A half hour outside of Paris, the Palace of Versailles is one of the world's grandest historical museums.
Versailles Quick Facts
- In 1624, Louis XIII, the king of France, began the building of a hunting lodge in the small village of Versailles. By 1682 he had moved the entire court and government of France to Versailles.
- There are 18,000 square meters of history in the Palace of Versailles
- Perhaps the most famous garden in the world surrounds Versailles.
- Versailles is half an hour by rail from the Gare St Lazarre station in Paris
The Palace of Versailles began as a modest hunting lodge. Well, as modest a lodge as one could expect from a French King. Then Louis XIV enlarged and enrobed the old lodge, turning it into the great Chateau we know today. In 1837, Louis-Philippe converted the whole deal to a museum of French History in what may have been the historic starting point for the development of mass tourism.
And world war I was ended here with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
Pictures of Versailles
We've prepared a special virtual tour of the Palace of Versailles using recent pictures from photographer Bill MacDougall, showing the major buildings, interiors and gardens. Start your virtual tour of Versailles at the Versailles Picture Gallery.
Getting to Versailles
Versailles is several KM southwest of Paris. Trains reach Versailles in 30-40 minutes. Three rail lines will get you to Versailles from Paris, or you can take the number 171 bus from Pont de Sèvres.
For general information on Paris transportation tickets and discount travel offers, visit the RATP site (Click on the British flag). For detailed information on taking the train from Paris, see Paris to Chateau Versailles by Train
See a map of Versailles showing the RER station and the size of the gardens of Versailles.
If you're in Paris and you'd like to do a no hassle trip to Versailles (and wish to skip the lines of tourists waiting to buy tickets) a tour may be in order. Viator offers several options, including garden tours with classical music: Things to Do in Versailles (book direct).
Where to Stay
There are various hotel options, as well as camping. Lodging tends to be cheaper than Paris, so you may wish to stay overnight. [Check accommodations from the Versailles Tourism Office by filling out the form, or use Venere to book user rated Versailles Hotels direct.]
Palace of Versailles Visitor Information
The Chateau is open from Tuesday to Sunday, except on certain French public holidays:
May-September 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.
October-April 9a.m. to 5.30p.m
The park and the gardens are open every day except in bad weather from 7 a.m. in summer, 8 a.m. in winter, until sunset.
There are numerous ticketing options. More information on these options is available on the Official Versailles Chateau website.