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Here between the walls of Versailles, lies a fascinating history.

Château de Versailles, a French masterpiece that’s a must-visit for history buffs and culture seekers.

This opulent palace-turned-museum in Versailles, just a stone’s throw from Paris, oozes royal charm. Get ready to step back in time and wander through ornate halls, lush gardens, and the Hall of Mirrors. A regal escape that’ll transport you to the grandeur of the past.  One thing is for sure:  Versailles in France is well worth a visit.

versailles palace

A bit of history

They say it is questionable whether the future Louis XIV remembered his first encounter with Versailles in France at the age of three during October 1641, when his father Louis XIII sent him and his brother to Versailles to flee an epidemic of smallpox.  In 1651 he returned taking a “hunting group” to the chateau.

I’ve read about moments in history during which the chateau was abandoned although in 1919 it again became the center of attention with the signing of the peace treaty.

According to their website; “In 1924, everything changed for the Palace of Versailles. The billionaire and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. falls in love with this threatening ruin castle, and offers financial assistance to the French State, for the restoration of the national heritage (Reims, Versailles and Fontainebleau).”

Unknowingly, Rockefeller took the first steps towards a philanthropic tradition that still continues in Versailles today.

After a terrible storm in 1999 as well as a previous hurricane, the gardens needed to be restored.  Obviously the Chateau itself required extensive restorations.

Versailles France
Versailles Today

Today it is back in all its splendor and open for tours to the public and a large number of shows are now offered at the Royal Chapel , the Royal Opera and the Equestrian Academy of Versailles.

 

Planning and going on a visit to Versailles in France

Undoubtedly, it is the real life experience of this grandeur palace that takes your breath away. 

With magical and musical gardens all around it is so difficult to decide when to do what.  Fortunately their website is very helpful and within minutes you can put together your own itinerary to ensure you get to see everything.  I would recommend that you do everything you can possibly fit in.

However, there are quite a lot of “rules and regulations” on the entrance fees and what it includes, so best to check with the website and ticket office regularly to get the most up-to-date info.

versailles garden

We recommend

In my opinion, it is advisable to do a guided tour and then give yourself enough time to just stroll through the gardens.  You need to give yourself at least one full day, just an hour or two will definitely not do.  Especially because guided tours also gives you access to areas that are otherwise closed to the public. 

Travel Tip:  You can download the mobile app via Google Play or the App Store with all the audio guides and information before you go. (The audio tours are available in 12 different languages.)  Furthermore the app will also show you where you can find “Charging stations” on the Estate.

Musical Fountain Shows

Usually from June to November you can explore the display of fountains which is set to the rhythm of musical masterpieces:

  • The four seasons fountains, Fountains of the fight of the animals, Dragon fountain, Neptune fountain, Latona’s fountain as well as Apollo’s fountain.

Furthermore there are the ‘groves’ with their water features, of which I think the Ballroom grove is the most spectacular.  

  • Queen’s grove
  • Ballroom grove (Designed as a garden amphitheater.)
  • Girandole grove
  • Colonnade grove
  • Chestnut grove
  • Grove of the domes
  • Enceladus grove
  • Obelisk grove
  • Apollo’s baths grove
  • Star grove
  • Water theater grove
  • Grove of the three fountains
  • Triumphal arch grove

Must see places at Château de Versailles | places you must see

The Orangery  Parterre – My favorite

In spring the magical garden comes to life as more than 1055 trees are transported out to the gardens (The Orangery Parterre).  The trees are all housed in the Orangery during winter to protect them from frost and snow. They move the big wooden boxes filled with orange trees from Portugal, Spain and Italy,  by forklift to their precise position in the garden.  Also trees like Oleander, Palm, Pomegranate and Eugenia bushes, some more than 200 years old.  To me the design of the garden is spectacular and seen from above it makes a perfect picture. In my opinion this is definitely a must-see as it covers more than 3 hectares.

Fountains by night

During summer you can also attend the “Night Fountains Shows”.  I think this is truly spectacular.  We do recommend that you buy your tickets in advance online.

mirror room

Hall of mirrors

Certainly the most impressive thing when you enter, is the “Hall of mirrors” (Galerie des Glaces).  This very grand Baroque style gallery and the adjoining salons were intended to illustrate the power of Louis XIV.

Clearly, having three hundred and fifty-seven mirrors, it will give any event a special flair of glamour. This room was used as a setting for grand ceremonies, weddings and diplomatic receptions.  With this in mind make sure you don’t miss it on your tour.

It makes for beautiful photo opportunities catching the light dancing off countless mirrors and crystal chandeliers.

Each corner of this royal masterpiece holds a visual delight waiting to be captured.

versailles trianon

Travel Tip:  Don’t forget

  • Don’t forget to download the Palace’s app for free to find your way around the estate.  This gives you access the audio guides of the gardens directly on your smartphone.   The interactive map of the estate can be used without internet access.
  • Timing of the various water displays may change due to weather. Therefore we recommend that you check their website regularly for any updates.
  • I think it is best to buy your tickets online – in order to skip the queues which can be very long.
  • They do allow you to photograph without a flash in the Palace rooms.
  • You may not use selfie sticks.
  • Certain items are also prohibited in the Palace, eg. Large bags, suitcases, rucksacks, umbrellas, pushchairs, baby carriers with metal frames, sharp objects etc.) However there is a “luggage desk” where you can leave these items, but be prepared.
  • I would recommend comfortable shoes for walking and taking a jacket with you (even in summer).

In conclusion, the Chateau Versailles in France is spectacular and definitely worth a visit even if you only have a few hours.  Furthermore, should you be looking to include a garden tour of France, do read our article on gardens you simply must visit in France.

Where to stay

Waldorf Astoria Versailles - Trianon Palace

Located opposite the Chateau de Versailles, this unique 5-star hotel features a Gordon Ramsay restaurant and guests have free access to the spa area and fitness room. The hotel is situated just 30 minutes from Paris.

Le Louis Versailles Château - MGallery

Le Louis Versailles Château - MGallery is less than a 5-minute walk from the Château de Versailles

Hôtel Le Versailles

Set in the centre of Versailles, Hôtel Le Versailles is a 1-minute walk from the Palace of Versailles. According to booking.com "Families particularly like the location — they rated it 9.6 for a stay with kids."

Stay near the Palace of Versailles

Browse the available options on booking.com