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Versailles Help

Hi, I have read quite a bit of the other questions/forums on Versailles and spent hours looking at the official website and other reviews. I still have questions!!!

Basically we are down to picking a private guided tour that is expensive, but all the hassle is gone or doing it ourselves.

We are four middle aged women and one of us can't walk but perhaps 3 to 4 miles per day.

So, this is our plan:
Get there about 9 and head straight for the gardens (we are going on the weekend so we will get a ticket online for the gardens due to the music shows). From everything I have read there is no security to go to the gardens. We are going to enter at Cour De Prince entrance.

With security changing all the time, is there security now to get into the gardens?

We want to get an electric vehicle when they open at 10.
Is there a line at that point for them?

Use the cart for a couple of hours.

I understand they only go on certain paths - yes?
If we want to stop to walk where the cart can't go - can we just leave the cart for like 10 minutes and come back to it?
If we decide to keep the cart for a longer period is there a limit on how long you can have it?

Lunch on the grounds. I know there are places to grab food or sit down places.

But if we enter the gardens first, can we bring outside food?

I booked a guided tour through Viator at 1:30 as I couldn't get the official guided tour through the official website (booked too late). I am assuming this guided skip the line tour might allow us to reduce the security line a bit. (fingers crossed) Plus it gets us to the King's Apartment. The tour is 75 minutes and includes the entrance ticket.

Can you walk the chateaux on your own after a tour - or is it (as I have seen) one way and you can't linger or go back?

We are either going on a Saturday or Sunday in July. (I know super busy). I have heard Saturday is better, but Sunday works better for our itinerary. But we could switch it up if really a big difference.

Is there a huge difference between Saturday and Sunday in July?

After the tour, since I don't think we will have time ahead of time, go to Trianon.

I am assuming at like 3 or 3:30 there will be no electric carts available, so how long a walk to Trianon is it from the Palace?
How convenient is it to use the tram? I heard it is long?

I know lots of questions, but I really can't seem to find the answers anywhere. Thanks for the help.

Posted by
3122 posts

This seems like a situation where it would be worth paying the Rick Steves organization to answer your questions. You're trying to nail down a lot of details -- and I don't blame you, but readers of this forum are unlikely to have all the answers. Even if you succeed in getting answers piecemeal, they may not "gel" to really guide you on what to do and when. I'm not affiliated with Rick Steves, but I do recommend this.

I will say that Versailles on a summer weekend is going to be mobbed. All four of you need to accept that going in. There will be delays and frustrations with other tourists being rude. It simply goes with the territory.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks. I agree, I probably asked too many questions. I am a good planner/researcher and such and it is remarkable I just can't find the answers. One that I can't seem to find. Do the fountains at Versailles run at all on non-musical fountain days?

Thanks again

Posted by
2 posts

I can't help too much, but here's what I have:

I went on a Saturday in July last year. I was in line at about 8:30 I think (took the RER-C from Gare d'Austerlitz), and the wait wasn't too terrible. By happy accident, I skipped the first exhibit in the palace and therefore the apartments were not as horribly crowded as the nightmare scenarios I've read about on these boards!

I don't know for sure about the security for the gardens, but I don't remember having to go through anything. I don't know about the entrance you mention as I went from the palace. I did, however, have to pay since it was a fountain day. From what I read on TripAdvisor, I think you can bring outside food. I don't believe the fountains run during the week in July.

I walked to Trianon and it was a pretty long walk - 15 or 20 minutes as I recall - but Trianon might have been my favorite part of the visit as it was much less crowded and fun to explore. The flowers were lovely.

Hope you have a great time!

Posted by
4535 posts

I'll try to answer what I can.

There is no security to enter the gardens. Most days they are free and large parts are always free (it's pretty much a public park). On "fountain days", there is a checkpoint and entry fee for the formal gardens. They do give you a stamp or wrist band so you can come and go.

The cart rental is unlikely to be mobbed at opening time.

I believe carts have a key and you can come and go as you please. They whole point is to allow people to go out to the Trianons and Hamlet and visit them. Carts are not allowed in the formal gardens, which are where all the fountains are.

Yes you can bring food into the gardens. A favorite thing of tourists and locals is to picnic down by the Grand Canal. They will not let you sit and eat on the edge of fountains in the formal garden.

Saturday and Sunday both will be very busy. Getting there first thing is the plan. If you have a guided tour of the palace itself, the time of day doesn't matter all that much.

Don't underestimate the amount of walking and standing required to visit Versailles. I don't want to discourage you, but you need to be fully aware if members of your group have mobility issues. It is a long walk just from the train station to the front of the palace. Touring the palace requires walking and standing and climbing stairs. The formal gardens are huge and walking only. The cart rental/tram is down by the Grand Canal, downhill and a decent walk from the back of the palace. And you have to return back to Paris.

Posted by
1625 posts

Just be aware the carts are not free, I think it was 30€ an hour (someone correct me if I am wrong) and you can have it as long as you want or can afford. Some things you may just need to pay by ear, you may have had your fill of the place after the tour or be tired and just decide to end it there. Just getting there is the train ride, the walk from the train to the Palace then your cart tour, then your walking tour..sounds like a long day right there.