Can you imagine going halfway around the world, finally catching a train to Versailles to see the massive palace and gardens that you’ve studied in art history and seen in films such as Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, and then finding the gates locked and the place shut for the day? I don’t have to imagine it because that’s what I did.
The lesson I learned – check everything in advance, particularly days of closing. To be fair, this was quite a few years ago, before Google and the internet (which feels a bit like admitting to living in prehistoric times), but these days there is no excuse for not quickly checking that the place you want to go is actually open.
After my experience, I was gutted but still determined to see Versailles one day. Just the sheer scale of the place is incredible. To see all that gilding and imagine the sheer ego of kings and queens who thought it was their right to have such magnificent spaces to live in while others starved.
It’s not surprising that the splendor of Versailles kicked off a revolution. It’s one of the reasons the palace is so interesting. The art and design is incredible, but to think about the life that was lived here, the historic events that occurred, the effect of such a building and art collection and lifestyle on world history – it’s awe inspiring.
One way to ensure Versailles is actually open before you head out of Paris (and let me say that most days of the year it is) is to book your ticket in advance online, which also helps you avoid any queues. Also consider taking a guided tour because some royal apartments are only accessible to tour groups. And if you have a Paris Museum Pass, entrance to Versailles is included.
To get there catch the RER-C line train from Paris to Versailles Rive-Gauche which is the last station on the line. Go to any metro station and check the map for the connections you’ll need to make to reach the RER-C. From Versailles Rive-Gauche the palace is only a 5-10 minute walk. Other trains head to Versailles but the stations are further away. It’s zone 4 which is outside the Paris metro area so you’ll need to buy a separate ticket, which you can do at any station.
Another way to see Versailles is with our exclusive Viator VIP Access: Palace of Versailles Small-Group Tour with Private Viewing of the Royal Quarters!