From Paris to Versailles: 6 Best Ways to Get There

Written by Lisa Alexander
Jul 23, 2020

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The UNESCO-listed Château de Versailles is perhaps the most emblematic castle in France, famous for its lavish royal court during the reign of the Sun King (Louis XIV). This opulent 17th-century palace was also the residence of the last King and Queen of France, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

It is easy to visit Versailles from Paris. The distance is only 20 kilometers, far enough to feel like a bucolic escape but short enough that Parisian mobs were able to march to Versailles by foot in the days leading up to the French Revolution.

Today, tourists can travel from Paris to Versailles by train, car, bus, or guided tour. There are even organized excursions that include cycling around the Versailles estate. The best way to get there depends on your personal preferences. For instance, if you enjoy listening to historical commentary, taking a guided tour is the best choice.

For those planning a longer travel itinerary in France, public transportation can limit the possibility of visiting nearby attractions. To get to other destinations in the area around Paris (especially places that are not directly accessible by train), renting a car makes the most sense.

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1. From Paris to Versailles by Guided Tour

Château de Versailles
Château de Versailles

Most tourists appreciate the experience of visiting Versailles on a guided tour. This option offers convenient, stress-free transportation and interesting commentary from a knowledgable guide.

The Small-Group Versailles Guided Tour picks you up at your hotel in Paris and takes you to Versailles by air-conditioned minivan. The drive from Paris to Versailles takes about 30 minutes and includes a stop at the Parc de Saint-Cloud along the way.

This half-day tour provides admission to the Château de Versailles. The one-hour guided portion covers the highlights of the château interior: the King and Queen State Apartment and the Hall of Mirrors. As you visit the magnificent rooms of the palace, your guide will share interesting stories about France's royal history.

After seeing the dazzling interior of the palace, you will have time to wander the grounds on your own. Admire the immaculately manicured formal French gardens and then stroll the pleasant tree-lined paths.

The guided visit of the Château de Versailles is about three hours. The tour concludes with a drop-off at your hotel in Paris.

2. From Paris to Versailles on a Guided Bike Tour

Bicycle Path in the gardens of Versailles
Bicycle Path in the gardens of Versailles

The Château de Versailles estate has dozens of kilometers of picturesque cycling paths that traverse a lush 800-hectare parkland. Much of the original estate has remained intact since the French Revolution.

Visiting the Versailles estate by bicycle gives tourists a different perspective and offers the opportunity to see more of the grounds than is possible by walking. Cycling makes it easy to explore beyond the formal French gardens to get glimpses of the diverse scenery of the luxuriant estate.

The Day Bike Tour of Versailles from Paris is an excellent way to discover the Château de Versailles estate by bicycle. On this well-planned tour, a guide will meet you at the train station in Paris to take the train ride to Versailles. Then you will pick up your bicycles near the Château de Versailles and stop for picnic provisions before embarking on a cycling adventure.

Your guide will lead you on a discovery of the Versailles bike trails, while you admire the estate's expansive parkland. On this tour, you will cycle along tree-lined paths, through wide-open spaces and dense woodlands, alongside the Grand Canal, and to the quaint pastoral hamlet that Marie-Antoinette created as an idyllic refuge from her stiflingly formal court life. You will also see the Petit Trianon and Grand Trianon palaces.

After an invigorating bike excursion, you will spend some time exploring the interior of the château while listening to an audio-guide. The interior visit includes the State Apartments, Chapel, and the Hall of Mirrors.

Alternatively, if you prefer to arrive at the Château de Versailles on your own, it is possible to rent a bike at Versailles and cycle independently around the estate. There are several places within the Château de Versailles park where you can pick up a bike: Little Venice, Saint Anthony Gate, and Queen's Gate. The Château de Versailles permits bicycle access to the public for free every day of the year.

3. From Paris to Versailles on a Garden Tour

Jardins de Versailles
Jardins de Versailles

The Château de Versailles is renowned for its gardens (Les Jardins), so it's recommended to spend plenty of time exploring the grounds. The perfectly manicured gardens feature harmonious geometric proportions that mirror the château's Neoclassical architecture. From the viewpoint of the Hall of Mirrors, the elegant Grande Perspective (east-west access) creates a striking impression.

André Le Nôtre, who developed the outdoor elements of Versailles, considered the gardens to be as important as the interior decor and architecture of the château. Between 1661 and 1664, Le Nôtre landscaped the gardens for King Louis XIV with elaborate parterres, ornamental pools, fountains, sculptures, flower beds, perfectly manicured shrubs, and shady tree-lined paths.

Tourists enjoy taking a guided tour of the Versailles gardens, especially during spring, summertime, and early autumn when vegetation is in full bloom. The Royal Gardens of Versailles Walking Tour is a half-day tour that includes round-trip train transportation from Paris and an extensive guided walk through the gardens.

During the tour, a knowledgable guide provides insights into the artistic aspects of the Versailles gardens, along with the royal history of Versailles and its intriguing court customs. After the garden tour, you will have time to visit the interior of the Château de Versailles on your own before returning to Paris.

4. From Paris to Versailles by Train

Great Hall Ballroom at the Château de Versailles
Great Hall Ballroom at the Château de Versailles

There are several ways to take the train from Paris to Versailles. Travelers can check train route schedules on the official SNCF site.

The easiest option is the RER (Line C) train, which departs from Métro stations in the center of Paris and arrives at the Versailles Château Rive Gauche station, which is the closest train station in Versailles to the Château de Versailles. The train ride takes around one hour. From the Château Rive Gauche station, it's about a 10-minute walk to the château.

Another option is the SNCF train from Gare Montparnasse in Paris to the Versailles Chantiers station. The train ride takes less than 20 minutes.

One more option is the SNCF train from Gare Saint Lazare in Paris to the Versailles Rive Droite station. This train ride takes about 35 minutes, including a train change at the Montparnasse station.

From either the Versailles Chantiers or the Versailles Rive Droite station, it's about a 25-minute walk to the Château de Versailles, where you should also expect a considerable wait in the tourist queue (especially during the high season) to enter the palace.

5. From Paris to Versailles by Bus

Buses at the Château de Versailles
Buses at the Château de Versailles

Taking the bus is another affordable and easy way to travel from Paris to Versailles. Tourists can check the bus schedules ahead of time on the official RATP site.

The RATP bus (Line 171) offers public transportation bus service from the Pont de Sèvres Métro station (end of the Métro line 9) in Paris to the Château de Versailles. This route takes about 30 minutes, or longer if there is traffic.

6. From Paris to Versailles by Car

Château de Fontainbleu
Château de Fontainbleu

Since public transportation and guided tours are the easiest ways to get to Versailles from Paris, it is usually not necessary to consider renting a car. This option is only practical for travelers who are combining a visit to Versailles with an extended sightseeing itinerary in France.

Driving is the best way to visit the nearby regions of Normandy and Champagne, where picturesque villages and historic towns are scattered throughout the countryside but are not easily accessible by train or bus.

Just a one-hour drive from Versailles is the UNESCO-listed Château de Fontainebleau. Built in the 12th century as a royal hunting lodge, the estate castle was enhanced and transformed into an Italianate palace during the Renaissance. The château was later restored by Napoleon.

Traveling by car makes sense for several other itineraries: from Versailles to Evreux (renowned for its Gothic cathedral), and from Versailles to the seaside town of Honfleur (a place that inspired Impressionist painters) or to the beach resort of Deauville on the Normandy coast. In these cases, it is much quicker to travel by car than by train.

If you want to travel from Versailles to see Monet's Garden in Giverny, your only option is to get there by car. The drive is about one hour and is well worth the detour.

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imagePlanning Your Paris Vacation: Before booking your Paris accommodations, learn about the different Parisian neighborhoods and hotels by reading our suggestions for where to stay in Paris. You could also plan your sightseeing itineraries ahead of time. For ideas, take a look at the list of top attractions in Paris (such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre) and the top museums of Paris before you arrive.

imagePlaces to Visit near Versailles: The surroundings of Paris are packed with amazing tourist attractions within a one-hour drive or train ride from Versailles. Many attractions are UNESCO-listed sites, including Chartres Cathedral in the Loire Valley and the Château de Fontainebleau. Reims, in the Champagne region, is two hours away by train or car. About a four-hour drive or train ride from Versailles, Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most-visited tourist destinations in France.

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