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Versailles Questions

Visiting for the first time during the first week of August. We plan to attend on Tuesday. My understanding is the fountains are on Tuesdays. I’m planning to purchase the passport with timed entry.

My husband is not an early riser so I figure we’re not going to arrive until probably 11am’ish. I also wanted to have a chance to go through the market (not for long). Seeing on how we wouldn’t arrive to to the gate till about noon:

  1. Am I better off starting with the trianon, then the palace, and then the gardens?
  2. I understand the fountain show starts at 3:30 so if I do things in the above order, will I have enough time to do the trianon and palace before the show? Really only interested in a couple of places in the palace like the hall of mirrors and the chapel.
  3. We wanted to bike through the gardens. Where do we rent them and do I need to reserve them ahead of time? I’m hestitant to be locked into a time.
  4. If we go with the above option, do I still enter through the main gate or is there a different entry?
  5. How much time should I plan to spend going through security… I assume this is the only line I need to stand in if I have timed entry?

Please let me know if there’s anything else to consider.

Thanks!

Posted by
8 posts

Hi Kathleen. Thanks.

This was on the Versailles palace website? I read they had a little trolly/train in the gardens, so not sure what else one would hop on and off of unless the tour you mention is of the town and not the palace itself.

Posted by
25598 posts

the grounds are huge, with building far from the actual palace

Posted by
1086 posts

We did the Kings Apartment tour to skip the long lines, then we went to the Gardens and spent about three hours there and we rented a golf cart, had a bite to eat then headed inside the Palace. This made for a nice slow paced day and gave us time to stop and see what we wanted. We hate being rushed.
I would say if you get there at noonish, do the gardens first and a nice non-rushed pace, with plenty of time to get to the fountains by 3:30, then do the Palace. Somewhere between the Gardens and the palace you can visit The Trianon.

Posted by
4863 posts

It’s been years since we were last there, and my husband’s also not an early riser. We didn’t even go inside the palace, but after strolling a bit of the gardens out back, were able to walk right up to the bike rental behind the palace and get bikes on the spot.

It was delightful riding out to Hameau de la Reine, the fairytale play village built for Marie Antoinette. If you have the time with the other parts you want to see, it was worth the time and effort to pedal, and completely get away from the rest of the crowd.

Posted by
2127 posts

Just a quick comment on the market (marché notre Dame): it is really worth seeing, even for just a quick stroll. It is large and quite impressive.

To see it, it will be most convenient to take a train to Versailles Rive Droite (either from Gare Saint Lazare or from La Défense). The RER C to Versailles Chateau is closed until 21st August anyway (beware!!!)

Posted by
15 posts

We went to Versailles 2 days ago. I had no idea how much walking there was. The golf carts are very expensive, 36 Euros per hour. Maybe if you mapped out exactly where you wanted to go you might have kept to to an hour but we were in the gardens for probably 3 hours. Much of that was walking! I also paid for tickets for the tour for the Kings Chambers but...the tour was 1.5 hours long and all in French. As I posted elsewhere, the public transportation to and from Paris also involves a ton of walking, plus walking from the RER train station to the Chateau. There was no way we could have handled a 1.5 hour tour in French (none of us would have understood it) on top of all the walking so we simply declined, and lost our money. Walking to the big lake was exhausting and I seriously doubt I would have been able to walk back. I hopped the Petits Train. That train made several stops from the big lake further down away from the Chateau before heading back tot he Chateau. I saw plenty of people on bikes and scooters there. But I bet they were all locals. And I do not think you would be allowed to ride a bike or a scooter into the Chateau/Garden grounds. I saw no-one there on any wheels, only legs. There is a part that is open to the public (wheels) and a part you have to have your ticket that they scan to enter which does include the gardens. When I saw the people on wheels I thought that's what I needed. If I was so enamoured by Versailles, I would go back and stay there in town for a night or even two, to get the hang of how to really see Versailles without so much walking. But while I enjoyed Versailles, and am glad I can say I have seen it, it did not do enough for me to make me pay for accomodations to stay there to see it again. Only if I got to know the locals, who said, "Hey, you want to come and hang out in the Versailles Gardens with us for an afternoon?" Then I would come again.

Posted by
15 posts

PS there were very few lines anywhere. Maybe 5 minutes max. Everything now is timed entry due to Covid. That part is nice!

Posted by
8 posts

@balso, thanks for the heads up!! Learned of the closure earlier today but appreciate the alternate routes!

@ann thanks for the info. Do you know if the timed entry is for entering the palace itself, are the grounds as a whole. In other words, if I arrive at noon but want to start from the back (trianon) and work my way to the palace (say by 4), I’d the entry based on my arriving to the grounds at noon or do I have to reserve it for 4 since that’s when I plan to visit the palace? Hope that makes sense.

Posted by
99 posts

Thanks for the info Ann!

Curious if anyone knows if you are able to bring a stroller into the gardens? We will be visiting in Sept on a Saturday only going to the Gardens for the fountain show with our young son.

We might try to go to the market before hand, what are the hours on a Saturday?

Has anyone been to a weekend Fountain show this summer?!

Posted by
8 posts

Ashley, thank you SO much for the details! Really appreciate it. If you think of anything else, please share!

Posted by
6010 posts

We did the King's apartment tour to skip the line -- it worked for that and it was in English but it was frankly pretty boring. The backstage sights are less interesting than the public rooms and by the time we had slogged through the unimpressive back rooms (except for the opera house THAT was impressive) our least mobile family member was too exhausted to really enjoy the public rooms which were quite crowded. If you know basic French history you don't get much more here IMHO. The advantage as you get to wait sitting in a nice waiting area and you don't have to stand in a blocks long Line. If I were to do it again, which I may with my grandchild this spring, I would get timed tickets and skip the backrooms tour.

We have done the gardens on a separate day as well where we saw the fountains both morning and afternoon and has lunch and toured the rest of the estate between the two fountain shows. We walked. There is a sort of trolley bus that goes from the Chateau to the Hameau area. It didn't look drop on drop off to me i.e. not a bunch of stops, but I didn't do it, so maybe I missed that. You can't have bikes in the gardens but can have them on the wider estate. I can't recall if there were strollers in the gardens -- the paths are gravel in many places. I just took a peek at some old snapshots I took and I see little kids being held by hands but not strollers. I would be surprised if they were allowed in the gardens but don't know for sure.

Posted by
7535 posts

Stroller: allowed but with the gravel the wheels get bogged down. I remember taking my oldest but in an umbrella stroller back in the 1980s. Perhaps those huge strollers people use nowadays navigate the gravel better.