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first time in paris. Would like some advice about Versailles.

  1. How to go from Paris.
  2. How many areas to see. Castle, gardens, Hamlet etc. Are tickets required for each area. When is it closed.
  3. Are all covered by Museum pass. Are tickets required for a 6 yr old. Is the pass skip the line. If i arrive early by say 8:00 am is it better ?
  4. Where to eat.
Posted by
32050 posts


Regarding your questions.....

  1. The easiest method to travel from Paris is via the RER "C" train (destinaiton Versailles-Rive Gauche). You may have to travel part way via Metro to reach one of the RER stations, but that's very easy. The correct train for Versaille has "Vick" in the sign above the driver's window. When you reach the Versailles station, follow the herd down the stairs, turn right for a block or so and then left. When you round the corner, you'll be able to see the Chateau.
  2. What to see is up to you. The majority of visitors want to see the Chateau, which is why it's usually crowded (DON'T visit on a Tuesday!). The gardens are definitely worth seeing but they're LARGE so there will be a limit on how much you can see. If you're worn out by the time you get to the far end by the lake, there's a small train that will bring you back to the Chateau. Tickets or a Museum Pass are required for entry to the Chateau. I found that the Pass wasn't accepted for the gardens, but a ticket is only about €6 so not a big deal.
  3. The Museum Pass will allow you to skip the ticket purchase line but it won't help at all with the entrance line. Even with a Pass, if you arrive at a busy time you could easily wait 90 minutes for entry to the Chateau (I can tell you that from experience). I don't know what the rules are for a 6 year old. Yes, arriving early should help.
  4. There are lots of choices for dining, including restaurants in the town close to the rail station. I can't remember if there's a restaurant in the Chateau, but about half way to the lake there's a small take-out joint that has sandwiches, soft drinks, coffee, etc. If you go right to the lake where the boats are, there's a larger "sit-down" restaurant located there.

For a visit to Paris, I would highly recommend packing along a copy of the *RS Paris or Pocket Paris guidebooks. They have an enormous amount of good information such as which days various Museums and other attractions are closed, ways to beat the queues, etc.

Posted by
15446 posts

Just to add to Ken's info - the gardens are included in the pass except on the days there is a fountain show or musical gardens. Fountain shows are on the weekends from about April to October. They and musical gardens are also on some Tuesdays. If you're there on one of those days, those parts of the gardens will need a separate ticket and Versailles will be more crowded. My guess is that Ken was there on a Tuesday.

Taking the RER C is usually preferred, but it may not be the most convenient depending on where you are staying in Paris.

The official website has lots of information in English. Start here. Many people like the Petit Trianon and the hamlet as much as the chateau. There's a lot of walking to get there and back, especially with a child. Take advantage of the train - it will be worth the cost.

Posted by
17 posts

A tip on when to arrive... we arrived on a Thursday (yesterday) at 1:30 pm and only waited in line for 30 minutes for a ticket (the automated ticket machines are not working). My boyfriend has been twice before with a morning arrival and the lines were extremely long.

Posted by
36 posts

Dear Chani and Erin,

Thanks so much. I will be travelling from Arr 1 near Louvre. So will take metro to nearest connection to RER C. Will go possibly on Thursday or Friday next. Maybe I will try the afternoon slot.


Posted by
2011 posts

Hi, we were there on Thurs May 21, beginning of the holiday weekend when the website suggested that we postpone our visit due to heavy crowds... Pre-purchased the Paris Museum Pass. Got to Versailles at 7:45, had coffee, and in line at 8:30. About 10 people ahead of us. It opened at 9 and we had the palace to ourselves for the first 45 min. Good luck!

Posted by
32050 posts


"My guess is that Ken was there on a Tuesday."

Absolutely correct! That's the only day I had, so I had to tolerate the crowds and the heat. I did have some entertainment though while waiting in the queue to enter the Chateau.....

  • To begin with, I had an interesting chat with the young couple in front of me, who were from the middle east. I don't often meet people from that part of the world, so that was really interesting for me.
  • Secondly, I watched the police roust one of the scammers who was selling cheap trinkets to people in the queue. He dropped his wares on the ground and took off running at full speed, with three or four police officers in pursuit. He was obviously in better shape, as he eluded capture. However the police confiscated his merchandise, and when I left at the end of my visit, I noticed they were handing out some of his items to children from the back of a police car.
Posted by
3 posts

I don't want to discourage you from going, but a 6-year-old is about elbow height to the large crowds. My 11-year-old and 13-year-old were not fond of the Chateau for this reason, but they the walk down to the lake and exploring around the Trianon as well. I won't make any generalizations, but there were certain visitors that do not wait patiently to see what they want to see.

We bought a picnic at the Monoprix that is clearly marked on the map in the RS Paris guidebook of Versailles. Lunch for the four of us was about $15 (just checked my CC bill). I can't believe you can eat as cheaply anywhere else on the grounds.