We absolutely need to preface this blog post with a photo – a photo of one helluva long, squiggly queue.
Can you guess where this serpentine queue is from?
It is from the Palace of Versailles, one of the two places in Europe infamous for their ticketing queues (the other being The Vatican City, Italy).
Versailles makes for the perfect day trip from Paris. You will start your day beaming as you pack your backpack for the day and hop onto the RER train from Paris to Versailles. Once there, you will pore over the map, or better still, just follow the crowds, and find yourself at the mighty gates of the Palace of Versailles before you know it. That’s when the real fun begins
Here’s how it will go from there –
You will spend the first 10 minutes getting bored, then you will start begrudging everyone who is ahead of you, next you start fantasising about imaginative ways of skipping the line (Shooting everyone? Pelting them with water canons? Ramming macarons down their shirts? Tempting them with freshly-baked baguettes? The possibilities are endless 😉 ).
But then you will blink your eyes, snap out of your dream world, and the queue will only seem longer than ever before. Fear not dismal queueophobic, we have a solution for you 🙂 A tour that will make you see Versailles in a new light.
We visited Versailles for the third time last month. In 2010 we reached Versailles, got scared just looking at the queue, and came back to Paris before we could mutter ‘Bonjour’. On our second visit, we decided to brave the queue but ended up getting inside the Palace just before it was due to close for the day. EPIC FAIL.
So this time around, we were determined to experience what is consistently voted as one of the best day trips from Paris. We researched – A LOT. Trouble is we don’t like guided tours that spoon-feed tourists. So we looked for a ‘Skip the Line’ tour that would be fun not rushed. Finally we settled on Easy Pass Tours’ Skip the Line Tour and spent an incredibly relaxed day in Versailles, savouring everything the town has to offer.
Our tour guide, Richard, met us at Paris’ central train station and introduced us to the rest of the group. We were a group of 12 adults. A small group- always a good sign!
We were in Versailles by 10.30 a.m. but instead of fumbling with maps, queues, and tickets, we spent our morning enjoying French wine at a wine-tasting session and exploring local markets in Versailles.
Wine-tasting session in Versailles
Wine-tasting session in Versailles
Wine-tasting session in Versailles
Sea-food at local markets in Versailles
This was punctuated by a short macaron-tasting break. Yummy! We can safely say that the macarons we had at Philippe Pelé were the best we’ve had in France.
Next, Richard walked us around the gardens of the Palace of Versailles. The Palace has been the stage for a number of historic events. Moreover, it is symbolic of the Monarchy that was dismantled by the French Revolution. Richard’s description of the French Revolution made the Palace come to life. But we loved the fact that at every stage, he gave us the option of exploring on our own. A couple of people from our group even took him up on that.
Landscaped gardens at the Palace of Versailles
Gorgeous gardens at the Palace of Versailles
Exhausted from walking around the gorgeous gardens of the Palace of Versailles on a hot summers’ day, we spent the afternoon picnicking by the canal. Our packed lunches contained scrumptious hand-crafted baguettes and French pastries.
After stuffing ourselves silly, we walked over to the gilded Chateau at the Palace of Versailles. Our guide got us inside the Chateau within minutes. Trust us when we say this, not much surpasses the joy of marching past the epic queue from the first photo.
The gilded chateau at the Palace of Versailles
Notice the intricate frescoes on the ceiling
Ornate chandeliers inside the Chateau
Once inside, we were given audio guides and were free to explore the Chateau ourselves. We really enjoyed the freedom this tour affords but it might not be for you if you like to be guided at every step of the way.
If you ask us, you definitely need a sprinkling of Skip-the-Line magic to make your trip to Versailles enjoyable 🙂
- Versailles is 20 kilometres away from Paris. It is easily accessible by public transport.
- Versailles has a lot more to it than just the Palace. Make sure you explore the city, especially the local markets.
- Easy Pass’ Skip the Line Tours run seven days a week. More information and options can be found on The Easy Pass Tours website.
- The cost of the tour includes the price of train tickets (to/from Paris), lunch, wine-tasting, and tickets to the Palace of Versailles.
- Do ask for Richard if you book this tour. He trudges the fine line between guidance and autonomy with the finesse of a rope-walker.
Looking for more things to do on your city break in Paris? Consult our Top Things To Do in Paris or read about an offbeat gem we discovered in Paris
While in Paris, the best way to explore the city is The Paris Pass (use code JULY6 for 10% discount on 6-day passes and 6% on 3 and 4 day passes).
Skip the Line Versailles Chateau and Garden Tour c/o Easy Pass Tours
22 thoughts on “Paris to Palace of Versailles – Plan the Perfect Day Trip”
What a lovely day! I visited Versailles a few years ago but it felt so rushed to me! I only had half a day and I had to skip most of the gardens. It’s a place I will definitely return to in the future. The Easy Pass Tour sounds like a good way to go! 🙂
Karisa the gardens are the best part- you must go back for them 🙂 It’s hard to appreciate the Chateau because it’s always so crowded.
What is the package you took, i can’t find one with a guided tour to the city, the wine tasting and all…
We opted for the Skip The Line Versailles Tour (http://paris.easypasstours.com/tours/skip-the-line-versailles-chateau-gardens-tour). They don’t mention the wine/ macaron tastings as they are a small part of the tour. The majority of the tour focusses on the Chateau and its gardens.
I hope this helps.
Have been dying to go here! Will do very soon!
Aditi do it – it’s gorgeous 🙂
I was at Versailles 3 days ago and we got scared looking at the queue. Just out of curiocity, we inquired at the ticket office and they too told us about the skip the line tour, however it is not displayed on the board, so one really has to ask the lady at the counter. We were shown Louis the 16th’s Chamber and the magnificent Opera House and left to explore the palace. The regular entrance price is €15 and the tour costs €16. An extra Euro to skip the line! 🙂 Since we reached Versailles after 3pm, this was a blessing.
The queue is scary for sure Sam. We booked the tour in advance, so we don’t know about skip-the-line tours at the venue 🙂
Unbelievably, we’ve never been to Paris. We have been to Versailles, though. But does a sleepover really count? It doesn’t, doesn’t it. Memo to ourselves: Do Paris and Versailles a la Bruised Passports.
I find that hard to believe Matthew, what with Paris being a stone’s throw away 🙂
the grandeur of the place speaks it all . 🙂
This sounds really nice. Do you remember where the wine tasting was held? Unfortunately, I checked with Skip the Lines and it looks like it is not offered each season (e.g Fall). However, we might just stop by on our own!
Hey Tina – unfortunately we don’t remember the name of the shop. You could try emailing Easy Pass Tours if you have the time – they might have the exact name and location. Sorry, I couldn’t be of more help 🙂
Versailles is one of our favorite places in France.
We recently posted a guide, mainly through the awesome gardens. http://www.thegrasshopperie.com/versailles/
Beautiful photos! I recommend renting a bike to explore more of the grounds! http://ramblinmurph.com/2015/04/28/the-secrets-of-versailles/
Thanks for the tip Kelly 🙂
Oh Palace of Versailles, Thank God I didn’t forget this in my 21 Day Itinerary in France (http://www.wkadventures.com/itineraries/21-day-itinerary-france-under-2200-per-head/)
I also loved your photos, thanks for sharing it with us
Hello Tanya, good to know that you are planning to visit France. The Palace of Versailles cannot and shouldnot be missed while you are there.Hope you have an awesome time there.Happy travels!!
Savi Vid plan to visit Palace of versailles early March 2018. Loved what I read! Will this information be up to date for 2018 too – I figured this was written in 2013.
Well it’s best to check the official websites – things change rather quickly in today’s world 😉
Hey, which wine tasting did you go to? Do I have to book it in advance or just walk in?
It was part of the organised tour the details for which are in the article 🙂 If you’re going on your own then probably best to book in advance