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Versailles - how long should I plan to be there?

So my family and my brother's family are going on a trip over spring break, ending in Paris. We're only there two full days (arriving in the late afternoon on a Tuesday, they're leaving on Friday). We wanted to go to the Eiffel Tower the evening we got in, but weren't able to get tickets until Wednesday at 5pm.

Originally, we wanted to go to Versailles that day but I am really debating if we'd have enough time. The train will take around an hour and 15 minutes from where we're staying in the Marais, so if we get up early enough and get there at 9am I know we'd have plenty of time to see the palace and the gardens but I'm not sure we'd have time to see the Queen's Hamlet too before having to leave to get back to Paris (it's about 45 minutes to the Eiffel Tower from there, from the train schedules now, assuming they don't change, we'd need to be on one around 3:45). My husband and I went to Versailles on our honeymoon and the only thing we didn't see was the Queen's Hamlet and it's the main thing I want to see there.

Do you think it's enough time or should we push it off to the next day? I originally planned for my husband and I to take all the kids on Thursday (haven't decided where, maybe Jardin d'Acclimatation or the Catacombs or something) so my brother and his wife could have some time just the two of them. I suppose we could do that on Wednesday, but it wouldn't be the entire day since we'd have to be at Eiffel by probably 4:45.

Thoughts?

Posted by
2344 posts

With only two full days in Paris, I would not go to Versailles at all. Versailles is a full day, and it’s tiring even for adults. There are so many more enjoyable experiences in Paris for kids that won’t take as much time or energy, or require such a long attention span.

Posted by
4922 posts

Agree with travel4fun above. Save Versailles for another trip.

Posted by
101 posts

While I wouldn't mind skipping Versailles, it's pretty high on my brother's list (it was one of the only things he didn't see when he went a few years ago). I'm ok with going again because I think my son would enjoy it, and I realized I didn't make it super clear in the post but my brother's family is the one that only has two days - they have to leave a couple days before my family does. Everyone in the group gets to pick one thing they really want to see (in any of the places we're going), my brother's is Versailles, mine is Saint Chappelle, his daughters picked the Eiffel Tower, and my son's is some giant bronze thumb statue (don't ask, LOL).

But I will pass that on to my brother. I think it's still the main thing he wants to see there, though.

Posted by
331 posts

With only 2.5 days and a late afternoon timed entry, I would encourage your brother to skip Versailles. For my money, with a strict time constraint, that’s too much stress, too many variables with a group. Something as simple as a wrong turn out of the metro or a long line at the snack bar could throw off your whole plan.

That said, here’s my experience/advice for the 3/4 day trip you’re asking about. We’ve done Versailles from le Marais with 2 parents and one older teen. We left very, very early in the morning, arrived well before opening and after the palace we made a b-line to the Queen’s Hamlet (it’s a hike), ate lunch from a snack bar and were back to Paris by late afternoon. However, we were able to move quickly since this was in winter when the gardens were bare, the fountains were off and crowds were minimal. No time for a sit-down lunch, no dawdling. It’s not impossible, but the group will need to operate like a well-oiled machine.

Posted by
263 posts

Let your brother go to Versailles while you follow other plans. After all, he has been in Paris before. DO NOT skip Sainte-Chapelle, especially on a sunny day. Go with his daughters to the Eiffel tower for the sunset & tower lights. After they leave, you can go to Versailles if you have a spare time.

Posted by
3753 posts

If Versailles is your brother's one thing then you have to figure out a way to do it. That's kinda the point of having each person pick their one thing. Are all of you going to each other's one thing or are you willing to split up? I mean if splitting up is an option, you could take the children to the Eiffel Tower and to Le Pouce de Cesar while your brother goes to Versailles with his wife (Bam, that's their alone time). They could meet you at the Tower. Then you could do Versailles how you want to after they are gone. How old is your son? Mine is 17 and the last time we talked about returning to Paris (he has not been since 2019), he said the only thing that he plans to see again on this next trip is the thumb. If you all want to go to each other's thing then, do the thumb, Sainte Chappelle and the Eiffel Tower on Wednesday and Versailles on Thursday and skip taking the younger generation to the Jardin d'Acclimation or the Catacombs since neither of those are on anyone's must do list.

Posted by
2141 posts

Hi Kristi, yes, I think you can do Versailles according to your plan but I’d take an earlier train from Paris. There’s a Starbucks and McDonalds across from the train station where you can grab a coffee and get in line at the Palace. Be first in line when they open! Tour the Palace then head to the gardens and Hamlet. You’ll have plenty of time for a nice visit.

PS - we really enjoyed the catacombs! Another place where you’ll want to arrive early.

Posted by
7729 posts

Versailles is great and if you just to the palace, not the gardens, the tour is a 2.5-3 hours long. If you do the gardens, you can spend another couple of hours.

Posted by
838 posts

I got to Versailles for opening timeslot, 9 am; didn't leave until after 2 pm, that included a quick lunch at La Flotille. So it's a LONG day.

Posted by
2030 posts

i appreciate your brother's desire to see Versailles, but if there is one thing I would say is essential there is to take is slow -- and really enjoy their beauty -- particularly the Queen's Hamlet, the Trianons and the gardens. You can't, nor should you, rush through them.

Posted by
37 posts

We just visited Versailles this past week. We came from Normandy--had tickets for 12:30, but with the line didn't get in until about 1:00. It took about an hour to tour the palace (listening to the RS tour as we went). We had a quick lunch at Angelina's (the cafe part, not the sit-down lunch), and then took the mini train to the Queen's Hamlet. We quickly toured the Petit Trianon, and then walked to the Hamlet. The Hamlet buildings weren't open (I'm not sure if that was because of the time of year or not), but they were lovely to look at. We then rode the mini train back. We were finished about 5. Because it was February, the gardens weren't blooming and the fountains weren't on, so we didn't spend time at them. Hope that helps you decide if you can make it work!

Posted by
14580 posts

In a way your brother's desire to see Versailles is right given the historical significance of the site. I certainly can see that from that perspective. With only 2 full days for Paris, you have to weigh the priorities. Staying in Paris totally makes logical sense too.

I went to Versailles my first time in Paris but then I had 5 full days. If you do see Versailles, calculate on spending just about a day there.