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Realistic Plan For Visiting Vesailles

So, let's discuss a realistic plan for visiting Versailles ...

Clearly, choosing the day of the week is supposed to result in there being slightly less crowds - they say ..

Our plan will be a Thursday and we will be there in mid-October - sure that makes no difference..

The temptation is to purchase a Passport Ticker and try to see everything... probably not realistic.
RS suggests you visit the Queen's Hamlet first and then wend your way back to the gardens and the chateau later in the day - after the tour buses have left - seems to be a good plan - however, once you arrive at the chateau and have stood in the security line - for who knows how long -- how much time do you really have to follow RS's plan.

Just interested in hearing your experiences ..
Many thanks...

Posted by
168 posts

In 2019, we went later in the day. I don't remember the exact time, but we had an early lunch near the train station and then went. Hardly any line at security. We first took the trolley bus back to the Queen's Hamlet and worked our way back. We did the Hall of Mirrors at the end of the day and almost had it to ourselves. I think the Palace closed at 6 or 7 and the gardens were a bit later. We were probably there 5-6 hours. Not enough to see everything, but enough for us.

Posted by
195 posts

I read that it can be tricky to use your credit card to buy tickets at the machines ...

We will make sure to have euros - just in case -- my question is - do you need exact change...?

Posted by
168 posts

Found my post here from 2019.

"We arrived around noon. It was a beautiful sunny day. Walked straight onto the grounds. Did Grand Trianon area first. Had lunch. Saw the gardens. Arrived at the chateau around 3:15. Walked right in. There was not one single person in line. Took our time in the Chateau. Even the Hall of Mirrors wasn’t that crowded. I had read so much about the awful crowds we almost didn’t go. So glad we did!"

Posted by
195 posts

I feel so much better after reading your plan..

I was really thinking that we wouldn't go -- because of the crowds -- but your plan has helped me to make my decision.

How did you purchase your tickets to Versailles?

Posted by
8238 posts

Get a timed ticket which means you don't wait in a long line.

I'd chose a fountain day since the gardens are not much worth visiting when the fountains are still. The Hameau may be worth a visit but the Trianon really doesn't add anything -- and the Chateau is IMHO plenty of gilded rooms for a visit.

Posted by
195 posts

I am surmising from your comments - that you were not overly impressed with your experience at Versailles … so much gold reminds me of my visit to The Breakers in Newport, RI - so over the top - liked Marble House much better …

Posted by
14285 posts

I don't wish to denigrate anyone's experience but I'm not sure a pre-covid experience will be the same as it is now whether it's someone posting here OR in Rick's books. Will there be mobs of tour buses back this year? Many of them pre-pandemic were the Asian tourist contingent and I'm not sure whether that tourist trail has started up again so timing things to avoid tourist buses that may or may not be there is not useful in my view.

With the advent of timed entry things may be easier and it looks like to me the timed entry is for the Palace. You wouldn't need a timed entry to the gardens as they are so big and spread out. Last October it was certainly easier to get into the Orsay Museum. The Louvre was some better with timed entry but things clog up there because they don't have enough security scanners in the Pyramide area (says the person with NO experience in crowd management!).

I think it might matter that you are going on a Thursday in mid-October. Who knows what the pandemic situation will be then. I would not purchase anything real far ahead. Keep an eye on the timed ticket calendar over the summer and in to the fall and see how far out things are being booked for. It may be that you might not need to book more than a week or two out.

Here is a link to the leaflet on the Trianons. I like that area best including the Hamlet because it's more rustic than formal and that holds more appeal to me. I'm an outdoors person (NO idea why I love Paris so much, lol) and this is comfort to me.

https://en.chateauversailles.fr/sites/default/files/trianon_brochure_en_jan-2020-planche_bd.pdf

Posted by
195 posts

Thank you for your honest feedback.

I have certainly taken into consideration that post covid is going to result in a dramatic increase of tourists -- flocking back to Paris.
On all fronts - Louvre, Saint Chapeille, Eiffel Tower, etc. etc. etc....

I chose October - thinking perhaps - that the traditional intensity of tourist crowds -- will be somewhat reduced..

And, yes, it is a matter of tracking everything to see how soon things book up..

Honestly, sometimes - I wonder if this is all worth it ...

I guess time will tell...

Posted by
14285 posts

Well, yes, to me it's worth it but you are right..you do have to keep track of a LOT!

I am not sure October will be crazy busy. I'm going in April and many people on the forum will visit before your trip so surely some of them will have gone to Versailles and will report back!

I guess my major point is not to jump the gun and purchase entry times right now or spend too much energy trying to work out a plan to avoid crowds...wait and see how things unfold over the next 7 months. If the huge tour buses are not back this year I'd say the timed entry will take care of any issues.

Posted by
14285 posts

We'll know that by mid-summer if they are back in force and then you can adjust your plan.

Posted by
195 posts

I will continue to track info on this forum - we are planning to travel in October of 2023 - daughter finished with grad school by then - if Versailles is overrun by that point with tourist buses and the like - we will consider another plan..

Posted by
14285 posts

Oh, I missed that this trip was Oct 2023! Yes, watch and see how things go this summer. Read Trip Reports as they come in. The Best of Paris tour visits Versailles and others will have visited on their own.

The big bus tour contingent may be back in the mix in 2023, hard to know at this time.

Posted by
1379 posts

Back in early April 2014 we visited Versailles on a Wednesday morning. Took the train from Paris, walked over to the complex, and then walked right in. We explored the palace and part of the gardens in about 3 hours. Crowds did build but we got in easily by going early.

Posted by
195 posts

I have read that the best plan is early or later - in our case - I suspect it will be later..

Thanks for sharing your experience with me!

Posted by
38 posts

We just got back from our trip and had an AMAZING time at Versailles! We booked our tour through Boutique Bike Tours. They suggested Tuesday was the best day because of the amazing market that is right in town. They picked us up at the train station at 9 am and traveled by RER for about 20 minutes into town. We picked up bikes and rode right up to the gates. No lines, hardly anyone there at all in the early morning... I don't know if maybe everyone read's Rick's advice to go late in the day maybe? We went through the palace and there were maybe two school trips going on but that was just about it! We picked the bikes back up and rode them into town where we got to explore the absolutely adorable market and got all of our yummy food to take on a picnic back on the lawns. Honestly, a bike is the best way to see Versailles, the grounds are so huge and you miss out on so much when you only see the inside. We enjoyed our picnic then rode over to Marie Antoinette's Little Hamlet which was adorable. Stopped and grabbed a hot chocolate there as well to warm up (paying way too much for Angelina's but what can I say, it's fabulous). Popped back on the train and we were home before dinner! Absolutely can't recommend it enough. The tour was great but also the town is really wonderful so go on a Tuesday so you can plan a picnic.

https://www.boutiquebiketours.com/versailles-bike-tour/