Known for its large golden gates, manicured gardens and opulent halls, the Palace of Versailles is a must see in France. Every inch of the Palace is created with fine detail. There is not an aspect of the estate that has not been thought out. Located only a short train ride away from Paris, the city of Versailles is centered around the large chateau.
Palace of Versailles, France Guide
To do the Palace properly, one will need a full day. I always advice to arrive early, right at opening, as the tour buses tend to show up late in the morning and early afternoon. Buying tickets in advance is always a plus but if not possible the line moves at a decent pace.
There is much more to the Palace of Versailles, then just the “palace.” There’s the hundreds of gardens to walk through, the Grand Trianon, and Marie-Antoinette’s estate. Because of the size of the property (extremely large) it is good to prioritize what parts one would like to see. When purchasing tickets, make sure to buy for both Marie-Antoinette and the palace as they are two separate tickets.
Arriving early and staying until the late afternoon, I was able to see just about everything but I also went quite quickly. To make the most of your day, plan in advance and grab a map to know where it is you are going as it can be easy to get lost. When you arrive I suggest heading straight into the gardens and seeing some of the highlighted places like the grand canal, Swiss lake, Apollo Lake, Pyramid Lake, Apollo baths, and Dauphine’s grove. You’ll find that as you walk through you will bump into other portions of the garden that you didn’t intend to but at least get to see. After the gardens for a few hours, head to the Grand Trianon and the estate of Marie Antoinette. This portion of the grounds opens a few hours later then the palace and is good to show up at it’s opening. Walk through the halls and rooms of the Grand Trianon and then make your way through a few of the gardens. End up at the estate of Marie-Antoinette and see her personal taste in gardening.
After all of that side of the property, it is great to take a lunch by the boat launch on the main canal. Grab a baguette and enjoy the shaded area along the peaceful waterway. If you have time, rent a boat and go down the canal, it is a stunning view of the palace when you are out on the water. After a bite, walk through parts of the gardens you have not seen yet and make your way to the Palace. The two floors of the Palace will take you anywhere from an hour to three hours depending on how much you see. Do not pass up the infamous “Hall of Mirrors” in the palace, it is truly a masterpiece. After seeing most of the palace, I think the best way to end the day is by getting a few macaroons at Laduree located in the gift area of the grounds.
Overall the Palace of Versailles is a great way to enrich in the history of France, see all of the luxury and opulence and re-immerse yourself back in that time period. The gardens are mind blowing and the attention to detail is spectacular.