If you’re planning a trip to Paris, then you’ll likely want to visit all of the most iconic sights and landmarks during your time there. And, for many visitors to the French capital, taking a Versailles day trip from Paris is pretty much a non-negotiable.
There are many different ways to structure a day trip from Paris to Versailles, too; this article covers how to get to and from Versailles, as well as what you absolutely must see during your time there.
How to Get to Versailles from Paris
By Organised Tour
If you’d like your day trip from Paris to Versailles to be planned out for you, then you may want to look into booking an organised tour of the Palace and its surrounds.
Included in the cost of services like these will generally be admission to the Palace as well as other attractions, transport to and from Versailles, and a professional guide.
A good option is this full-day tour, which includes skip-the-line tickets to the palace along with a guided tour and plenty of time to explore the gardens, as well. This small-group tour is a similar choice but includes transport by train rather than by bus.
Another option is this bike tour from Paris, which also includes ample time to explore the palace, a knowledgeable guide and the opportunity to walk in the same places as King Louis XIV, XV, and XVI!
There is a number of train lines that operate from Paris to Versailles, but arguably the most convenient is the RER C, which stops at a handful of major train stations in central Paris before terminating at Versailles Château – Rive Gauche Train Station. The Palace of Versailles is about a 15-minute walk from here.
With departures every 15 minutes or so, it’s a reasonably flexible way to travel to Versailles and back, as well as arguably being considerably more comfortable than taking the bus. The journey time from central Paris to Versailles is roughly 40 minutes.
Going on your day trip to Versailles from Paris independently — be it by train, bus or car — is a great way to give yourself more flexibility and allow you to spend a fair amount of time inside the palace and the gardens. You can pre-book tickets here for entrance to the palace and gardens or organise a guided tour at Versailles to learn more with a tour guide and avoid long lines.
Perhaps the most budget-friendly way of going on a Paris to Versailles day trip is taking the bus. Route 171 departs from the Pont de Sèvres bus stop roughly every 15-20 minutes and will drop you off at the Place d’Armes in Versailles.
Note that Pont de Sèvres is the final stop on line 9 of Paris’ metro network, and, as such, may be a bit of a trek for you to reach, depending on where in Paris you’re staying.
At 40 minutes, the average journey time is just about identical to what it would be if you were to take the train; however, tickets for the bus service from Paris to Versailles, at 4 euros, cost only a little over half of what train tickets do.
Something to keep in mind is that the first bus service to Versailles from Paris departs at 6:00am, which is about an hour later than the first trains do, but the buses covering this route do also run a bit later than the trains, with the last service terminating at midnight.
Arguably the only major downside to taking the bus for your day trip to Versailles is that Pont de Sèvres is, as mentioned previously, somewhat less central than the majority of the train stations that are serviced by rail routes from Paris to Versailles.
Otherwise, the bus is the more economical option of the two and will take you about as close to the Palace of Versailles as train services operating in the area will.
Travelling by car is a very convenient way to get to Versailles from Paris; not only is it a reasonably quick journey, at just under 40 minutes from the city centre, but you don’t have to worry about planning your day around public transit timetables.
If you need to rent a car for your trip you can browse Rentalcars.com which compares prices across several companies.
The most direct route to Versailles from Paris is via the N118. Once you’re on the N118, Versailles is well-signposted, so you can’t miss it.
As you might expect, competition for the limited parking spaces in and around the Palace grounds can be fierce; the majority of spots in the vicinity can be found at the Place d’Armes and the Bailly Walk, which is around the back of the Palace.
So, if you’re planning on driving to Versailles, you may want to try and leave earlier in the day, rather than later; this can help you beat the crowds, so you don’t have to spend too long looking for a parking space. Traffic in and around the immediate vicinity of the Palace can be something of an issue, too.
Note that visitors to the Palace with a disability have access to both additional parking spaces and complimentary parking if in possession of a valid permit.
Versailles Day Trip Itinerary
While the Palace of Versailles is the primary destination of this Versailles itinerary, it’s far from being the only thing to see in the area.
The grounds surrounding the Palace are definitely worth checking out afterwards, too; and, adjoining the grounds is the smaller estate of Trianon, which you may want to visit. You can pre-book tickets here or take a guided tour if you want to explore with a guide. Audio guides are another option if you don’t want to take a tour.
Finally, if you’re interested, you can round out your day with a trip to the Gallery of Coaches, which is a short walk away from the Palace in the direction of the bus and train stations that will take you back to Paris.
The Palace of Versailles
The first stop on your Versailles day trip itinerary is the iconic Palace of Versailles, or Château de Versailles, itself!
This splendid royal residence, built in both the Classical and Baroque traditions, is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in the entire world, receiving some 15 million visitors annually.
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, the Palace is especially renowned for its architecture, gardens, grounds, art, and the historically significant role it has played in the furthering of French politics and scientific innovation after the French Revolution.
One of the absolute highlights of the Palace of Versailles is its famed Hall of Mirrors; this bombastic reception, decorated floor to ceiling with gold leaf, marble chandeliers, elaborate frescoes and, you guessed it, mirrors, is a place you’re unlike to forget anytime soon!
While visiting the Palace, you’ll also have the opportunity to visit the royal residences of both the King and Queen; these apartments are, as you can probably imagine, both grand and atmospheric, with many of them featuring original furniture, decor, and artefacts on display.
Another must-see in the Palace of Versailles is its Royal Chapel, which was one of the last segments of the complex to be completed during the reign of Louis XIV. Home to an especially impressive organ, the Chapel is now also a concert venue, and makes for a lovely place to see some live music.
Finally, before moving on to explore the Palace’s grounds, make sure to stop by the Royal Opera.
Renowned as one of the finest examples of a European 18th-century opera house, there are frequent ballet, opera, and classical musical performances and recitals held here, so, if attending one of these concerts is something that might appeal to you, you can plan your Versailles day trip around a visit to the Royal Opera.
The Gardens of Versailles and the Grand Canal
Once you’re done exploring the Château de Versailles, you can proceed into the Gardens behind the palace complex.
Spanning over 800 hectares of land, Versaille’s Gardens are a highly significant example of a number of French landscaping and design styles, and are also home to a fairly extensive collection of stunning artworks in the form of water features and statues, too.
Containing over 350 statues, 50 water features, 600 fountains, 200,000 trees, 210,000 flowers, and 20 miles of water pipes, the Gardens are basically their own world; you could easily spend hours wandering around the nooks and crannies of this expansive space.
At the centre of it all is the Grand Canal, which is a whopping 1,670 metres long and has been the site of a great many parties during its time (some of which were held on its banks, but boating parties were historically quite popular, too!).
Other notable landmarks and sites that you should make sure to check out during your time in the Gardens include the Royal Promenade, the viewpoint of La Grande Perspective, the Colonnade and Enceladus Grooves, the Water Parterres, and the peculiar grotto known as Apollo’s Bath.
Something that can be of interest if you happen to be visiting during that time is the Musical Gardens & Fountain Shows, where the fountains are timed to Baroque music.
These run on various days outside the low season throughout April-October, so make sure to check if you’re keen to experience this. Regardless of if you’re here for this event or not, no doubt that wandering the gardens is one element to the perfect day trip to Versailles.
Grand/Petit Trianon Palaces and the Queen’s Hamlet
When you’ve had your fill of Versaille’s Gardens, you can head to the estate of Trianon, which is the next stop on this itinerary.
It’s home to a number of smaller palaces and residences, constructed by the French monarchy in order to give themselves access to a more intimate, low-key space away from the grandeur and pomp of the Palace of Versailles itself.
Note that a number of kinds of tickets are available for visiting Versailles; the Palace Ticket doesn’t cover entry to the buildings at Trianon. If you’d like to visit Trianon, too, then the ‘Passport’ ticket will be your best bet, as entry to both the Palace of Versailles and Trianon are included in the price.
Depending on which direction you’re arriving to the estate from, the palace of the Grand Trianon is likely what you’ll come across first; built by King Louis XIV as a retreat from the pressures and expectations of the court of Versailles, this palace, as well as its surrounds, feature an incredible display of various kinds of marble.
Interestingly, the Grand Trianon would later go on to be used as a summer residence for royals from other European states, including the Polish monarchy. As such, it has clearly played a fairly significant diplomatic role in terms of the relationships the French crown maintained with other powers.
The Petit Trianon, on the other hand, was frequented by Marie Antoinette – a name most of us will likely be familiar with! Reportedly, she struggled to adapt to life at the Palace and all the responsibilities it brought with it, and was gifted the Petit Trianon by Louis XVI, the son of Louis XV, who originally had it built as a place he and his mistress could head to when they needed privacy.
This building in particular is very representative of the neoclassical style of architecture that was at the peak of its popularity across Europe during the time of its construction. It’s certainly a far cry from the bright, and, at times, over-the-top colour and grandiosity of the Palace of Versailles itself, and the contrast is especially interesting to observe immediately after having visited the Palace proper.
Finally, the Queen’s Hamlet is, perhaps, the most idiosyncratic part of the entirety of the palace complex. This faux village was intended to be a place for Marie Antoinette to entertain guests in a far less pretentious atmosphere than at the Court of Versailles, as well as to be able to spend time in closer contact with nature – she often visited the Hamlet to go on walks with her children.
Curiously, the Queen’s Hamlet is, in fact, not entirely unusual for the historical period it was built in. At the time of its construction, a number of other palace complexes in Europe were home to similar village-style areas; this was due in large part to prevailing attitudes towards nature and the ‘natural state’ of man at the time, as it was believed that, the closer people could get to being in a totally natural state, untouched by the influence of society, the better.
Naturally, it would have been unseemly for the French monarchy to have dressed up as cavemen, so the Queen’s Hamlet became something of a compromise for them. Consisting of cottages, a windmill, and a functioning farm, this space, while quite divergent from the rest of Versailles, is definitely worth a visit.
The Gallery of Coaches
The somewhat niche Gallery of Coaches is located on the ground floor of the Great Stables of Versailles. Most of the coaches in the collection are ceremonial ‘Berlin Coaches,’ the majority of which have been used in processions during major political or social events throughout French history.
Featured are, among others, carriages used in the coronation of King Charles X, the funeral of King Louis XVIII, and the wedding of Napoleon Bonaparte I. Their historical value notwithstanding, most of these coaches are absolute works of art in their own right, and a visit to the Gallery of Coaches is, we feel, the perfect way to bookend your day trip from Paris to Versailles.
The museum isn’t huge, either, so you can expect to spend around an hour here.
Where to Stay in Paris
La Planque Hotel – Mid-rage visitors to Paris will love this comfortable 3-star hotel. Centrally located within easy reach of the top attractions (and for day trips!), they have a range of rooms on offer along with a great breakfast available in the morning. Click here to check availability
Hôtel Jardin de Cluny – Those after a luxury stay while in Paris and exploring the surrounding area will love this beautiful hotel in the Latin Quarter. Situated within easy reach of the French capital’s top sites, they have a range of lovely rooms to choose from and plenty of amenities for guests to enjoy. Click here to check availability
My Maison In Paris Montmartre – These holiday flats are the perfect option for those who would rather have their own apartment while standing in Paris. Situated in the bohemian Montmartre neighbourhood, there are a number of apartments on offer with everything included you may need for your stay. Click here to check availability
The People Paris Marais – If you’re travelling on a tight budget in Paris and want a social atmosphere, this hostel is a great choice. They have both dorms and private rooms available along with a French breakfast available for guests each morning. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Paris hotels!
Planning out a day at Versailles is one of the best things you can do when on a trip to Paris. Visiting the palace and gardens is an unforgettable experience that’s sure to give you memories to last a lifetime.
Are you planning to visit the Palace of Versailles? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!