Of course when visiting Paris for a long weekend, there are certain attractions which are top of the to-do list for everyone. Does taking photos from the top of the Eiffel Tower, walking around the romantic sun-dappled streets which surround the Sacre Coeur and spending all your souvenir money on the Champs Elysees ring any bells? Well here at ATD we are putting forward a case for the Palace of Versailles (Palais du Versailles) to be added to this sacred list of much-do Parisian sights and attractions. Here’s why…
Although there’s enough to keep anyone busy for months on end in Paris, it’s nice to escape the hustle and bustle of the centre for the wealth and elegance of the small cities such as Versailles which encircle it. Even better, it’s connected to the centre via the regional train line RER C so it’s simple to navigate your way there . Our tickets even include this journey, so you won't have to worry about how to get to the Palace of Versailles from Paris.
There is so much to see at the Palace and in the gardens that arriving early is strongly advised. The palace opens at 9am, so if you have a pre-booked ticket you can get in early without having to queue for tickets and avoid the crowds. It is even more important to book early in high season where queues to get in can top 2 hours! If you really want to beat the crowds, then visit outside of peak season, stroll straight through the door with your pre-booked tickets and have cavernous rooms of this stunning palace all to yourself!
And cavernous is really the only way to describe some of the rooms in this royal château, with the Hall of Mirrors (Galerie des Glaces) in particular taking guests’ breath away with its sheer size and opulence. Seventeen mirrored arches reflect the seventeen arcaded windows which face out on to the garden, creating the illusion that the already expansive gardens continue endlessly into the distance on both sides. Extravagant chandeliers are suspended over-head, framing the room and fragmenting the light into a soft dapple.
The Hall of Mirrors is not the only example of the Palace’s seemingly limitless excesses. During Louis XIV’s reign, a solid silver throne stood in the Salon of Apollo in the The King’s Chamber (Le Grand Appartement du Roi) and even the elegant and luxury-loving Marie-Antoinette herself lived here for some time. Both of these chambers are open to the public on the guided tour, which colours in the history around the remarkable infrastructure.
If you’re visiting in winter, make sure you wrap up warm as the gardens are just as beautiful as the palace itself and well worth an explore. Even on the chilliest of Parisian days, a wander around the evergreen sculpted gardens can blow away the cobwebs from a busy sightseeing spell. If the weather’s a little kinder, you might consider exploring the vast palace grounds by bike, which will allow you to see much more than would be possible on foot. Highlights include Marie Antoinette’s estate, the Petit Trianon, and enjoying a picnic lunch by the Grand Canal.
Another great way to enjoy the gardens in the warmer months is with a ticket to the special fountain displays, the Grandes Eaux, which run from late spring to early autumn and are hugely popular with guests. You can pre-book this experience too, to make sure you don’t miss out!
Convinced? We thought you might be! You can find out more about all our Palace de Versailles ticket options here and save yourself the hassle of queueing on the day. Bonne vacance!