Declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO over thirty years ago, the Palace of Versailles is one of the most famous palaces worldwide. Travelers are not only drawn to see its magnificent architecture and its endless gardens, but to discover a palace that was so significant during the history of France.
King Louis XIV transformed and enlarged his father's, Louis XIII, pavilion and hunting grounds in the village of Versailles. Years later, in 1682, the Court and Government were moved to the Palace of Versailles. Since then and up until the French Revolution, different monarchs continually improved the Palace.
The gardens were designed in 1661. However, these were not completed until forty years later. The construction took nearly four decades as part of the land was frequently flooded and the rest was a heavily dense forest, thus needing the help of thousands of men to bring in earth and the right flora.
In 1789 the Royal family returned to the capital, and the Château became the Museum of the History of France.
Visiting the Palace
During the visit to the Royal Palace in Versailles visitors will be able to discover a vast number of beautifully decorated rooms. The most impressive parts of the château are the enormous chapel, the Grand Apartments of the King and the King and Queens’ Bedchamber, with a lot of decorative ornaments.
Equally important is the Hall of Mirrors (Galeries des Glaces), a remarkable gallery, 239 ft (73 m) long with 375 mirrors. It is one of the most acclaimed rooms in Versailles and it is here that the armistice of First World War, in 1919, was signed in the Treaty of Versailles.
Visiting the Gardens
The impressive Gardens of Versailles are over 800 hectares in area. The grounds have countless types of flowers and trees, as well as lakes, fountains and marble statues.
It is practically impossible to see the whole enclosure if you go by foot. The best way to discover the grounds is to hire a bike, an electric car or take the train that drives through most of the Gardens.
Some of the most important sites of the palace park are the Grand Trianon, a small palace in pink marble, or the Petit Trianon where Marie Antoinette, Queen and wife of Louis XVI, enjoyed a quiet and simple country life.
From April until October, visitors can witness the musical fountain show, where the fountains’ water moves to the rhythm of the music. If you’re interested in attending one of these displays, we suggest checking out the timetable before going, as they only take place on certain days and at certain hours.
Visiting Versailles with Enough Time
Currently, the Palace of Versailles is one of the city’s top attractions. Visitors will understand a lot of France’s past and culture by visiting these grounds. Besides, it is possible to enjoy a bit of nature walking in the gardens.
Nonetheless, it is also important to highlight some of the negative aspects of this visitation: the Palace is always crowded, it is quite stressful to see all the rooms and the gardens are too large to be able to see them all.
1 April – 31 October:
Palace: Tuesday - Sunday 9 am - 6:30 pm
Garden: every day 8 am - 8:30 pm
1 November – 31 March:
Palace: Tuesday - Sunday 9 am - 5:30 pm
Garden: every day 8 am - 6 pm
Adults: € 20 (US$ 19.60) (includes the palace, temporary exhibitions, gardens and gallery)
EU Citizens (18 – 25 years old) and under 18s: Free
Free entry first Sunday of each month between November and March
Free entry with the Paris Pass and the Paris Museum Pass.
Tour of the Palace of Versailles € 82 (US$ 80.30)
RER: Versailles Rive Gauche, line C.
Train: Versailles Chantiers or Versailles Rive droite