The French town of Versailles is on most visitors must-see lists. Located in the Yvelines department, and only half an hour from central Paris, it is most famous for its stunning royal palace, the Château de Versailles. In this article, we’ll give you the best advice for making the most of a weekend spent in this chic and pretty town.
Getting from Paris to Versailles is fairly easy, and navigation has been improved by the addition of more tourist-friendly signs in the main stations. Get a zones 1-4 ticket from any metro or train station to Versailles Rive Gauche (plus another for the return). There are other stations in Versailles, but they are a further walk from the chateau. You’ll take the RER C (yellow) line and get off at the terminus.
The Town of Versailles
Versailles was the capital of France from 1682-1789, and is full of historical buildings. It is also a bustling town, popular along the French upper class and commuters, who enjoy living close to Paris but in a quieter and greener environment, which explains why real estate is expensive here.
If you’re spending the weekend in Versailles, you’ll have time to see more than just the chateau and its gardens…
The oldest part of Versailles is its Notre-Dame district. We recommend a visit to the Notre Dame church as well as the popular food market, open on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Lambinet municipal museum is also worth seeing. Housed in a formerly private Louis XV mansion, the museum holds several collections of fine art as well as a fascinating history department. Equestrians and horse lovers will be awed by a visit and show at the Academy of Equestrian Arts, which can be found at the Royal Stables just opposite the Palace.
The Chateau and its Gardens
Of course, the major highlight of Versailles is the famous Chateau and its gardens. Have a glimpse into the opulent life of French royalty (before they lost their heads) and walk round the sumptuous King’s Grand Apartments, visit the Museum of the History of France, and see the historical Hall of Mirrors. Don’t miss out on a walk around the stunning gardens – the orangerie, fountains, sculptures and the canal. A little further afield is Marie Antoinette’s Estate which can be accessed via a small train if your feet are getting sore!
A visit to the chateau and environs can require quite a lot of planning and queuing. Save yourself time and effort by having everything organized on our Skip the Line Versailles Chateau & Gardens Tour. Alternatively, discover Versailles by bike on our Versailles Bike Tour! There’s an experience for everyone, and our job is to make sure you get the most out of a visit to the magnificent town and chateau at Versailles.