Possibly one of the most recognisable attractions in all of France, the Palace of Versailles in Paris is a beautiful structural dedication to royal influence. It is easy to see why the Palace of Versailles is one of the most highly sought- after attractions, second only to the Eiffel Tower, in all of Paris. Boasting the enchanting architecture of the 18th century, 250 acres of landscape, and stunning artwork, this castle is a stellar example of the lives French royalty once lived. With more than 10 million people visiting annually, here are some things to know before you go to the Palace of Versailles.
History of the Palace of Versailles
Once a quaint hunting lodge, the Palace of Versailles was reinvented as a chateau by Louis XIII. The surrounding land was purchased at that time so the king could create impressive gardens around his chateau. The first big construction project started in 1661, however, by Louis XIV, which wanted a country estate where the court of Versailles could be held. The overall project took 20 years to complete, but the gardens would not be completed for another two decades to be completely finished.
Things to Know Before You Visit
With an attraction as large as the Palace of Versailles, it is best to prepare before you go. To get the most out of your visit, here are a few insider tips to keep in mind.
1. There Are Different Areas to Visit in One Place
The Versailles Palace actually consists of The Gardens, The Main Palace, Trianon Estate, and The Queen's Hamlet. All areas have some spectacular things to see and experience. You will probably spend the majority of your time in The Main Palace. It boasts more than 2,300 rooms and things you won't want to miss like the Hall of Mirrors and the King's Bedchamber. However, make sure you take the time to explore the grounds and other areas if you have a full day.
2. Get to the Palace As Early As Possible
Roughly 27,000 people visit the palace on a daily basis. If you want to get the most of the experience, plan your trip early in the day. The palace is open every day of the week except for Mondays, and they open at 9 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m. Tour buses arrive shortly after that, so beat them there. It will be your best bet for avoiding long lines. The gardens and park are opened at 8 a.m. every day of the week.
3. Get a Guided Tour If You Can
Guided tours are offered at different points of the day and for different parts of the palace, and they can be really helpful on a first-time visit. You'll get access to some parts of the palace that are normally kept close to free-wandering tourists. You can always opt for a guided tour and then go explore on your own after.
4. Download the Audio Guide to Help You Along
Another thing to know before you go to the Palace of Versailles is that it actually offers a free app. Add it to your phone and look for the other audio guides you can download as well. Both will be highly beneficial while you are exploring the palace and the grounds.
5. You Can Dine at the Palace
There are actually some restaurants available inside the palace where you can stop and grab lunch if you're spending the day exploring. Keep in mind that the prices at these restaurants can be considerably higher than what you would pay to eat elsewhere, however. It is pretty common for tourists to pack their own lunch and picnic in the park.
6. Don't Forget Your Paris Pass
The key thing to know before you go to the Palace of Versailles is this. The Paris Pass will grant you access to the Palace, as well as at least 60 other attractions in Paris. Use the pass to access the palace and Chateaux de Trianon et Domaine de Marie-Antoinette when it is open. Extra shows are not included with the pass, but you will skip right past the ticket line.