Is Versailles Worth it?

Is The Palace of Versailles Worth It? Everything You Need to Know

Although I’ve been to Paris many times, last year marked the first time that I visited Versailles. I was surprised (in both good and bad ways) by the castle, so I can give you my first-hand experience as an art historian about what makes this historic site so special and answer the question Is the Palace of Versailles worth it for you.

Versailles was a favoured castle of Louis XIV. Other kings (Francis the First, for example) preferred other options like Fontainebleau, but this particular monarch enjoyed the ornate gold and the beautiful gardens on the grounds. It also has strong ties to Napoleon and the Revolution and has some of the biggest and most stunning artwork that you can see in France!

Let’s see if you might like the Palace of Versailles as much as he did and decide it’s worth a visit!

An ornately decorated ceiling at Versailles

What is special about the Palace of Versailles?

Versailles is one of the most exquisite palaces in France, filled with ornate goldwork and artworks all around you. It’s peak opulence.

Unlike Fontainebleau, which was more of a trek, Versailles was a short trip from Paris, so it was close enough to be near the hustle and bustle of the city while also being far away enough that most people wouldn’t come anywhere near it most of the time unless they were directly connected to the palace in some way.

The Palace of Versailles also does a great job of explaining works, people, and why they’re important it. If you like history, the rich history you’ll be presented with at Versailles makes it worth it.

What is the most impressive part of the palace at Versailles?

For most people, the Hall of Mirrors at the palace of Versailles is the standout feature. With its huge chandeliers and (as the name implies) wall-to-wall mirrors and decorated ceiling, it is one of the most visually rich rooms on earth. It’s practically a right of passage to take an Instagram story or shoot a photo in there!

If you’re an art lover, though, you will be so impressed by the sheer quantity and quality of the art on display at Versailles. They do a great job of walking you through the development of art in France and Versailles and you’ll see really impressive paintings, frescos, etc. from a wide range of eras. French art doesn’t travel and get purchased as widely to North America as the Italian Renaissance, so a lot of times the only way to see specific architectural or artistic features of France is to see them in person.

Is Buckingham Palace bigger than Versailles?

Buckingham Palace is 14000 square meters bigger than Versailles at a whopping 77,000 meters squared compared to Versailles’ 63,000 meters squared.

What not to miss at Versailles Palace

The Hall of Mirrors and the gardens will be what everyone tells you and yes, those are impressive. You should definitely do a quick tour through the gardens at the very least.

But I’d also say that you should remember to look up at the ceilings. There are a lot of beautifully ornate ceiling frescos and you won’t get the full experience if you forget to really take them in.

The Coronation Room also has several large paintings by Jacques-Louis David, one of the most famous neoclassical artists in France. It’ll be one of the last stops in the palace, so you can see them on your way out.

How much is the Palace of Versailles worth?

The Palace of Versailles is worth a whopping $50.7 billion (£38.8 billion).

Is the Palace of Versailles worth it?

If you’re someone who likes art and history then yes, this is a must-see. Versailles is really the peak of French artistry and craftsmanship from the 17th through 19th centuries, so you shouldn’t miss it if you’re on a longer trip. If you’re a fan of castles, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more magnificent one in France.

However, if you’re only in Paris for 3 days, I’d skip it. Paris has a ton to see and unless you’re really dead set on seeing it, you can see a lot of French art from the same periods at The Louvre, which is outmatched in terms of number of works and size.

Is Versailles worth squeezing in a 4-day 4-night Paris trip?

Yes, if you have a four-night trip, then I’d say squeeze it in, especially if you can get a later afternoon/early evening flight out of France. You’ll have enough time to do a lot of the other greatest hits activities, so you can afford to spend 90 minutes on the road round trip. It’s well worth it to take the time and you won’t be disappointed by it.

Which is bigger, Louvre or Versailles?

This isn’t a straightforward question. In terms of actual walking you’ll do, The Louvre is bigger. Waaaaay bigger. It’s approximately the size of Buckingham Palace. However, if you’re talking actual amount of land occupied, the Palace of Versailles takes the cake. Marie Antoinette pun fully intended. 🙂 Its gardens are massive sitting on several hectares of land.

Should I go to Versailles or The Louvre?

It depends on whether you’re more impressed by architecture and interior design or by art. If you want to see stunning architecture, sprawling grounds, and beautifully decorated interiors, then you need to go to Versailles. No contest. The Louvre is very impressive for its size and its modern pyramid is stunning, but Versailles is one of the most beautiful palaces in all of Europe (and as an art historian who studies the Renaissance, well… I visit castles a LOT).

However, if you’re an art lover and you want to see some of the world’s greatest masterpieces from Europe and beyond, then no contest you should spend your time at The Louvre. For art lovers, the chance to see seminal artworks by French artists like Poussin, Delacroix, Ingres, Géricault, etc. is simply unparalleled. Especially if you’re from North America, you’ll have a harder time seeing these works outside of Europe because French art from the Renaissance especially isn’t as heavily collected as Italian art this side of the Atlantic.

If you want to know more about buying tickets to The Louvre, the linked post has you covered.

Is it worth doing a guided tour of Versailles?

I wouldn’t do a guided tour of Versailles. Their audio guide is extremely comprehensive and you can get one on site. If you want to understand what you’re looking at and take your time, then I especially would go with the audio guide over the guided tour.

Is the Palace of Versailles worth it?

How to Get to Versailles from Paris

You can get to the Palace of Versailles from Paris very easily: You can take a car, a cab, or the train system. Because accessibility in the French Metro system isn’t so hot, I took a cab personally. But if you have no issues driving, then I highly recommend taking a car. You can rent cars easily in France and there’s plenty of parking in the area.

How long is it from Paris to Versailles?

It’s about 45 minutes by car from Paris to Versailles, so it’s a good half-day trip, as you’ll get there, park or walk to the palace, spend a few hours there and return home.

What is the best way to get to Versailles from Paris?

If you can, I would take a private car transfer from Paris to Versailles. You’ll get to see some nice scenery on the way and it’s the most stress-free way that saves your legs for all the walking you’ll be doing. I would go by train otherwise.

Paris to Versailles by train

Three train lines will take you from Paris to Versailles: RER C train, TER N from Paris Montparnasse, and line L from Paris Saint Lazare. Many people end up taking the RER C train, but they all take between 25-45 minutes to get to Versailles.

When you get out of any of the stations, though, you’ll see plenty of signage directing you towards Versailles. You can use Google Maps to help you navigate once you get out of the station and I highly recommend that option if you’re bad at directions since it’s not the most visible landmark until you get to the palace. With the Eiffel Tower, you can tell if you’re getting closer or farther away from it. At Versailles, eh… not so much.

Something to note for people with low mobility or trouble breathing: Both train stations are a 10-minute walk for the average walker, which means it will be closer to 20-30 minutes for you. So if you get tired easily, I strongly suggest saving your energy for the palace itself. Just to get to the Palace of Versailles, you have to walk up a long, slightly uphill entrance area and you’ll hit a cobblestone area — and it’s the painful-for-flat-feet kind of cobblestone, not like some of the ones in Italy where you can barely tell you’re on cobble.

Paris to Versailles on the RER-C train

The RER-C train departs every 5-10 minutes, so it’ll be your easiest and best option. Please note: There are two Versailles stops on this train. You want to make sure you’re taking the train that goes to Versailles Château Rive-Gauche station and not to Versailles Chantiers. You can tell because the last stop on the correct Versailles train is Versailles Château Rive-Gauche station. The incorrect train ends at Saint-Quentin en Yvelines.

Paris to Versailles on the TER N train

On the TER N line, you’ll get off at Versailles Chantiers station. The train comes every 15 minutes.

Paris to Versailles on the L train line

If you have no other option, then take the L line, but I don’t recommend it. Departures are only every 20 minutes, which wastes a lot of time, and once you get to Versailles Rive Droite station, you’ll have to walk about 20 minutes to get to the palace, which means a strong chance of getting lost if you don’t use Google Maps. This line has several branches, so take the one that goes to Versailles Rive-Droite.

How much is an Uber from Paris to Versailles?

According to the Uber app, the trip will be about €35-40. I recommend using Tiqets to book a private round trip car service from Paris to Versailles as the price will run you about the same and then you don’t have the whole rigamarole of trying to find your driver.

Driving from Paris to Versailles

I don’t recommend driving from Paris to Versailles. France is one of the hardest places to drive in and French drivers do not obey traffic rules. You will end up in a fight over directions very easily.

How early should I arrive at Versailles?

If you’re not doing a timed ticket entry, then I recommend going at least a half hour prior to opening time to queue up in line. If you have a timed entry ticket, you can show up 10 minutes before your entry time and you’ll be fine.

Is Versailles near the Eiffel Tower?

The Palace of Versailles is 10.8 miles from the Eiffel Tower, so no, they aren’t close by. It’s about a 45-minute drive from the Eiffel Tower to Versailles. If you’re looking for a much closer activity, I’d recommend going from the Eiffel Tower to The Louvre.

Buying Tickets to Versailles

How much does the Palace of Versailles cost?

The price varies according to season. Low-season ticket pricing was 26 € (November-March) and in the high season the passport, which gives access to all the grounds, is €32. You can access just the palace for €21.

If you’re a person with a disability or accompanying them, you can get free admission with a letter from your doctor, but you have to book a timed admission slot according to the Versailles website. This is what I did. They have wheelchairs available to rent on-site.

Do I need to buy Versailles tickets in advance?

You can buy tickets on the spot, but especially during the high season of summer, I don’t recommend flying by the seat of your pants with this attraction in particular. It’s a lengthy round-trip, so if you wing it and hope there will be space, you could waste up to 2 hours going, discovering they’re sold out, and heading back to Paris. Pre-book your tickets please.

You can get your tickets here on Tiqets for the base ticket. I like using Tiqets because

How do I skip the line at Versailles?

You can skip the line at Versailles by buying a Priority Entrance ticket from Tiqets, which comes with a guided tour of the palace. If you don’t want to stick with the guided tour once you’re in, make sure to be polite and let your guide know. You can also pre-purchase at the palace website.

How long is the line at Versailles?

The line at Versailles can vary. We got there for opening time and I think we waited about 10 minutes for our bag and ticket check, but when we left around mid-way through the day, the line was at least an hour long and there was a huge queue. Again, we didn’t go in peak season so I think it could easily get up to 90 minutes to 2 hours, especially during the Olympics, so I highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance.

Are the Versailles gardens free?

In the low season, admission to the gardens is always free (between November and March). From April through October, you have to pay a fee on Tuesdays, Fridays, weekends, and National holidays. You can buy access to the gardens on those days with the “Passport” ticket which allows access to every part of the palace.

Visiting the Palace of Versailles

How much time do you need in the Palace of Versailles?

You need at least an hour per palace section, but if you want to go slowly I’d say closer to 90 minutes. It’s a half-day trip, really.

Is it better to visit Versailles in the morning or afternoon?

Definitely in the morning, when there’s less people, and especially during the summer. There’s not going to be air conditioning so in the afternoon heat (it can get very hot in Paris during July and August), it’s going to be gross on the higher floors and you’ll feel disgustingly hot. If you’re going in the afternoon, bring a portable electric fan or a handheld fan (I brought a handheld one because it felt more authentic to the Versailles experience).

Do I need to bring my Passport to Versailles?

No, you can bring any kind of national ID (ie: driver’s license, identity card) and that is sufficient to enter.

Is there a dress code at Versailles?

Nope! You’re welcome to dress however you’d like, and I recommend keeping it light if you can with your fabrics since it gets hot even in the winter from all the people.

What day is Versailles least busy?

Wednesday and Friday are the least busy days as most people are either coming to Paris or headed home on those days, so you’ll run into fewer tourists.

Can you go to Versailles without a tour?

Yes, absolutely, and I don’t thin you need a guided tour for this particular Palace. Grab the audioguide, it’s sufficient.

Is Versailles a lot of walking?

Oh my goodness, yes! It’s a LOT of walking. The great thing is there’s a lot of places to sit. They’ve thought about people with mobility issues. This isn’t going to be a friendly place, though, for mobility scooters. You have to go across cobblestone and it will have a hard time, and regular push wheelchairs will make it impossible. The garden grounds have rocks and sand which are not the most stable things to walk on for people who use canes.

But it is doable. Just be prepared that you probably will have to get up once or twice if you’re in a motorized scooter or wheelchair.

Are backpacks allowed in Versailles?

The maximum bag size is 13.98 x 21.65 x 7.87 inches (35.5 x 55 x 20 cm) and anything larger than that will have to be checked at their coat check.

Are there toilets at Versailles?

Yes, there are plenty of toilets around Versailles. If you need help finding them, the staff will be more than happy to help.

Can I bring a water bottle to Versailles?

You can bring a water bottle to Versailles, and they even have free water access points at the following locations:

Are you allowed to take photos in Versailles?

Yes, you can take photos for private purposes (souvenir, remembrance, hang it in your own home). However, you can’t photograph the palace or artworks with professional or commercial intent without getting the written permission of the President of the Establishment.
So is Versailles worth it? If you’re an architecture, gardening, and interior design absolutely. You won’t be disappointed. Versailles is a half-day trip that’s worth taking. However, if you’re doing a short trip (72 hours or less) and you don’t really want to see it, then I’d recommend something else.
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