Planning to visit the Palace of Versailles in France? It’s a beautiful castle and royal residence from 1682 with majestic architecture and pompous halls.
Here’s my guide with information for your visit including tickets to Versailles, opening hours, history and facts.
Where to book Palace of Versailles tickets
The Versailles castle is one of the most popular places to visit in France with over 7 million annual visitors. It’s not a requirement to book your tickets in advance, but if you go here during the summer months, it’s recommended to pre-book your tickets.
You can book tickets to the Palace of Versailles with a guided tour via the link below, or a regular ticket if you prefer to stroll around the castle grounds on your own.
Both of them allow you to skip the line, which is recommended to make the most of your visit. Then you don’t have to stand in line and you’ll get more time to explore Versailles.
More information about the Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles or Château de Versailles as it’s known in French is a royal castle that is located in the small town of Versailles in France, just outside Paris. Since 1979, The Palace and the Gardens of Versailles have been inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Before the castle was built in the 1600s, only a small village and a former medieval fortress stood here along with the Saint Julien church.
Between the years of 1631 and 1634, King Louis XIII decided to extend his hunting cabin and build a Chateau. The architect who built the first design of Versailles was Philibert Le Roy.
However, it wasn’t until his son Louis XIV decided to expand the castle, that Versailles made the transformation and got the grand appearance that can be seen today.
History and interior
The first expansion happened between the years 1661 and 1678. However, the palace was extended until 1780, even though it can be seen as to have been completed in 1682.
King Louis XIV built the castle since he wanted to get away from the unrest in Paris, but still being close to the capital. The court and government moved into Versailles in 1682, but after the death of King Louis XIV, the authority moved back to Paris.
However, when his son and successor Louis XV became old enough to rule France on his own, the power and authority were moved back to his childhood residence at Versailles, where it remained until the French Revolution.
Throughout history, the Palace of Versailles has played a crucial role in national matters of France, especially before the period before the revolution that took place in the late 18th century.
It feels like there’s almost an endless number of beautiful corridors and halls to explore in the palace. Symmetry meets art everywhere and it’s a delight for your eyes to stroll around and admire the interior and details.
The royal chapel was completed in 1710 and the large glass windows and columns were inspired by the gothic architecture style.
The chapel was dedicated to the patron Saint Louis, and it’s one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Palace of Versailles.
Points of interest at Versailles
Hall of Mirrors
Galerie des Glaces as it’s known in French or the Hall of Mirrors in English is one of the most famous attractions of Versailles. The hall was built in 1678 and was completed in 1686.
It’s located on the first floor and has a total of 357 mirrors. The Hall of Mirrors is covered with beautiful paintings from the reign of King Ludvig XI. It was the artist Charles de Brun who painted these beautiful artworks.
Furthermore, the Mirror Room is also famous for being the place where the treaty of Versailles was signed after World War I in 1919.
The Queen’s Bedroom
This is where queen Marie Antoinette stayed, and she was the wife of King Ludvig XVI. What makes here bedroom so special is the passage into the children’s room, which was very unusual in the 1700s.
It was almost unheard of that royalties took care of their own children. In addition to Marie Antoinette, several other queens have slept here as well, and it’s truly a lavish room decorated to fit a true queen.
At the castle, there’s a famous chamber that is said to have belonged to Napoleon, even though he most likely didn’t spend a night here. He restored Chateau de Versailles and planned to spend his summers here, but that didn’t happen as he was forced to abdicate in 1814.
Napoleon’s chamber is one of the main attractions at the castle and shouldn’t be missed. The room was devoted to display the glory of Napoleon Bonaparte and his reign.
Facts about Versailles
Below is some general information such as when it was built, architects, annual visitors as well as other interesting facts about Versailles.
|Architect:||Philibert Le Roy, Louis Le Vau, André Le Nôtre and Jules Hardouin-Mansart|
|Floor area:||67,000 m²|
|Annual visitors:||7,7 million|
- The Gardens cover an area of more than 30,000 acres and features over 1400 fountains and 400 sculptures
- Much of the artworks were moved to the Louvre at the beginning of the French Revolution
- Palace of Versailles used to be a symbol for what the people disliked about the aristocracy
- The cost of building the palace is estimated to be around 2 billion USD by today’s value
- It features more than 700 rooms and 70 staircases
Opening hours and entrance
The palace of Versailles is open year-round from 09:00 to 18:30 except on Mondays and 1 May. Last entrance is at 18:00.
The park is open every day between 07:00 and 20:30. Exceptions might occur due to bad weather, and the gardens of Versailles are usually open between 08:00 to 20:30 with last entrance at 19:00.
All European citizens under the age of 26 and people under 18 can enjoy free entrance. If you pay for the entrance upon arrival, the price ranges from 20-27 per person if you’re not an EU-citizen or are over 26 years.
I recommend that you book a ticket in advance to avoid long lines, especially if you want a guided tour.
The Gardens of Versailles
Most visitors come here to see the majestic castle, but the gardens of Versailles (Jardins du Château de Versailles) are also worth a visit. It features picturesque greenery that is meticulously planned into the finest detail with symmetrical perfection everywhere.
The Grand Trianon
The Grand Trianon was built by the request of King Louis XVI who wanted a safe haven away from the strict customs and etiquettes of the court. This was a place where the king could relax and wine and dine as he pleased, without being bothered without other people.
How to get to Palace of Versailles
From central Paris, it’s just a short distance of 23 km by car or less than an hour with the RER C train. It’s easy to get to Versailles from Paris, no matter where you stay in the city.
That is also why it’s one of the most popular day trips to make from the French capital. Additionally, you can also book guided tours with transport included, but it’s just as easy to get here on your own by public transportation.
Hotels near Palace of Versailles
There are several hotels that are located within walking distance to the Palace of Versailles, but I would like to recommend these two hotels in particular.
- Waldorf Astoria Trianon Palace – Luxury hotel
- Hôtel d’Angleterre – Value for your money with great standard
Skip the line tickets to Versailles
Don’t forget to book your Versailles tickets before you travel from home, and save time by booking tickets with skip-the-line access. It’s very convenient and will make your experience more pleasant.
Things to know before you visit
Can you bring a backpack into Versailles?
Suitcases and large bags are not allowed inside the premises but can be placed at the free luggage storage by the entrances. Backpacks are allowed inside Versailles as long as they don’t exceed 55cm x 35cm x 20cm but still needs to be placed in the left luggage facilities.
Is photography allowed at Versailles?
Tourists are allowed to take pictures inside Versailles unless otherwise stated, but the use of flash is strictly forbidden. In some rooms, there will be signs that tell visitors that photography is forbidden.
Tripods are not allowed inside the rooms but can be left at the bag check. In the Gardens, you’re free to take pictures as you like and you can also use a tripod there.
What is the best time to visit Versailles?
If you want to avoid crowds, it’s recommended that you visit Versailles in the spring or autumn when there are fewer tourists. During the summer months, it can get pretty crowded since it’s a popular tourist attraction.
The best time to visit Versailles is in the morning, right after opening. The tour buses usually arrive 2-3 hours after opening.
What is the most famous room in the Palace of Versailles?
The Hall of Mirrors is typically seen as the most famous room in the Palace of Versailles. The royal chapel and the queen’s bedroom are two other notable rooms that shouldn’t be missed.
Other attractions in Versailles
What else is there to do at Versailles? In addition to the palace, these are some of the notable attractions in the historic town that are all located within distance from the castle grounds.
The Church of Notré-Dame is especially beautiful and was built in 1686. The Cathedral is also worth a visit and it was built in the 1700s. It’s considered a national monument in France and features beautiful baroque architecture.
- Church of Notré-Dame
- Royal Opera of Versailles
- Versailles Cathedral
- Versailles’ Markets
Do you have more questions about the Palace of Versailles before you visit? Leave a comment below!