From Paris to Versailles: A Beautiful Royal Journey Through Time

Estimated read time 14 min read

The mere mention of Versailles conjures up images of grandeur and opulence, a bygone era of kings and queens, and the height of French aristocracy. This iconic palace and its gardens are an unmissable destination for anyone visiting Paris. From the breathtaking Hall of Mirrors to the meticulously manicured gardens, every inch of Versailles tells a story of France’s past. Join us on a journey to discover the history and beauty of this magnificent palace, just a short trip away from the bustling streets of Paris.

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How to Get from Paris to Versailles: Train or Car?

If you love history, art, and architecture, then Versailles is the palace to go to when you visit Paris.  But, how do you get there? 

By Car: Renting a car is the easiest and most flexible option. If you are staying at a hotel in Versailles, parking will be easier than in Paris. Versailles is about 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) southwest of Paris. The journey between the two cities can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the mode of transportation and the traffic conditions.

By Train: There are several trains that you can take depending on where you are coming from.  It’s easy to plan out your train ride with Rome2Rio. There are 2 stations in Versailles so be sure to pay attention to which station you plan on using and how far it is from the Palace.  It’s easy to take a rideshare or taxi from the stations. 

Embark on a journey back in time with an in-depth skip-the-line tour of the Palace of Versailles, the opulent residence of France’s most famous monarchs. 

By Taxi: Taxis are the fastest option but can cost $30 – $40.

Tips for First-Time Train Riders in Paris

  • Purchase the right ticket: Paris has a number of train lines and ticket options, so it’s important to know which one to choose. A single metro ticket, for instance, might not work on the RER or the Transilien.
  • Plan your route: Before boarding a train, make sure you know which train line and direction you need to take to reach your destination. Use a map or a mobile app to plan your route ahead of time. Bonjour RATP is a great app for helping you figure it out easily.
  • Mind the gap: When boarding or exiting a train, be sure to watch your step and mind the gap between the train and the platform.
  • Keep your ticket handy: Hold on to your ticket until the end of your journey, as you may need it to exit the station.
  • Beware of pickpockets: Paris has a reputation for pickpocketing, so be sure to keep an eye on your belongings at all times, especially in crowded areas.
  • Be courteous: Parisian commuters can be impatient and in a hurry, so it’s important to be courteous and avoid blocking pathways or doors.
  • Stay alert for announcements: Train schedules and delays can change quickly, so listen carefully for announcements regarding your train.
  • Follow the rules: Smoking, eating, and drinking are generally not allowed on trains in Paris, so be sure to follow the rules.
  • Don’t forget to validate your ticket: Before boarding certain trains in Paris, such as the RER or the Transilien, you may need to validate your ticket at a machine or gate before entering the platform.
  • Consider purchasing a pass: If you plan on using the train frequently during your time in Paris, consider purchasing a multi-day pass, such as a Navigo pass or a Paris Visite pass, to save money on fares.
  • Exiting the train: Doors do NOT open automatically, you have to press the button to open the door if you need to get off.
  • France Train Strikes: Pay attention to news and updates as the trains can be prone to transportation strikes throughout the year.

The Best Time to Visit Versailles: Tips for Avoiding Crowds and Lines

Versailles is one of the most popular tourist destinations in France, attracting 15 million visitors each year. To avoid the crowds and long lines, it’s important to plan your visit carefully. Here are some tips on the best time to visit Versailles:

  • Visit during the off-season: The peak tourist season in Versailles is from June to August. If you can, try to visit during the off-season, which is from November to March. The crowds are smaller, and the lines are shorter.
  • Go early in the morning: If you can’t visit during the off-season, try to arrive at Versailles as early in the morning as possible. The palace opens at 9:00 AM, so try to be there when the gates open. This way, you can beat the crowds and have more time to explore the palace and its grounds.
  • Visit on a weekday: Weekends tend to be more crowded than weekdays. If you have the flexibility to visit during the week, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding the crowds.
  • Book your tickets in advance: To save time and avoid the lines, book your tickets online in advance. This way, you can skip the ticket line and go straight into the palace line.
  • Take a guided tour: A guided tour can help you navigate the palace and its grounds more efficiently. You’ll also learn more about the history and significance of the palace.
  • Avoid peak hours: The busiest time at Versailles is from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Try to avoid these hours if possible.

I have a pro tip for you that will make your experience even more enjoyable – split your visit into two parts!

Instead of trying to see everything in one day, I highly recommend visiting the gardens either early in the morning or late in the afternoon on day 1, and then visiting the palace separately the next morning. Not only will this help you avoid the crowds, but it will also give you more time to fully appreciate the beauty and grandeur of this incredible place.

Imagine strolling through the meticulously manicured gardens, taking in the stunning fountains and sculptures, and feeling the serenity of the morning or the magic of the evening light. You’ll have more space to explore and photograph without feeling rushed or crowded.

Then, when you visit the palace the next day, you can take your time exploring the ornate rooms, admiring the opulent decorations, and learning about the fascinating history of this iconic landmark. By splitting up your visit, you’ll have the chance to fully immerse yourself in each part of Versailles without feeling overwhelmed or rushed.

Staying at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles: A Luxurious Experience

Let me take you on a journey back in time to 1988, when I was a high school freshman and begrudgingly assigned to learn French. I was still reeling from not being accepted into the Spanish class after taking it for three years. But little did I know, that experience would be the start of a lifelong love affair with French culture and history.

At the time, I wasn’t the most diligent student, often feeling lost in class and neglecting homework. But thanks to the guidance of a few exceptional teachers, my perspective started to shift. Slowly but surely, I began to appreciate the beauty and richness of the French language and all it represented.

Years later, as a college student, my passion for all things French had fully blossomed. I found myself daydreaming about wandering through the streets of Paris, sipping café au lait at a quaint bistro, and taking in the breathtaking architecture of Versailles.

And speaking of Versailles, there’s one place in particular that sits at the top of my must-visit list – the Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace. This luxurious hotel boasts beautifully appointed spaces, attentive service, and the culinary delights of none other than Gordon Ramsay himself. It’s the perfect place to indulge in a little bit of French decadence and immerse yourself in the grandeur of the palace.

So if you’re a fellow Francophile like me, I highly recommend adding the Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace to your bucket list. It’s the perfect place to experience the magic of Versailles and indulge in a little bit of luxury and indulgence.

Waldorf Staircase

Immerse Yourself in the Glamour of 18th Century Royalty

Allow me to paint a picture of my recent stay at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace, specifically the King Deluxe Palace Family Room. As a family seeking tranquility and sophisticated surroundings, we were dazzled by this stunning accommodation.

From the moment we stepped into the room, my little girl couldn’t contain her excitement – she felt like a princess! She even took to walking down the grand staircase as if she were royalty herself. And who could blame her? The room was absolutely gorgeous, with two interconnecting rooms offering stunning views of the gardens and two bathrooms with intricate mosaic floor details.

But the real showstopper was the corner king bedroom, which boasted not one, but two balconies. One overlooked the lush gardens, while the other offered a view of the grand entryway. It was the perfect place to unwind and soak in the grandeur of Versailles.

And speaking of unwinding, the staff at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace went above and beyond to ensure our stay was as comfortable and memorable as possible. From the seamless check-in to the delightful surprise of Nutella crepes at breakfast, every detail was taken care of. And when we needed transportation in a pinch, the concierge saved the day with quick and efficient service.

Overall, our experience at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles – Trianon Palace was nothing short of exceptional. I can’t wait to return and indulge in a little more luxury and tranquility. Trust me, if you’re looking for a place to stay while visiting Versailles, you won’t regret booking the King Deluxe Palace Family Room. It’s the perfect place to create lasting memories with your loved ones.

The Palace of Versailles: A Brief History and Overview

Originally built as a hunting lodge in 1624 by Louis XIII, the palace underwent numerous expansions and renovations over the years until it reached its current grandeur in the 18th century under the reign of Louis XIV. The palace served as the seat of power for the French monarchy until the French Revolution in 1789, and today it stands as a testament to the opulence and extravagance of the French royal court.

The Palace of Versailles boasts over 700 rooms, 67 staircases, and 2,153 windows spread across a sprawling 2,300-acre estate. From the grand Hall of Mirrors to the ornate Queen’s Chamber, each room is a masterpiece of design and craftsmanship that reflects the opulence and splendor of the French monarchy.

Inside the Palace of Versailles: A Tour of the State Apartments, Hall of Mirrors, and More

One of the most important and popular rooms in the palace is the Hall of Mirrors. This grand hall stretches over 230 feet and is lined with 17 mirrored arches that reflect the natural light from the gardens outside, creating a stunning effect that is a complete experience. The hall also features intricate ceiling paintings and crystal chandeliers that add to its grandeur.

Another must-see room in the palace is the Queen’s Chamber. This room was once the private apartment of Queen Marie Antoinette and features ornate decorations and furnishings fit for a queen. The room boasts a grand four-poster bed, beautiful frescoes, and stunning views of the gardens outside.

Of course, no visit to the Palace of Versailles would be complete without a stop in the King’s State Apartment. This series of rooms was once used for official ceremonies and features ornate decorations, intricate frescoes, and stunning furniture that once belonged to Louis XIV himself.

Tips for Taking Photos in the Palace:

If you’re planning to capture the beauty of the Palace of Versailles in your camera lens, be prepared to work your way through crowds of tourists. Don’t let the crowds discourage you though! With a little bit of preparation, you can still take stunning shots that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

  • Look for less crowded spots: If you’re unable to get there early, look for spots in the palace that are less crowded. Try to avoid the busiest areas and focus on the smaller, quieter rooms.
  • Use a wide-angle lens: A wide-angle lens is perfect for capturing the grandeur of the palace’s architecture and the intricate details of its decorations. It can also help you fit more into the frame, making it easier to avoid capturing unwanted people in the shot.
  • Take advantage of natural light: Try to use natural light as much as possible. The palace’s windows provide plenty of natural light that can help you capture stunning shots of the palace’s interiors.
  • Be patient: Don’t rush your shots. Wait for the perfect moment, and be patient until the crowds move out of your frame.
  • Be creative: Try different angles and compositions to make your shots unique and interesting. Experiment with different camera settings to capture the palace’s beauty in a new and exciting way.

What Is NOT Allowed in the Palace of Versailles:

  • Remember that you cannot use flash photography and you cannot touch artwork and furniture.
  • Tripods are not allowed in the palace but you can use them in the gardens.
  • Large bags and suitcases are not allowed inside and will need to be checked.
  • Selfie sticks are not allowed inside the palace.
  • You cannot bring in food or drinks but you can picnic in the gardens.

Take a virtual photo tour through the Gardens of Versailles.

Beyond the Palace of Versailles

While the Palace of Versailles is undoubtedly the star attraction, there are many other stunning sights to explore beyond the palace walls. If you’re looking to delve deeper into the history and beauty of Versailles, here are eight stops worth adding to your itinerary:

  • The Grand Trianon: A pink marble palace built by Louis XIV as a retreat from the formalities of court life.
  • The Petit Trianon: A smaller palace commissioned by Louis XV for his mistress Madame de Pompadour, and later used by Marie Antoinette as her private residence.
  • The Hameau de la Reine: A charming village-style retreat built by Marie Antoinette, complete with farm animals, gardens, and a mill.
  • The Royal Opera (L’Opera Royal): A stunning theater built in the late 18th century for the exclusive use of the royal family and their guests. It was only used about 40 times before the Revolution.
  • Temple of Love: A beautiful pavilion nestled in the middle of the park, built in the late 18th century as a symbol of Louis XVI’s love for Marie Antoinette.
  • Eglise Notre-Dame de Versailles: A beautiful church located just outside the palace gates, built in the 17th century to serve the needs of the royal court.
  • Parc du Domaine de Madame Elisabeth: A beautiful park located just outside the palace grounds, originally designed for Louis XV’s daughter Madame Elisabeth.
  • Grandes & Petites Ecuries: The Great Stables and Small Stables were built to house the royal horses and are now home to the Museum of Carriages and the Academy of Equestrian Arts.

Versailles Bike Tour with Palace Timed Entry Ticket & Marie-Antoinette’s Domain

From Paris to Versailles and Beyond: Tour Recommendations

Versailles Palace Guided Tour with Gardens Access From Paris From $87.28

Versailles Palace Priority Access Guided Tour From $125.94

Versailles Bike Tour with Palace Timed Entry Ticket & Marie-Antoinette’s Domain From $120.42

Versailles Palace Private Half Day Guided Tour including Hotel Pickup from Paris From $431.13

Happy Wandering from Paris to Versailles!

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