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Versailles logistics questions

Hello,

I have appreciated the help and advise on this forum! I ended up buying timed tickets to Versailles for our trip (which consists of two kids, almost 11 and 8 years old) and I picked the early time of 9 am. In hindsight, I am not sure if that was the best thing to do (maybe I should have picked an afternoon time?), but at the time, I was thinking it might be good to do the palace early so that it hopefully maybe won't be as filled to the brim with people inside.

I was curious about some logistics. The thought in my head was that we'd go straight to the palace first and then explore the gardens and fountains (I initially thought we'd go on a non-fountain day, but the day we're going happens to be one of the handful of Thursdays that they are also running). When we get there with timed tickets, how does the security line work? Does everyone go through the same security line and then you go to the different entrance doors with timed tickets? How early should we try to get there with a 9 am ticket time?

After the gardens, I wondered if it would be possible to go into town for lunch or to pick up picnic supplies and then go back to explore the Trianon. Would this be a good idea or would it end up being too much walking to leave the grounds of Versailles and come back again? I think it would be nice to rent bikes after the gardens to get to the Trianon area. If we did go into town for lunch, would there be an opportunity to rent bikes in town to ride back to the grounds? Or, would it just be better and easier to plan to stay on the grounds and grab food at one of the vendors there and rent bikes there, if available?

I also had a question about the train tickets to get to and from Versailles. Could we buy those tickets the night before? Are these tickets just for any time and any day or are they time and day specific? Thanks again for the help!

Posted by
5791 posts

Lisa, If you are interested in purchasing a pass which might make things easier, you should compare the pass products. There is a Paris MUSEUM pass and a Paris Pass. It does sound like you have already purchased the Versailles tickets which are included in the passes. I always purchase the Paris MUSEUM Pass. I have found it to be worthwhile in terms of price and convenience and it does allow one to just peak into a museum to determine if it might be worth the time or even to use a restroom. Not to say there aren't people that felt the Paris Pass was worthwhile, but I priced it out, and others have said the same on the forum, but it seems to be over priced for most scenarios.

I do believe we purchased the train tickets the night before. They were not timed. I think if you have already spent a morning walking around Versailles/gardens, the walk to town might just add to the sore feet. We brought in picnic supplies to Versailles. Not sure if they where explicitly permitted, but there was no issue. We went on a fountain day as well. Security lines were LONG. We used are Paris Museum Pass for admission. There was an additional charge for the gardens since the fountains were running. I actually found all that annoying. Most run for only a short time so we were running around from fountain to fountain to see them. It was inefficient. We did go into the palace first. We arrived just a bit before opening. I recall that we wished we had gotten there at least a half hour earlier so the lines were already building. I occasionally looked at the window and the gardens did not appear busy at all, but it was misty so perhaps more folks did the palace first. It cleared up. The gardens never did feel overly busy. It did seem like the security line for the palace was long all day. I really liked the Trianon and people were picnicking there. I don't recall seeing bikes in the Versailles gardens or Trianon. They did have golf carts available for rent. We really enjoyed the Versailles gardens, it was our favorite part.

Posted by
5791 posts

P.S., I'm not sure a timed pass was available when I went to Versailles, but from the sound of it, I think it may be in your favor. I wonder if there is an attempt to get you ahead in the security line to make sure you get in at 9. That would be a great detail that perhaps another forum member can address.

Posted by
34 posts

Thanks for the info! Yes, I ended up already buying the timed tickets, because I felt a little stressed about the lines, ha ha. (I think we will still purchase a Museum Pass, though, which I know makes me inefficient cost-wise to buy both the pass and the timed tickets to Versailles.) The Versailles website says: "This ticket gives access to the whole Estate and guarantees access to the Palace within half an hour of the selected time." And then it says: "Access to the priority line at the entrance A of the Palace is guaranteed only within half an hour of the selected time." But it isn't clear to me how this works with security and if there are separate security lines for people with timed tickets or if we still need to get there really early to clear security to get to the priority door in time for our ticket reservation?

It sounds like you recommend bringing in picnic supplies first thing, rather than going back into town, which makes sense, thanks! I thought I had read somewhere that food and drink are not allowed inside the palace, so I am wondering if I could bring a separate bag with lunch items and check it in bag check to pick up after we tour the palace. Has anyone done that and is it pretty easy and self-explanatory?

Posted by
5791 posts

If I'm unclear about lines/security/etc., I put my family in the line that seems to make the most sense and then go to the front and ask an employee what to do. It sounds like your tickets get you into a priority security line, but ask before waiting in any line. Our food would have been in the bottom of my husband's backpack (he carries photography equipment) I don't know if there was a bag check because he wouldn't ever use one (camera stuff). Like I said, I saw other picnickers. I want to say that one had a bottle of wine which is hard to sneak in! Another option would be to just carry some granola bars as a snack and have a late lunch after Versailles. I believe I had some Versailles question and I sent them an email which was responded to.

Posted by
186 posts

The gardens are massive--8 and 11 year old legs will get tired, I think. I would recommend wandering around the gardens a bit after the Palace so the kids can have some fun, then buy your lunch at Angelina's on the grounds and eat outdoors. You can then decide if the kids prefer to wander on foot or if you should rent something mobile to see the rest. Seeing the Palace first with kids that age is the smart thing to do, because they will have the outdoors to look forward to after having to behave in the museum. The train tickets to Versailles are just train tickets that you buy at the station; no need to prepurchase. There is a McDonald's (along with a few other places) across the street from the Versailles station if the kids want to "compare" it for a snack on the way home.

Posted by
11507 posts

Ok,, first lets clarify.. Paris Museum pass is usually a good value.. Paris Pass is NOT.

The storing of food in the cloakroom at Versailles.. .. THEY WILL NOT STORE FOOD. .. ( sure a granola bar in your bag youll get away with.. but not lunch )

So.. solution is either eat lunch in gardens ( there is a sandwich kiosk.. not unreasonable.. buy a sandwich / ice cream whatever.. and go eat it where you wish ( on grounds ,, but not in the formal section of the gardens) .. there are benches all around. Or buy food at cafeteria , one inside palace ( I wouldn't ) and one down by head of canal ( likely not cheap). Or.. walk into town and eat at a little place in town.. its like a 10 minute walk ,, if that..

Posted by
34 posts

Thanks for the info! We will not bring food and either eat food there on the grounds or in town if people feel up to it. If I can ask one more question, when people have gone to Versailles, does the main security take place outside the main entrance gate and then from there you walk over to the Dufour pavilion?