As in King Louis's time, the Versailles Palace is crowded. Don't spend your precious holiday time waiting in line. The way around spending hours on the Palace court yard is to book a tour online before you leave home.
Here are the best suggestions, one of my favourites being Versailles By Bike. When we visited Versailles I was very happpy to have my bike because of the vast distances you have to cross when you want to see all of the80 acres estate. Cycling through the Gardens of the Versailles Palace also gives you lots of nice spots to enjoy a picnic, just like Louis liked to do in his time!
I can reccommend spending a few days in Versailles. It is a nice little town and if you want to see all of the Versailles Palace and estate you need more than one day! There are several tours that start in Versailles. You can combine tours to see it all.
There also is a variety of Chateau de Versailles tours from Paris. That's the way to go when you are in Paris for a few days. The easiest and cheapest way to get from Paris to Versailles is by RER train. You can also book tours where you travel by train, bus, minivan or get picked up and dorpped off at your Paris hotel.
This 75-minute guided tour will take you to the most important parts of the Palace, the Hall Of Mirrors and the King's and Queen's State Apartments.
The best part, you get priority access!
You make your own way to Versailles, from Paris you take the RER train Line C to Versailles Château Rive Gauche station. In Versailles you meet your guide at the office that is located very conveniently in front of the station.
This tour is a great introduction to Versailles Palace. Of course you can visit the gardens before or after your tour.
Want to skip the line and not wait for your guide and group; choose this audio guide self-tour and discover Versailles Palace, the gardens and Marie Antoinette's Estate at your own pace.
Excellent when you are travelling with children, who usually don't care too much for extensive information anyway.
Go to the meeting point across the street from the train station in Versailles to get your informative audio pen and interactive map.
Your hostess will get you into the palace right through the crowds that are on the palace courtyard, and you can start your tour around the palace and the estate.
In weekends and bank holidays your ticket also includes the spectacular Fountain Show. On Tuesdays the Musical Fountains are included.
If you want to enjoy the gardens of Versailles as they did in the 17th and 18th-century, you should visit it during the two periods a year (March 29 to May 17 and July 5 to October 26, Tuesdays only) when the groves and protected areas of the gardens are accessible to the public. There will be Baroque classical music between 10am and 6:30pm, and every 10 minutes from 10am to 6:30pm. you can see the musical fountains in the Bassin du Miroir. With complimentary map so you can find your way through the world-famous gardens, designed by André Le Nôtre.
Another option, (less tiring!) Versailles Gardens and City Segway Tour. It is an excellent way to encourage teenagers around the park. With a small group and a guide you will travel past the Grand Canal, the Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon and Queen’s Hamlet. On the 3-hour tour, you’ll also explore some of the city of Versailles itself.
Do note the Segways are not allowed into all the parts of the gardens, you need to go there on foot and buy a separate Versailles Gardens Ticket.
When you spend more days in Versailles you also have the time to visit the Royal Stables at Versailles Château. Your children will love it, there are still 40 horses, including the famous Lusitanians, a favourite of Louis XIV.
In the days of King Louis, the fountains where a real attraction, and he was very proud of them.
This was how they managed it in those days. Because of the lack of water and water-pressure they could not operate the fountains all at once. So a whole crew of gardeners followed the king and his entourage around as he strolled through the gardens, signaling each other when he was approaching so someone could start the fountain just before they arrived.
For the king and his guests it appeared as though all the fountains where running all at once, in reality this was not even possible.
Nowadays you can enjoy the musical fountain shows on specific hours during the summer, or choose the Versailles Night Fountain Show and Fireworks from Paris.
This tour starts at station Central Paris, 15th arrondissement where you will meet with your guide and the rest of the group (train tickets are included).
Before you start exploring the Versailles estate, you will visit the Versailles markets where you can buy your fresh and delicious picnic food. Then it's up the Versailles Palace gardens that are so vast that you would never have time to see it all on foot. With your bike you get to the far end of the gardens, and to areas that aren't so crowded with tourists.
At the far end of the Grand Canal, you'll settle down for a lovely picnic. The kings and Queens also loved to have picnics here, they could happily admire their palace and gardens from this point.
After that, you will peddle back to the palace, to explore the Hall of Mirrors, the King's State Apartments and the amazing King's Chapel (Audio-guide available). Your guide will than get you back to the train to Paris.
If you want to see the main area's of the Versailles Estate this tour is the best choice: Your day tour will start in the center of Paris where you will board coach than brings you to Versailles.
Upon arrival you already have all your tickets with direct access to the castle, the Trianons and the Marie Antoinette Estate.
You also can get on the Little Train that brings you where you want to go in the large and beautiful gardens of Versailles. Visit all the interesting places at you own pace, have lunch at the great lake and stroll through the magnificent gardens. The bus will bring you back to Paris at the end of the day.