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Versailles Timed Tickets...Can I use the "backwards" strategy? (Gardens first then chateau?)

Hi! I've been reading up on how to beat the crowds at Versailles. I am wondering if I buy a timed ticket, if that time is for entry into the chateau, or entry into the entire place. I think we would like to use the strategy of starting a little later, touring the gardens first, then hitting the chateau around 3pm until close. So would I buy my timed ticket for around 3, when we enter the chateau, or say noon when we would want to enter the gardens?

I thought about the advice to get there before open, but since we're leaving from Paris, that makes for quite an early morning and it sounds like if we even get there a half an hour after opening, we're in immense crowds. So the afternoon strategy might work better for us. We will be there on a Saturday in August.

Thanks for any advice! Also is this the "official" Versailles direct ticket buying site? I don't want to be tricked by a tour site!
https://billetterie.chateauversailles.fr/passport-with-timed-entry-visite-chateau-css5-chateauversailles-lgen-pg51-ei552471.html

Posted by
838 posts

Versailles is very confusing since it actually encompasses 100s of acres - most of which is open (no charge) if you're a pedestrian. There's basically 3 places you have to pay: the main palace (your timed tickets), the trianon complex (can buy tickets there), and parts of the gardens/fountains only on weekends or when special fountain/ music shows are going ( you can also buy there).

The do sell tickets that include all of those. The website I used for info is http://en.chateauversailles.fr
I believe it's the official site.

So yes you can get into the property and wander around quite a bit before going to the palace entrance for your tour. There's multiple gates but the Queens is probably easiest to get to/from the palace entrance. It's a car and pedestrian gate. They charge cars but if on foot you just walk through.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks! We will be at the gardens on one of the non-free "musical fountains" days, so I think we will need a ticket to go to the gardens first. Which is fine...I just don't want us to get to the gardens at noon with a 3pm timed entry ticket, and not be allowed entry into the gardens!

Posted by
838 posts

If possible, try and get there before noon. The place is so huge and there is so much to see. You can bring in a picnic lunch (that's what many of the locals do treating it as a just a park) or there are a couple of casual places you can get a sandwich. It took us half a Sat and Sun just to see the gardens and the Trianon. While it's annoying to pay to see the gardens it's pretty cool with the fountains actually flowing. At least one I remember had the sprays timed to the music.

The Queens Gate is at the end of Blvd de la Reine. I believe there is another garden entrance near the main chateau entrance.
The website I gave you has a pretty cool interactive map now - not available when we went 2 years ago.

Posted by
7205 posts

You can just pay for entrance to the gardens when you get there. Just walk to the entrance where the admission kiosks are standing.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks all! I listened to that podcast, it was cute! It didn't answer my ticket question, because they were on a tour so had their tickets all worked out, but I did hear the tidbit when they asked a tour guide what mistakes people make when coming, and he said 1) Not seeing it all, as in the Trianon and 2) coming in the morning!

Posted by
4535 posts

The Queens Gate is at the end of Blvd de la Reine. I believe there is
another garden entrance near the main chateau entrance.

That is correct. The Queens Gate would not be convenient unless you were driving or wandering in town first. It is also a little more direct to the Trianons.

There is a garden entry by passing through the chateau (an opening - not through the building itself). There will be a small gate where you pay a entry fee on the fountain days (another one down near the Grand Canal). You'll get a stamp or wristband to gain re-entry into the fountain area of the gardens anytime that day.

Many people have reported that the crowds dissipate late in the afternoon as the tour buses depart for the day.

I also recommend a nice picnic down by the canal. Much better than the overpriced cafes on site.

Posted by
11 posts

So, I have decided on my "Gardens first, Palace" after plan, with a timed ticket to the Palace for mid afternoon. Now I just want to be sure I am booking the right Palace tour...my group has decided they would like a tour guide. Is the "Guided Tour - Splendeurs Des Versailles English" the basic in-palace tour? I don't think we will take the time to take the other tour of the private apartments, so is this Splendors one the basic in palace tour?

Thanks!

Posted by
33 posts

Also be CAREFUL and don't make the mistake we did. We did 'gardens first' because we thought we were being sly and would beat the crowds.

Which we totally did. And it was great.

BUT, when we came back up from the gardens to go into the chateau, it's very confusing and unmarked, and we walked through an open breezeway and found ourselves...back in the ticket line area. Somehow we missed the "re-enter the chateau sign" if there was such a thing, so there we were, standing back outside in the courtyard.

We actually were so tired after walking 12 miles outside in the gardens that we left (I know, I know!), but we're going back next spring and doing JUST the interior. facepalm

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks @sgsmith318! Will try to keep track of how to get where!
I can post back a report of how our plan works! I won't have an idea of crowds at 9 though.

Posted by
1823 posts

If I were to go back I'd take a bike tour that stops at a local market to pick up food for later (the food at Versailles sucks) then has you ride around the outskirts of the gardens before seeing seeing the Chateau after the lines are gone.

Posted by
4535 posts

BUT, when we came back up from the gardens to go into the chateau,
it's very confusing and unmarked, and we walked through an open
breezeway and found ourselves...back in the ticket line area. Somehow
we missed the "re-enter the chateau sign" if there was such a thing,
so there we were, standing back outside in the courtyard.

There is no such thing. The gardens and chateau are not connected by a single ticket. You cannot enter the chateau from the gardens.

Posted by
4125 posts

There is a city bus that connects the train stations with the Trianons.

Very helpful for the "backwards" strategy!