The Palace of Versailles is nothing short of magnificent. Created by Louis XIV, the Palace stood as a symbol of the king’s supreme wealth, embodying the divine majesty and absolute power of the monarchy.
Around 30,000 workers were involved in it’s construction, estimated to have cost around 25% of France’s income.
No luxury was spared: velvet, marble, gilt, frescoes, paintings, fountains and sculptures abound, with themes drawn from Greek and Roman mythology. The gardens are the largest in the world.
The size alone is staggering. Spanning around 2,000 acres, the complex is made up of the main Palace, gardens, and two smaller palaces.
Versailles became the official residence of the Court of France in 1682, until the Revolution in 1792 when Louis XVI and his wife Marie-Antoinette were taken away and eventually executed.
Virtual Tour of the Palace of Versailles
Here are some excellent videos of the palace so you can get a feel for what it’s like. The videos are in four parts, with commentary.
Palace of Versailles: Sightseeing Tips
More than 3 million people come to see the palace of Versailles every year, so it can get extremely crowded. But don’t be put off by this. It’s an incredible place to visit, and out of the many tourist attractions in france, this one is not to be missed.
Palace of Versailles France
Versailles can be a pretty confusing place to get around, with multiple ticket options and entry points; there’s also a major renovation project going on at the moment, so there will be additional disruption.
When you first arrive at Versailles, the best thing to do is to head to one of the information booths. You can pick up a map, and find out about all the different ticket options and corresponding entry points.
A little advance planning can also save time and stress. For example, the Paris Museum Pass (available at most metro stations) will give you access to the main sections of the castle, and you won’t have to wait in line to buy a ticket when you arrive.
Another option is the combination ticket for both the RER train trip from Paris and admission to the castle (Forfait Château de Versailles). Tickets can be purchased at the RER ticket booth.
If you can, avoid visiting Versailles on Sundays and Tuesdays as these are the busiest days of the week. The palace is closed on Mondays. Expect crowds and long lines whatever the season.
The Palace of Versailles: What to See
Hameau de la Reine – Versailles France
The State Apartments are the most spectacular areas of the Palace. This includes:
- the Galerie des Glaces (Hall of Mirrors), where the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, signifying the end of World War I;
- the royal bedrooms of the King and Queen; and
- the Salon de Hercules, with its beautiful frescoed ceiling.
Other highlights include the Chapel Royal where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were married in 1770; and the Queens Hamlet (Hameau de la Reine), a kind of play village with normandy-style thatched cottages, built for Marie Antoinette’s amusement; and of course, the Versailles gardens.
The easiest way to reach Versailles is by train from Paris. The metro doesn’t run to Versailles, but you could take the RER C line – make sure you take Versailles RG (Rive Gauche) not Versailles CH (Chantiers) – from the metro station Denfert Rochereau. The trip takes about 30 minutes; it’s then a 5-10 minute walk to the palace.
There are also SNCF trains (from Gare Montparnasse and Paris-Gare St-Lazare) to the palace but the walking distance is a little longer – around 15 minutes.