The Palace of Versailles in Yvelines is a historical landmark that was built in the 17th century. The attraction, which covers a vast area of 1,070 ha, is one of Paris' most popular tourist spots. It welcomes approximately 10 million visitors each year, making it the 2nd most-visited monument – just after the Louvre in the Île-de-France region.

Unlike most tourist attractions, one of the best stops at the Palace of Versailles is its onsite gift shop. While you'll still find regular souvenirs like tableware and jewellery, one thing that stands out the most is the availability of paint inspired by the palace interiors. If you're looking to remodel your home, you'll want to consider picking up a can or two from the La Boutique gift shop.

Palace of Versailles - one of the highlights of 14 Most Instagrammable Places in Paris and 10 Best Things to Do in Paris (Read all about Paris here)

A brief history of the Palace of Versailles

From 1682 to 1789, the Palace of Versailles was the royal residence to members of the monarch, including Louis XIV and Louis XVI. Following the fall of the French monarchy, various changes were made to the palace before it became the attraction it is today.

Historically, the Palace of Versailles is one of the most important places when it comes to war-related matters. Several well-known peace treaties that were signed on the palace ground includes the Peace of Paris in 1783 and the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. The latter was also one of the most important treaties globally, as it officially marked the end of WWI. 

In 1979, the palace became one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites. Much of this was thanks to the structure's influence on architecture and landscape design.

What are the highlights at the Palace of Versailles?

Exploring the Palace of Versailles is relatively easy, despite it being a massive complex. By separating the palace grounds into 4 different sections, you’ll be able to see most of the attractions in a day. 

Start by visiting the main palace, where most of the exhibits are. You could spend well over 3 hours just exploring this majestic building – it has over 2,300 rooms, including Marie-Antoinette’s bedroom. The Queen’s Hamlet, built in 1783 for Marie Antoinette, and the Trianon Estate are also must-visits at the Palace of Versailles. 

If you’re not rushing over to another spot in your vacation, it’s a good idea to allocate some time to see the equally enchanting Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon buildings. Finally, you’ll be able to roam the palace gardens where sculptures, fountains, and greenery are aplenty. Picnics are also welcome in the garden. 

There are several restaurants and cafés if you’re feeling hungry during your visit, including the ORE restaurant that’s set by the Dufour Pavilion.

Good to know about the Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is about 20 km southwest of Paris’ city centre. The most convenient way to get there is by hopping on either the RER or SNCF trains. There are 3 stations that you can stop at: Versailles Château–Rive Gauche, Versailles Chantiers, and Versailles Rive Droite. You may have to walk between 10 and 15 minutes after alighting the trains, but the beautiful views along the way compensate for the distance.

Entrance to the Palace of Versailles is complimentary for visitors below the age of 18, while guided tours can be arranged for a small fee. To save queuing times, you can buy tickets online and download a free app that serves as an audio guide. Bear in mind that the palace can get quite busy, especially in summer. To avoid large crowds, it's recommended to visit early in the day or in the late evening.

Palace of Versailles

Location: Place d'Armes, 78000 Versailles, France

Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 9 am to 5.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

Phone: +33 (0)1 30 83 78 00

Elie Lam | Contributing Writer