Just a short train ride away from Paris is one of the true crown jewels of the region, the Château de Versailles. Also known as the Palace of Versailles, this structure holds a rich cultural and historical significance. Plus, it’s absolutely gorgeous!
During a simple afternoon or day trip from Paris to the Château de Versailles, you will be transported back in time to the land of French royalty and ornate decor. So, what are you waiting for?
The original construction of the Palace of Versailles took place between 1623 and 1634, when it was created to be a residence for Louis XIII for going hunting in the countryside. Louis XIV, XV, and XVI all spent time here and added their own charm to the estate.
Beginning in 1789, French royalty chose to no longer reside in Versailles, but this structure remained culturally significant. In 1837, the Château de Versailles became a museum. Napoleon III hosted events here, and the château was even the site of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
For more information about the history of the Palace of Versailles, check out its website (or essentially any of my old AP European History textbooks and worksheets).
Planning Your Visit
When you decide you want to take a trip to the Château de Versailles, go ahead and book your tickets online, as reservations in advance are required. This includes general entry tickets, as well as extra tickets if you choose to do a guided tour or check out an area that costs an additional fee.
During my most recent visit, I received a free entry ticket because I am an EU resident under the age of 26, and I also decided to take part in a guided tour (in French!) of Louis XIV’s apartments for €10. Definitely worth it!
Take the time slots printed on the tickets seriously, as the lines get long very quickly. If you arrive late, then you will not be allowed inside or refunded for your purchase!
If you plan your visit around the time of breakfast or lunch, don’t worry, as there are numerous cafés and boulangeries in the area. There are even some dining options within the palace complex, where you can quickly grab a bite to eat and then get back to your sightseeing.
Going from Paris to the Château de Versailles is super simple – I recommend taking the RER C. At your nearest metro station, approach a ticket machine and choose your language. Purchase a normal ticket and input the name of the station where you will get off (Versailles-Rive Gauche). Pay for it, grab your ticket, and you’re good to go! If you are using the RER C, it should only cost about €4 and the trip will take around 1-1.5 hours depending on where you are in the city.
Learn about additional transportation options here.
Once you arrive in Versailles, follow the maps and signs to approach the château!
What to See
So you finally made it to the Palace of Versailles… Now what?
Possibly the most notable part of the château is the Marble Courtyard. While it is not in the area open to the public, pay attention to the exits throughout the visit and you are sure to find one that opens out to it. It’s definitely my favorite spot for a photo opportunity!
The Hall of Mirrors is another famous part of the Château de Versailles. The chandeliers, mirrors, and ornate decor fill the room with a glamorous air of royalty that you breathe in and never want to let go of.
For a separate fee, you can also check out the gardens and fountains on the estate. While I have not yet had a chance to see these areas in person, I have heard that these outdoor areas are absolutely gorgeous and worth the extra ticket cost, especially when the weather is right.
Additional expositions and events also take place at the Château de Versailles. If you are interested in taking part in one of these experiences, then check the calendar in advance to see if any special events will take place on the day of your visit.
Between the architecture, history, culture, and pure beauty of the Château de Versailles, there is something here for everyone. Whether you are taking part in a busy sightseeing trip around Paris or just your everyday life here, this quick little voyage is the perfect opportunity to escape the bustling metropolis and immerse yourself in a whole new world.
Leave a Reply