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Chateau de Versailles and a story about “skip the line tickets”

Chateau de Versailles and a story about “skip the line tickets”

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Last summer we went on a road trip to France. We started in Paris, and this was mine and my husband’s third time in this beautiful city. We have seen much different iconic stuff in Paris before, and now we wanted to spend some time in Chateau de Versailles. I/we had planned several stops during our road trip, and since I love French history, I wanted to take a detour from Paris to Versailles. My husband needed some convincing as he had never even heard of the place. (here you can imagine me rolling my eyes). Let me tell you a few historical facts about the Palace of Versailles:

  • Before Chateau de Versailles was built to be a Palace as we know it today, it was initially created as a hunting lodge by Louis XIII. He used three years to rebuild the lodge into what later became Chateau de Versailles as we know it today.
  • World War I “Peace Treaty” was signed in Chateau de Versailles.
  • Chateau de Versailles is listed as a World Heritage Site.
  • Palace of Versailles contains 2300 rooms.
  • Chateau de Versailles is World’s largest Royal Domain.
  • Billionaire John D. Rockefeller made two large donations to the Palace for its restoration.

For an in-depth history lesson of the Palace of Versailles, I recommend you checking out Chateau de Versailles official site here.

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Palace of Versailles in the middle of the high season

Getting to Palace of Versailles from Paris

It takes about 30-40 minutes by car from Paris to the Palace of Versailles. The cheapest alternative to get to Chateau de Versailles from Paris is to get on the train. It will take you 1-1,5 hour to get there if you use public transportation. You can also get a guided bus tour by Viator by clicking on this linkYou can check here for more information on ways to get to the Palace from Paris.

We picked up our car at the airport after spending one night in Paris. You can read about Paris in this article. There is no point in bringing a car to Paris and spending lots of time getting in and out of the city because of the traffic, so going back to the airport the next day was more convenient.

Chateau de Versailles – skip the line tickets.

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Chateau de Versailles – the only spot without people

I did some research in advanced, and we got the tickets to the Chateau de Versailles from Get your Guide before we left Norway.

We didn’t want to spend the few hours we had for exploring to stand in a ticket line. When we arrived, I was glad we had purchased “skip the line tickets” as the place was crowded, and it was +30C. As proud as I was (for being so smart) we marched straight to the entrance on the side, as it was stated on the tickets. We passed the snake formed queue of people, who were not as smart as me, or just were lazy to get their tickets in advance, and asked personnel if we could go in because we had pre-purchased the tickets. The man looked at me at said that I had to wait in line.
Me – “What line?
The man – “You see this long queue of approximately 200 m? That line”
Well, thank you, for bringing me back to earth – apparently I was not as smart as I thought. Now we had to decide whether we wanted to spend our time waiting on, what looked like at least an hour long line or forget about the whole Chateau de Versailles.

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The line for those with pre-purchased tickets

Disappointed as we were, I thought – I came here to see Chateau de Versailles, so I can’t give up yet. As we tried to take some photos through the gates, just 5 meters away from the entrance, we thought “what the heck.” So – WE SNUCK IN LINE! Can you imagine two responsible adults and a 12-year-old? I am not sure if I should be proud of our selves for being so creative and determine or be ashamed.

Palace of Versailles rooms

There are 15 rooms (galleries) in the Palace of Versailles that are opened for public. Some of the galleries are closed due to major works, and some are only open for guided tours. You can check what is accessible at any time on Palace of Versailles official site (click the link)

The Hall of Mirrors– the most famous room in the Palace of Versailles.

The King’s State Apartments – series of seven rooms which were used for hosting the sovereign’s official acts. During the day, the State Apartments were open to all who wished to see the king and the royal family passing through on their way to the chapel. During the reign of Louis XIV, evening gatherings were held here several times a week.

The Royal Chapel

The Royal Opera House

Marie-Antoinette’s Private Chambers – a series of small rooms

The King’s Apartments 

The King’s Private Apartments – set of 12 rooms

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One of the halls in the Palace of Versailles

The Queen’s Apartments

The Mistresses’ Apartments – These spaces are not open for unaccompanied visits, and you can only visit them during the guided tour of “The King’s mistresses’ apartments” (link is external).

The Dauphin and Dauphine’s Apartments – These ground-floor apartments opened onto the Midi Parterre and were reserved for members of the royal family.

Louis XV’s daughters’ Apartments

The Museum of the History of France – The different rooms of the Museum are closed to the public, except during guided tours of “Versailles through the centuries.

The Congress Chamber – This room is closed to visitors, but can sometimes be visited on European Heritage Days (link is external).

The Gallery of Great Battles – depicts nearly 15 centuries of French military successes.

As we got through the security gates and X-ray machine, and into the front yard – there was a new line to get into the main building. We decided to explore the left side of the Palace (the one just behind the man in a blue jacket you see in the shot above). We came into the Gallery of Great Battles, so we thought that it was probably very appropriate and fun for our 12 yo (I am ironic here – good parenting). Although you can see that the Chateau has seen its best days (it is getting worn out), the ornaments and paintings are so magnificent. I love art type that tries to tell me a story. We went through the hall, and somewhat unintentionally we got out to the beautiful and famous gardens of Chateau de Versailles.

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The Gallery of Great Battles

Palace of Versailles Gardens

Palace of Versailles Gardens is known for their symmetry, statues, and fountains. The renovation works on the Gardens started in 1661 and lasted for 40 years. You can spend up to 2 hours in the Gardens and visit them during any season. The access to the Gardens is included in the price of the entry tickets for the Palace, except during Fountain shows and Musical Gardens.

FUN FACT ABOUT PALACE OF VERSAILLES GARDENS -To maintain the design, the gardens needed to be replanted approximately once every 100 years.
In 1999 the garden was entirely replanted and now boasts a fresh, youthful appearance similar to how it would have looked to Louis XIV.
The “Skip the line tickets” we purchased included a fountain show that starts every hour at specific times of the day.
Remember how smart I was previously? I thought again “It was so clever to go straight to the gardens, so at least we can see the show.” I, of course, forgot to check when the show was – as it happens only at specific times even though it is quite often. It turned out we were, of course, somewhere in between hours, so didn’t get to see that. Well, we wandered out in the gardens for 10-15 min, took some pictures and went back to explore the rest of the Palace of Versailles.

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On the way to the Palace of Versailles Gardens

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The view of the Gardens from the Palace of Versailles – unfortunately, it was too hot to explore them in the middle of July

And suddenly we were OUTSIDE Chateau de Versailles, and in front of the line, we snuck in. The story is we didn’t get to see Chateau de Versailles the way I expected and wanted.

I was so disappointed, naturally. I was in Paris for the third time, and despite the planning, I still got to see neither Chateau de Versailles nor its Gardens. The little I have seen was beautiful, and if you are a history and architecture lover like me, this famous landmark is a must.

Heads up – parts of the Chateau de Versailles is under reconstruction, so you won’t be able to see everything.

I believe in Karma, and we all know what they say about it. The moral is – I will never snick in again (although they also say “never say never,” or was it Justin Bieber?” Anyway, lesson learned for now!!

Opening hours of Chateau de Versailles

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One of the most known statues in the Gardens – the Neptun

Chateau de Versailles is always closed on Mondays and has different opening hours during winter and summer seasons. Summer season is 01 April – 31 October, with opening hours Tuesday – Sunday 9 AM – 6:30 PM.
Winter season is 1 November – 31 March, with opening hours Tuesday – Sunday 9 AM – 5:30 PM.
Palace de Versailles Gardens are open every day but have different opening hours during winter and summer.
Summer season 01 April – 31 October, with opening hours 8 AM – 8:30 PM.
Winter season 01 November – 31 March, with opening hours 8 AM – 6 PM.
Musical Fountain Show is open during the summer season, and you can watch it during certain days and certain hours.

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Chateau de Versailles’ beautiful architecture

Other things to do around Chateau de Versailles

Marché Notre-Dame – A covered market that has been around since the time of Louis XIV, is located in Notre Dame district of Versailles. Four buildings filled with food of all types. Few mornings a week the market becomes an open-air market and fills the center of the market square, bringing more wonderful produce, cheese, meats, fish, and more. You can even get French snails, or escargots, stuffed with garlic and parsley butter and ready to be baked and served! Why not buy some goodies and have a picnic. In this district, you will find a few museums too.

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Food Market in Versailles – photo courtesy to Office de Tourisme de Versailles

Saint-Louis district

Montreuil district – a former medieval village, which is now a part of Versailles. Hotel de Ville (city hall) is located here and is a landmark of its own!

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Versailles’ beautiful Hôtel de Villes – photo courtesy to Office de Tourisme de Versailles

If you are looking for some fun things to do after your visit to the Palace of Versailles, why not dress up like a French aristocrat and have photos taken of you. You can do it at Costumes & Châteaux

If you are visiting Chateau de Versailles before Christmas, there are several concerts and shows in Royal Chapel and Royal Opera.

Throughout December, the confectionery “La Varenne will organize tasting sessions, allowing you to discover flavors inspired by one of Louis XIV’s cooks! How cool is that?? And don’t miss out on a Christmas Market!!

If you decide to stay in Versaille for a sleepover to get to the Palace before the crowds, the village of Versaille has several hotels and restaurants of a high standard.

CHECK BEST HOTEL OFFERS HERE

 

 

As you can see, there are enough attractions in Versailles besides the Palace of Versailles. I am strongly considering an overnight next time I am visiting the Palace.

Paris Pass

If you are staying in Paris and coming to the Palace of Versailles on a day trip, you can get a Paris Pass, which include free entrance to the Palace among 50 other attractions in Paris. Paris Pass comes in three ranges – both price ranges and duration time. The Pass also includes Hop On Hop Off Bus Tickets, Seine River Cruise Quick entry, and Map of Paris & Public Transportation. You can read more and get your Paris Pass here.

Next, we were heading to Beaune, a place I have never heard of and according to google maps was on a crossroad between Dijon and Lyon. But Beaune turned out to be something entirely different, and you can read about it by clicking on this link.

If you need more tips or have suggestions regarding visiting Chateau de Versailles, don’t hesitate to let me know HERE

A story about broken dreams, karma, Chateau de Versailles, skip the line tickets and other fun things to do in Versailles. Read it now or save it for later

 

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23 Comments

  1. Amanda
    June 3, 2018 / 5:07 am

    We will be going there this August. Was planning on getting the Paris Museum Pass, which gives you skip-the-line for Versailles. If you had skip the line tickets and still had to wait in the super long line, how does that work? Was there a seperate line for those who had not booked tickets yet? Assuming that line might be even longer.

    • Travelletters
      Author
      June 3, 2018 / 8:23 am

      Hi, Amanda! There is another line for those without tickets, where you buy the tickets. We followed instructions stated on our tickets and ended up in this super long queue. This means that if you come without tickets you will have to wait in two lines, before entering the Palace. Try to get to the Palace as early as possible, and remember that it’s super hot in August. Enjoy Chateau de Versailles and the rest of the village 😊😊

  2. stellymm
    April 28, 2018 / 6:59 pm

    I cant believe that they replant the garden every 100 years! I honestly thought it would have been less than 100 years. Very informative post thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Travelletters
      Author
      April 29, 2018 / 3:35 pm

      I know, but it seems that every 100 years is enough 🙂

  3. April 28, 2018 / 4:44 pm

    I’ve never been to Versailles and have always wanted to!

    • Travelletters
      Author
      April 29, 2018 / 3:34 pm

      I hope you will make it one day! I need to go back myself 🙂

  4. February 11, 2018 / 6:18 pm

    I’ve never been to Versailles but I’d love to. It always sounds crowded so I feel like that would take away from it a bit, but I guess all touristy places are like that. Did you not to get to see it properly because of the renovations, or because of the queue?

    • Travelletters
      Author
      February 11, 2018 / 9:20 pm

      We just were unlucky.. It was crowded inside and we had to wait to get in the main entrance, then we had to wait to get further in to main halls. So we went outside to the gardens and when we were ready to go in again we suddenly were outside of the Palace – just made a wrong turn somewhere 🙂

      • February 11, 2018 / 10:07 pm

        Ohh I see, that sounds really confusing! That sucks. 🙁 Hope you make it back there, although the gardens look beautiful at least!

  5. February 11, 2018 / 12:57 am

    Chateau de Versailles is absolutely stunning and I hope you get to see all of it in all its glory. It’s been a while that I visited but luckily for us it was crowded but fairly distributed, certainly not so much that we couldn’t move. 🙂

    • Travelletters
      Author
      February 11, 2018 / 9:18 pm

      It was so hot and the queue to get in was so long even though we snuck in. It was crowded inside but not that bad in the gardens. I will have to go back off season to see more of it 🙂

  6. Ozzy CG
    February 10, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    I’m so shocked to see how crowded it is!!! Is that because of the season? Looks beautiful though..

    • Travelletters
      Author
      February 10, 2018 / 9:21 pm

      I believe it’s always crowded, but high seasons are the worst 😂

  7. February 10, 2018 / 6:47 pm

    I loved Versailles but it was so unbelievably crowded when I went it kinda took away from the enjoyment in a large way! I could barely move, never mind take a decent photo!

    • Travelletters
      Author
      February 10, 2018 / 7:31 pm

      I know! I just had to write about it 😂

  8. February 10, 2018 / 6:16 pm

    A great informative guide to one of Paris’ classic and most beautiful sites, I want to revisit!!!

    • Travelletters
      Author
      February 10, 2018 / 7:31 pm

      It’s so pity that everybody want to see it specially at the same time as us 😂

  9. January 18, 2018 / 11:11 pm

    Beautiful photos! I should come and visit 🙂

  10. erinlovelive
    January 18, 2018 / 5:23 pm

    There was a crazy line like that when we visited too. It moved pretty quickly though.It is worth the wait.

  11. August 2, 2017 / 6:49 pm

    I’m so glad that you enjoyed what you did get to see in Versailles! That’s quite funny about the karma/line thing ahaha I’m sure you’ll be able to go back one day! Xxx

    http://www.diaryofanexpatgirl.com

  12. August 1, 2017 / 5:32 pm

    Such a cool story girl 🙂 and one day you will see Versailles and it will be as gorgeous as it looks like!
    Lots of love!
    Alexa

    • August 2, 2017 / 7:21 am

      Thank, Alexa! I am definitely going back 🙂

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