From Paris to Versailles: 5 Best Ways to Get There
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 the residence of French monarchs, from Louis XIV to Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, the last queen of France.
It is easy to visit Versailles from Paris. The distance is only 20 kilometers — far enough away to feel like a bucolic escape to today's tourists but close enough that Parisian mobs were able to march to Versailles by foot during the French Revolution.
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 ideal 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
Most tourists appreciate the experience of visiting Versailles on a guided tour. This option offers the convenience of organized transfers, along with interesting commentary from a knowledgable guide.
The Versailles Palace & Gardens Guided Tour includes round-trip transportation by air-conditioned coach to Versailles. You may select the hotel pickup option. The drive from Paris to Versailles takes about 30 minutes.
This half-day tour provides skip-the-line admission to the Château de Versailles, and a two-hour guided visit to the château that covers the King's State Apartment, the Queen's Apartment, the Royal Chapel, the Coronation Room, and the Hall of Mirrors.
As you visit the magnificent rooms of the palace, your English-speaking guide will provide historical context, including stories about Louis XIV (the "Sun King"), Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Madame du Barry, and other important figures of France's royal court.
After admiring the château interior, you will tour the gardens of the Château de Versailles (Les Jardins). These immaculately manicured French formal gardens feature harmonious geometric proportions that mirror the château's Neoclassical architecture.
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 sheared shrubs, and shady tree-lined paths.
Depending on the day, you may have a chance to see a Musical Fountains Show or experience a Musical Gardens event during your tour of the gardens.
This organized excursion to the Château de Versailles takes about four hours.
2. From Paris to Versailles on a Guided Bike Tour
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. Within the Château de Versailles estate, visitors can pick up a bike at Little Venice (bike rentals are available every day). On the weekends, bike rentals are also available at the Saint Anthony Gate and the Queen's Gate.
The Château de Versailles permits bicycle access to the public for free every day of the year. Bike rentals are available from mid-February through mid-November.
While cycling through the grounds, visitors may stop to grab a take-away picnic lunch (sandwiches, salads, crepes) from La Flottille or from the Gourmandises de la Petite Venise stand; both are located next to the Grand Canal. Angelina in front of the Petit Trianon palace also offers sandwiches, quiches, and salads to-go. Other take-out food options include Le Dauphin in the Dauphin's Grove and La Girandole Café in the Girandole Grove of the gardens.
Tips for Picnics at Versailles: Picnicking is allowed in the park of the Château de Versailles but not in the gardens. If you purchase a take-away lunch from Angelina, Le Dauphin, or La Girandole Café, you must head to another spot in the park to enjoy your meal. Lovely places to have a picnic within the Château de Versailles park are the Saint Anthony Plain, the lawns surrounding the Grand Canal, and the green space next to the Lake of the Swiss Guard.
3. From Paris to Versailles by Train
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 (Gare d'Austerlitz, Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame, Musée d'Orsay, Invalides, Pont de l'Alma) 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 on the Line C from one of the central Métro stations takes between 30 and 40 minutes. After arriving at the Château Rive Gauche station, it's about a 10-minute walk to the château.
The Invalides Métro station in the 7th arrondissement is one of the most convenient (least hectic) Métro stations on the Line C, which makes it ideal for tourists traveling from Paris to Versailles. From the Invalides station, the train arrives at the Versailles Château Rive Gauche station in just 30 minutes.
Another option is the SNCF train from Gare Montparnasse in Paris to the Versailles Chantiers station. The direct train ride (in the direction of Chartres) takes less than 20 minutes.
From either the Versailles Chantiers 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.
4. From Paris to Versailles by Bus
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.
5. From Paris to Versailles by Car
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 makes sense for travelers who are combining a visit to Versailles with an extended sightseeing itinerary in France.
Tourists can rent a car either at Charles de Gaulle Airport or at a car rental agency in Paris. Several car rental agencies offer convenient locations in central Paris, such as the Gare Saint-Lazare and the Gare Montparnasse.
Driving to Versailles makes it possible to continue a travel itinerary in the nearby Normandy and Champagne regions, 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 renovated for Napoleon I (Napoléon Bonaparte).
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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Planning Your Paris Vacation: Plan your sightseeing itineraries ahead of time. For ideas, take a look at the list of top attractions in Paris, which includes the Eiffel Tower and the Musée du Louvre. Art lovers should check out the list of top museums of Paris and consider purchasing a Paris Museum Pass.
Places 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 of the historic castles and churches 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.