to Versailles, I knew I wanted to see this historic place.
What is the Palace of Versailles?
The Palace of Versailles has a rich history that spans 5 centuries of the French Court and former royal families. The Palace of Versailles originally started out as a hunting lodge in 1623. King Louis XIII decided to rebuild the hunting lodge in 1631. In 1682, the Palace of Versailles became the main residence of the French Court. King Louis XIV also moved the main body of administration to Versailles.
One of the biggest events to take place in Versailles happened in the 18th century. King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the Arch Duchess of Austria, were married in 1770 at the Royal Opera House.
Why should you go to Versailles from Paris?
Whether you want to learn more about French history or want to see the grandness of the Palace of Versailles, there are many reasons to take a day trip out to the Palace of Versailles. It’s incredible to see how the French royalty once lived and used the residence and the gardens.
Additionally, the Palace of Versailles is breathtaking. I had no idea that the Chateau de Versailles spanned over 800 hectares.
How to get to Versailles from Paris:
If you’re leaving from Champ de Mars, use the RER (Line C). It’s only about a 30 min train ride but make sure you factor in walking time from the station to the Palace of Versailles. We budgeted a total of 1 hour to get from Champ de Mars to the Palace of Versailles.
Here are 5 tips to take with you from Versailles to Paris:
Tip #1: Book tickets ahead of time
The Palace of Versailles is one of the most visited historic sites in the world. It’s estimated that over 7 million people visit the palace every year. While it is possible to buy tickets day of, I recommend booking tickets ahead of time as well as booking tickets as early as possible.
Personally, we booked the Passport ticket which gives you access to the whole Estate of Versailles. With the Passport ticket, you’re able to see the Palace (with a timed entry) as well as the Estate of Trianon. Personally, I’m glad we got the Passport ticket because the Petit Trianon and the Queen’s Hamlet were some of my favorite places in the entire estate!
Additionally, we learned after we were already in the gardens that you can travel around the gardens by Little Train. We did quite a bit of walking in Versailles so if you’d prefer to give your feet a break while you explore the gardens, I recommend booking the Passport + Return Trip by Little Train option.
Tip #2: Plan to spend the entire day in Versailles
I had no idea how large the Palace of Versailles and all the gardens were. I highly recommend blocking off the entire day to explore the palace and walk through the gardens. We entered the Palace around 12:00pm and we didn’t leave until 5:30 pm.
Additionally, if you plan is to spend the entire day in Versailles, I also recommend staying hydrated. I brought a small water bottle in my tote bag and was allowed to keep it.
Tip #3: Eat lunch in the gardens
After you get done wandering through Paris, taking photos at the Hall of Mirrors, and seeing the former royal bed chambers, I recommend walking out to the gardens for lunch. The further you go into the gardens, the more options you’ll have. Here are a few cafes and restaurants located in the gardens:
Angelina’s at the Petit Trianon – there is a terrace sitting area and food stand for a food break.
La Flotille – Located in the park next to the Grand Canal. This restaurant had a ton of seating and can accommodate large parties. We ate here around 2:30 pm and were seated right away.
Le Dauphin – Located in the middle of the Garden, this was the first spot we tried for lunch. However, this spot had a long wait, so we ended up walking down to La Flotille.
Tip #4: Enter Petit Trianon to explore the Queen’s Hamlet
The Petit Trianon was regularly used by Queen Marie-Antoinette, the wife of King Louis XIV. The Petit Trianon was completed in 1768 and is connected to the Queen’s Hamlet. Marie-Antoinette used the Queen’s Hamlet, a model village with a windmill and a working farm, for hosting small gatherings.
I was shocked at how beautiful the Queen’s Hamlet and the Petit Trianon grounds are. I’d highly recommend taking a long walk (or train ride) to the Trianons to see these beautiful places!
Tip #5: Wear comfortable shoes
Like any vacation or trip, I recommend wearing comfortable sneakers or tennis shoes. We did so much walking during our trip to Versailles. I wore white Puma platform sneakers, and my feet were still tired at the end of the day.
For more Paris recommendations for your first time, I recommend checking out:
10 Eiffel Tower Photo Spots for Your First Time in Paris
5 Paris Outfit Ideas for Your Spring Vacation
30 Most Instagrammable Places in Paris
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post.
Photos by: Karya Schanilec