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Versailles First-Timer Questions


My friend and I are traveling to Paris for a week at the end of July and would like spend a day at Versailles. We plan to purchase the museum pass in advance, which I believe includes palace entrance. We would also like to see the gardens and, if possible, fountains. A few questions:

  • Can one purchase garden/fountain entrance in advance? If so, where?
  • Which days do the fountains run? Are any of the shows worthwhile?

Any information is great appreciated. Thank you!

Posted by
2950 posts

Here's a link to the official website. You should be able to find answers to all your questions there. My one suggestion is to arrive as early as possible as tourists and groups increase as the morning grows late.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you! In case anybody else finds it helpful, most recommend purchasing the garden/fountain tickets there because one will have had to go through the palace at the point, so the lines are short.

Posted by
4535 posts

When the fountains are running, you do have to pay to enter the formal gardens; they are free otherwise. Lines are not long to enter the gardens on those days. Note that not all fountains run at once and they don't operate all day. So make sure of your schedule if there is a particular fountain you want to see running. Even not running, many are pretty amazing sculptures.

Also plan some time to enjoy a picnic along the Grand Canal or at least sit and enjoy watching people boating. You can rent bikes (first come first serve) or take a tram around the grounds. The Trianons are well worth a visit and would be major palaces by any other standard (except compared to the main chateau). And most people love the Hamlet.

Posted by
12 posts

If you get there in the morning, I would speed through the Chateau and get to the other buildings, then back track up to the Chateau. There is an Angelina there for don't have to sit in the restaurant, but can get some treats at the counter and head outside. Museum pass is the way to go. Enjoy all the little details.

Posted by
23 posts

We were there last Tuesday, a day with the fountain show. We didn't get there as early as we had planned, really wanted some more sleep. So it was around 10:30 when we got there and the line was HUGE to get into the Chateau.

However, my husband spotted a sign with an arrow towards the gardens ( towards the back left when you are there looking at it) and found that there is a little booth back there where you buy tickets for the gardens/fountain show. He bought the tickets with no wait at all and summoned me from where I was waiting back in the big line while he figured all this out.

We walked right into the gardens, saw the fountains, walked back to the Trianon/Hamlet/etc. and spent a few hours doing all that. Then, by the time we were ready to go into the palace, there was no line at all to get in.

I believe this is the advice RS gives in his book for a later arrival, but it wasn't clear from the book or upon arrival that the big line wasn't necessary to get back to the garden and the staff were not much help either (they just told everyone to get into the big line).