If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience during your visit to Paris, the Château de Versailles should be at the top of your list. This awe-inspiring palace, located in the nearby suburb of Versailles, is one of the most spectacular attractions in all of Western Europe. The admission price is a bargain considering the wealth of history, art, and architecture you’ll encounter. We highly recommend adding this iconic site to your itinerary.

The Epitome of Royal Extravagance

Versailles is the ultimate symbol of royal opulence. What began as a humble hunting lodge for King Louis XIII was transformed into a magnificent palace by his son, Louis XIV, in the 17th century. The “Sun King” made Versailles the seat of the Bourbon Empire, and successive rulers continued to enhance the palace with their own improvements and additions.

Thanks to post-World War I financing from American philanthropist J.D. Rockefeller, Jr., extensive renovations have been carried out in recent years. The result is a breathtaking residence turned museum that, while sometimes bordering on excessive, is undeniably gorgeous.

Exploring the Vast Versailles Estate

The Versailles Estate spans over 2,000 acres and includes several areas open to visitors:

  1. The main palace and its gardens
  2. The Grand Canal
  3. The Grand Trianon and its gardens
  4. The Petit Trianon
  5. The Queen’s Hamlet

To grasp the sheer size of the estate, take a moment to study the models displayed at the beginning of your palace tour. Prepare yourself for a full day of exploration, or if time is limited, consider using the Paris Museum Pass to focus on the areas that interest you most.

Discovering the Palace’s Opulent Rooms

A tour of the palace alone can easily take several hours. You’ll have access to numerous rooms and halls on both the ground level and first floor. Some of the highlights include:

The Grand Apartment of the King

  • Hercules Salon: Marvel at the grandeur of this impressive room.
  • Abundance Salon: Admire the intricate decor and attention to detail.
  • Venus Salon, Diana Salon, Mars Salon: Each salon showcases its own unique style and elegance.
  • Mercury & Apollo Salons: These rooms are a testament to the palace’s extravagance.

The King’s Chamber

  • Bull’s Eye Salon (Œil-de-Bœuf): This oval-shaped antechamber is a striking feature of the King’s Chamber.
  • Council Study: Imagine the important meetings and decisions made in this room.
  • Kings’ Bedchamber: This is where Louis XIV slept and possibly even where he drew his last breath in 1715.

The Grand Apartment of the Queen

  • Queen’s Bedchamber: Step into the private quarters of the queen and feel the weight of history.
  • Nobles’ Salon: This room served as a gathering place for the nobility.
  • Antechamber of the Grand Couvert: The royal family dined here in the presence of the court.
  • Guard Room: Envision the royal guards standing watch in this impressive space.

The Mesdames’ Apartments (Ladies Apartments)

  • Victoire’s Large Chamber and Bedchamber: Explore the private chambers of Louis XV’s daughter, Madame Victoire.
  • Library: Peruse the collection of books that once belonged to the royal family.
  • Adelaide’s Large Chamber: Discover the living quarters of another of Louis XV’s daughters, Madame Adélaïde.

The Glittering Hall of Mirrors

No visit to Versailles would be complete without seeing the dazzling Hall of Mirrors (La galerie des Glaces). This Grande Galerie, adorned with painted ceilings, sparkling chandeliers, and mirrored walls, served as a receiving room for visiting dignitaries and a venue for weddings and celebrations.

In more recent history, the Hall of Mirrors is where World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

More Rooms to Explore

Other notable rooms in the Palace of Versailles include:

  • War Room: Admire the military-themed decor and artwork.
  • Peace Room: Take in the serene atmosphere of this elegantly designed space.
  • Gallery of Battles (la galerie des Batailles): This long hall is adorned with paintings depicting various French military victories.

Please note that some rooms in the palace may be closed due to renovations or only accessible through special tours. These may include the Royal Opera (a full-scale theater), the Royal Chapel, the private chambers of Kings Louis XV and XVI, the Apartments of Marie-Antoinette, and the Apartments of the Dauphin and the Dauphine.

Strolling Through the Gardens and Beyond

After exploring the opulent palace, take a leisurely walk through the meticulously manicured gardens. To visit the buildings on the far end of the estate, such as the Trianon Palaces and the Queen’s Hamlet, consider taking the mini train, which shuttles visitors to several drop-off points.

The Palace and Park of Versailles have been jointly listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for over 30 years, recognizing their exceptional historical and cultural significance.

Ticket Information and Tips

  • Adult Admission (Palace only): €15.00, includes access to the Hall of Mirrors, Grand Apartments of the King and Queen, King’s Bedchamber, Gallery of Battles, and exhibitions.
  • Paris Museum Pass holders: Enjoy free entry, which includes access to all unguided tours of the Palace of Versailles, Grand & Petit Trianon, Estate of Marie-Antoinette, and exhibitions (open according to the season).

Combo tickets covering various areas of the Versailles Estate:

  • Passport: €18.00, covers the Versailles Palace and grounds, Grand & Petit Trianon Palaces, Estate of Marie-Antoinette, Musical Fountain Show and Musical Gardens (April to October), and exhibitions.
  • 2-day Passport: €25.00, allows entry for two consecutive days to explore the estate at your leisure.

Ticket prices include an audio guide. Please note that the mini train transport service is available at an additional cost and is not covered by the Paris Museum Pass.

Travel Tips

  • The palace grounds are vast, and walking can be time-consuming. If you plan to see the Trianon Palaces and/or Marie Antoinette’s Estate/Hamlet, the quickest and easiest way to get there is by taking the mini train.
  • Paris Museum Pass holders can skip the ticket line and proceed directly to a separate security checkpoint and entrance, which usually has much shorter lines. We highly recommend visiting Versailles with this pass.
  • Admission to the gardens is free on most days throughout the year. Check the official website for more information.

Visiting the Château de Versailles is an unforgettable experience that offers a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of French royalty. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply seeking a unique and captivating attraction near Paris, this magnificent palace is sure to leave you in awe.

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