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Versailles for dummies- please help

Okay, I've been on the website and read all the stuff, but still confused. If anyone is inclined to help, I need Versailles for dummies because I just can't wrap my head around it. We are a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 teens under 18, so free?) traveling from the Eiffel Tower area, going on our own. I chose a day with the musical fountains (Tuesday), as we want to see them. We have the Paris Museum Pass for the 2 adults. Now, I want to book my timeslot for entry. What exactly is covered with the museum pass and what do I need to additionally pay for? I'm a bit confused and don't want to choose the wrong thing, especially if it is covered by the museum pass. It is my understanding that I have to pay additional for the musical fountains and that the museum pass covers entry to Versaille and Trion Castles only. Am I correct here? If so, how do I do that on the Versaille booking page? I apologize for my ignorance. I'm a newbie who doesn't want to get it wrong.
Additionally, we want to rent bikes there and picnic. Any seperate advice on this is alos appreciated. Thank you so much!!!

Posted by
75 posts

Hi, Kath! I'm no Versailles expert, but my understanding is that you are correct that the PMP covers the Chateau and Trianon only.

I found this in the FAQ regarding the gardens:

On Musical Fountains Show and Muscial Gardens days, admission is only free for children under 6 years old.

I agree that it's very confusing once you actually try to go and buy tickets/book a time for PMP-holders, but it appears that you can go to this part of the site, and about half-way down the page buy tickets to the musical fountains show as a standalone thing.
The Musical Fountains Show ticket : at the price of €10.50 for the full rate and €9 for those benefiting from the reduced rate (pre-sale rates only). To access to the Gardens only, book a Musical Fountains Show ticket.

So I think you need free timed entry for everyone (2 PMP-holders, 2 teens with free entry) and then 4 tickets to the gardens @€10.50 each.
I hope that helps!

Posted by
75 posts

Update: I went through to try to set up my own tickets in June, and found this for the Musical Fountain Shows:
ON-SITE TICKET: 10€ full price / 9€ reduced price.


  • 6–17-year-olds
  • students with a valid student card (only proof
  • families with a valid family card (only proof accepted)
  • holders of a valid disability card with an accompanying person (only proof accepted)

So, your teens can get the reduced price ticket and the full price is 10 rather than 10.50. I also found that the musical gardens tickets seem to be totally separate from the other tickets, but I didn't create an account yet so it may be that they eventually all get to the same cart with the free ones when I check out.

Posted by
124 posts

Thank you. I think I kind of understand it now. For those who have gone, would it be best to do the gardens first? A few other questions...if there is a strike and it closes, I assume I get my money back? Is that correct? Last question, has anyone rented bikes? Wondering how the experience is. This group is so helpful. Thank you!!

Posted by
3643 posts

Don't Rick, Fodors and Frommers cover this in minute detail? It's only one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.

Also note that it's been closed the past few days.

Posted by
46 posts

Thank you for asking this. We are poring over the web site and through the Versailles chapter of Rick Steve's book, and it is really confusing. The web site has two different ticket prices and it's not clear at all which one we need to buy--you'd think they'd just automatically adjust the price to what it needs to be for that day.

Posted by
75 posts

..if there is a strike and it closes, I assume I get my money back? Is that correct?

Of course this is a bit different, but my experience in cancelling our June 2020 trip during the pandemic was that even non-refundable things were promptly refunded or, in the case of Lascaux IV, I was given the options of credit, refund, or donation to the foundation, which I chose.

If you're getting the PMP, for Versailles you're talking about ~40 Euros for the gardens that you might lose--not nothing, of course, but in comparison to the thousands of dollars you're no doubt spending on flights/transportation/hotels, a small percentage.

Posted by
124 posts

Travel light, this is why I'm asking, the book and the site are very confusing. Now I'm trying to figure out a time. Also wondering what happens if you miss your scheduled time. It also appears that I need to make separate "purchases" for the scheduled time and the fountains. So many questions...

Posted by
119 posts

According to their official website; 'Musical Fountains Show' are available for these days/dates (and some additional specific dates) only. If you plan to visit on a Tuesday for the musical fountains show; you will want to make sure it's on the correct Tuesday & date.

  • Every Saturday and Sunday from April 1st to October 29th 2023.
  • Every Tuesday from May 2nd to June 27th 2023.
  • Friday April 7th, Monday April 10th, Monday May 8th, Ascension Thursday the May 18th, Monday May 29th, Friday July 14th, and Tuesday August 15th.


'Musical Garden' days (just music; no fountains show) are on these days/dates in 2023:

  • Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from April 4th to 28th 2023 (except Friday April 7th, day of the Musical Fountains Shows).
  • Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from May 3rd to June 30th 2023 (except Thursday May 18th, day of the Musical Fountains Shows).
  • Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from Friday July 4th to Tuesday October 31st 2023 (except Friday July 14th and Tuesday August 15th, days of the Musical Fountains Shows).

I think these schedules are messy and chaotic; they should simplify it for visitor's sanity :)

Posted by
124 posts

Mindfullness, thank you. It is confusing, but I think I got it now. Though it does seem I need to order tickets separately for the gardens, as I don't see an option to add it when I put in my timed ticket with museum pass.

Posted by
61 posts

Traveling and planning schedules before actually "on the ground" is always challenging. Pre-purchasing via internet (especially European Museums/attractions is always recommended) --no queuing for tix as it wastes valuable hours. Yes, pre-purchase involves risks of closings/no show/transport/time problems. But worrying about refunds before travel is unnecessary.

Personally for my travel I've spent some Euros in situations for which I've received no value--got admitted free, attraction closed, spent more than was necessary as situation changed, couldn't fit in schedule due to distance. My rule as someone 1) who loves Europe, 2) is anticipating my 14th trip, and, more importantly, 3) is only old once: if I can't afford to go I wouldn't. Refunds of a few invested Euros is never my concern.
(I left our RS Versailles Best of Paris side trip early. Even tho I have taught European history for decades, I am uninpressed by castles or palaces unless they contain my most-appreciated Renaissance or other Art. Hall of Mirrors, yes, then so-so for me. Time to train back to the Louve.) ab

Posted by
7386 posts

FWIW -- it is easy to get tickets for the musical fountains on the day and the line for that is short. If you are nervous just wait and book if the weather is right and you want to do it. Get reserved slots for entry for the Chateau. And note that the fountains run for a limited time in the morning and again in the afternoon, so perhaps do them early and book the Chateau for mid day. You can re-enter the gardens so long as you use a different entry gate for the separate entry.

Posted by
124 posts

Thank you! I just booked the timed slots. So if I wait to get the musical gardens ticket until that day, I don't run the risk of them being sold out? Do they sell out? I think I would prefer to get them on that day, but don't want to risk not being able to get in.