Paris

The Palace of Versailles – Insider Tips on the Best Tours and Tickets

An extraordinary architectural feat, the Palace of Versailles attracts between 8 and 10 million visitors each year. Situated just 30 minutes outside Paris in the village of Versailles, this elaborate complex once thrived as the epicenter of political power for the Kingdom of France. Built in the late 1600s, the Palace of Versailles was initially constructed as a hunting lodge for King Louis XIII. In 1682, Louis XIII’s son, King Louis XIV, decided to move the royal court from the bustling city of Paris to Versailles, transforming his father’s old hunting pavilion into a magnificent castle. It wasn’t until the French Revolution, in 1789, that the royal court was forced to move back to the capitol.

Illustrating more than five centuries of French history, the Palace not only houses remarkable works of art - it stands as a work of art itself. A remarkable example of 17th century European architecture, the exquisite palace contains 2,300 rooms, including the famous Hall of Mirrors and the glamorous King and Queen’s apartments. Equally as impressive as the castle are the estate’s stunning gardens. Spanning over 230 acres, the Gardens of Versailles feature 50 fountains, 620 water jets, hundreds of sculptures, approximately 200,000 trees and more than 210,000 flowers.

Navigating the Palace of Versailles


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Palace of Versailles Entrances

The main entrance to the Palace of Versailles is through the Court of Honor (Cour d'Honneur). Upon entering the courtyard, you will find 3 entrances that take you into the Castle:

Entrance A
(at the top of the courtyard to the left)
For guests who have already purchased tickets online (this applies to all Headout tickets).

Entrance B
(at the top of the courtyard to the right)
For groups with a reservation. (If you book any Headout Guided Tours, your guide will direct you to this entrance.)

Entrance H
Reserved for guests with disabilities.

Good To Know

• If you do not purchase tickets online, then you will have to stand in line at the ticket counter to get your ticket and then enter via Gate A. The waiting time in the ticket queue can easily be anywhere from 20-40 minutes while the queue at Gate A is relatively shorter at 15-30 minutes. That's a minimum queuing up of 30 minutes.
• If you have purchased general admission tickets online, then you enter via Gate A. The wait in queue here can be anywhere from 15-30 minutes.
• With skip the line priority access tickets, you can skip the ticket queue and Gate A, and enter via Gate B. This gives you the quickest access to the Palace of Versailles, with not more than 10 minutes of queuing up.

The entrance to the Gardens can be found further left of Entrance A, in the Court of Princes. Extending beyond the main Castle and the Gardens, you will find the Grand Canal and the Park. (The Grand Canal separates the Park and the Gardens.) To the left of the Grand Canal is Marie-Antoinette’s Estate (the Petit Trianon and the Grand Trianon).


The Castle Grounds and Navigating the Palace

The Royal Estate (Domaine) consists of five main areas:

The Palace

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Get a glimpse of life during the French monarchy as you roam the Grand Apartments, Hall of Mirrors, Royal Chapel, Royal Opera, Congress Hall and mant other rooms of the Palace. Read more on the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles.

Carrosses Gallery (The Royal Stables)

Step back in time as you browse through the works showcased at the the Carrosses Gallery. Created by Louis-Philippe, the gallery houses a valuable collection of carriages, sleds, cars and harnesses.

Marie Antoinette’s Estate (Domaine de Trianon)

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Visit Marie Antoinette’s Estate and tour the buildings constructed for her to escape the rigors of courtly life. Visit the discret Petit Trianon and Queen’s Hamlet, and get a glimpse into her private life.

The Gardens

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Spread across hundreds of acres, roam around the serine French Gardens and admire the Versailles fountains, ponds, sculptures and groves. Read more on the Palace of Versailles Gardens and Fountains.

The Park

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Situated around the Grand Canal, the Versailles Park offers incredible views of the Gardens and Palace. Picnic on the lawn or ride around on a Segway tour as you take in the grandeur of the Royal Estate.

For additional tips on how to navigate the palace and a more detailed description of each area within the estate, scroll to the bottom of this Palace of Versailles tours and tickets collection page.

Palace of Versailles Tickets


Admission Tickets

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Admission Tickets with Audioguide
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All Access Passport with Audioguide
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About Access the palace, the Grand Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, Carrosses Gallery and the gardens.
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Access the palace, the Grand Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, Carrosses Gallery, Marie Antoinette’s Estate, Musical Garden shows and the gardens.
Learn More
Schedule

9:00 AM to 6:30 PM.
Closed on Mondays

9:00 AM to 6:30 PM.
Closed on Mondays

Highlights
  • Ticket to the Palace of Versailles
  • Skip the ticket queue and enter via Gate A
  • Audioguide
  • The Castle (Royal Apartments + Hall of Mirrors)
  • The Gardens (excluding days of Garden shows)
  • The Park
  • The Carrosses Gallery (from 12:30 PM)
  • Ticket to the Palace of Versailles
  • Audioguide
  • The Castle (Royal Apartments + Hall of Mirrors)
  • The Gardens (inluding days of Garden shows)
  • The Park
  • The Carrosses Gallery (from 12:30 PM)
  • Access to Marie-Antoinette’s Estate
  • Entrance to the Gardens on Fountain Show and Musical Show days
Cost
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Add Ons

Add On: Skip the entrance line
Enter via Gate B. Skip the ticket queue as well as the line at Gate A.

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Add On: Skip the entrance line
Enter via Gate B. Skip the ticket queue as well as the line at Gate A.

At

Guided Tours

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Skip The Line Guided Tour
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Skip the Line Guided Tour from Paris
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About Guided tour of the palace, the Grand Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, Carrosses Gallery and the gardens.
Learn More
Guided tour from Paris in an air conditioned coach with access to the palace, the Grand Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, Marie Antoinette’s Estate and the gardens.
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Schedule

Tour available at 10:00 AM, 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM.
Closed on Mondays.

1:00 PM on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Highlights
  • Priority access
  • Skip ticket queue and Gate A. Enter from Gate B.
  • Expert Guide
  • The Castle (Royal Apartments + Hall of Mirrors)
  • The Gardens
  • The Park
  • The Carrosses Gallery
  • Transfers to and from Paris in an air conditioned coach
  • Priority access
  • Skip ticket queue and Gate A. Enter from Gate B.
  • Expert Guide
  • The Castle (Royal Apartments + Hall of Mirrors)
  • The Gardens
  • The Park
  • The Carrosses Gallery (from 12:30 PM)
  • Access to Marie-Antoinette’s Estate
  • Musical Gardens and Fountain Show (optional)
  • Groups of 25 or fewer
Cost
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How to Make the Most of a Trip to Versailles


Depending on your priorities - whether that be optimising your time, money or comfort - there are multiple ticket options to best suit your desires. From guided tours of the Palace of Versailles to priority access skip-the-line tickets, there’s a perfect Versailles experience for everyone.

For those pressed on time


While you could easily spend an entire day roaming around the palace grounds, it is also possible to explore the most popular areas of the estate in as little as two hours. With that being said, the time it takes to tour the palace is not your biggest concern - the entrance line, on the other hand, is.

The are two solutions when it comes to avoiding the long lines. First: pre-book your tickets on-line. Second: opt for a skip-the-line ticket. For those who arrive without a ticket, there are a total of three entry lines at the Palace of Versailles: the ticket box office, the main entrance queue and the security line. The box office line can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Afterward, you will need to again queue at the main palace entrance, followed by the security check, which can collectively take another 1-3 hours. With pre-booked, skip-the-line tickets, you can avoid the hassle of waiting in long lines and maximize your time at Versailles.

Another huge time saver is to choose a guided tour of the palace. Being that the estate is so large, it’s quite easy to get a bit lost as you wander around. A professional guide will be able to take your around to all the hot spots in the most efficient manner.

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Skip The Line Tickets with Audioguide

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palace of versailles skip the line tickets

Skip The Line Guided Tour of Versailles Palace

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For those looking to save money


The cheapest ticket possible to enter the Palace of Versailles is the basic entry ticket, available for purchase (in-person only) at the palace box office for €18. However, keep in mind that while you might save a little bit of money with this option, you’ll pay for it with time. For just €18, you can avoid the box office line and pre-purchase a basic entry ticket to Versailles on-line. Even better, at €30, you can enjoy a skip-the-line priority access ticket.

All of the tours above include an audio guide and grant access to the most popular places within the royale estate. If you prefer a guided tour, you will have to spend around €38.

palace of versailles skip the line tickets

Versailles Entry Ticket with Audioguide

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Guided vs Self-guided tour


All self-guided tickets to the Palace of Versailles include a complimentary audio guide, available in 11 languages (Spanish, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese and Russian). For those who prefer to roam around solo, or would like to save some money, an audio guide can certainly relay the bulk of information in terms of historical facts and stories of the royal family. However, a professional guide will be able to personalize your tour by answering questions and going more into depth on the areas that most interest you. In addition, touring with a guide will help you maximize your time. The Palace grounds are no small feat to cover; a guide will save you time and ensure your tour is efficient.

When to visit


During the spring and summer months (from April - October) a variety of musical fountain shows take place in the Gardens of Versailles on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. There are three types of shows: the Great Musical Waters, Musical Waters and the Great Nocturnal Waters.

The Great Musicals Waters take place on the weekends. A combination of music and fountain displays, witness the basins, the groves and their waters come alive to the rhythm of Baroque style music in the Gardens of Versailles. The Musical Gardens take place on Tuesdays and Fridays. With an emphasis on classical music, enjoy a mystical walk through the groves as you roam about the heart of Versailles’ French gardens.

To access the gardens and attend these shows, you will need a Versailles Passport ticket or a Versailles Guided Tour with Priority Access + Passport ticket.

Getting to the Palace of Versailles


The Palace of Versailles is located approximately 12 miles (30 minutes) West of Paris, in the village of Versailles.

Open Hours


Palace of Versailles Hours

Palace/ Castle Hours
Tues - Sun from 9AM to 6:30PM (high season) 5:30PM (low season)
Last entry to the palace is at 6pm (high season) and 5PM (low season)
Carrosses Gallery (The Royal Stables) Hours
Tues - Sun from 12:30PM to 6:30PM
Last entry is at 6PM.

Marie Antoinette’s Estate (Domaine de Trianon) Hours
Tues-Sun from 12PM to 6:30PM
Last entry is at 6PM.

The Gardens Hours
Daily from 8AM to 8:30PM
Last entry is at 7PM.

The Park Hours
Daily from 7AM to 8:30PM (last entry at 7PM)

Best Time to Visit

During high season, from April through October, it is recommended to visit the Palace early in the morning, right when it opens. It is likely the entry line will already be long; however, with skip-the-line tickets, you can enter immediately and enjoy your tour before the crowds pour in. In addition, your priority access tickets will ensure you’re among the first to go through the security line - another long wait if you arrive during busy hours. Tuesdays and weekends generally see the most traffic, especially on days of water fountain shows.

Visit the Palace of Versailles today


The Palace of Versailles offers a unique peek into the lives of the French monarchy’s most influential figures, making it a day trip you just cannot miss. From the glittering Hall of Mirrors to the stunning portraits that sweep the ceilings of the Royal Apartments, tour the Palace and travel back in time. A place of immense beauty, Versailles stands as a symbol of France’s monarchy and lives on as the location of several important peace treaty signings, including two treaties of the 1783 Peace of Paris, by which Britain recognised the independence of the US, as well as the Treaty of Versailles, which formally ended the First World War.

For more tips on how to navigate the palace and get the best deals on tickets, refer to our Palace of Versailles tours and tickets collection.

Comments (2)
  1. shiva says:

    The write up was really too good. Gave a wonderful insight into what to do and what to expect… Well researched and quite exhaustive notes to clear all doubts. Thank you dear

  2. sofia says:

    Great article! Very useful information 🙂

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