Roughly 20km (12 miles) outside the centre of Paris is one of the true treasures of France, and quite possibly the most opulent (a hard accolade to receive). The Palace of Versailles’ lavish royal apartments, reimbued with most of their furnishings that were stolen during the French Revolution, are a sight to behold, with paintings, gilded furnishings and magnificent chandeliers. Although only a royal residence from 1682 to 1789 (start of the Revolution) Versailles remains a unique snapshot of the decadence of the ruling classes that ultimately led to so much unrest in the country.
The grounds of the palace are formed of sprawling, manicured gardens that can also take a considerable amount of time to explore. Tours of Versailles from Paris are a great way to maximise your time there, while also combining the transport and learning that can be garnered from knowledgeable guides. There are plenty of good tours available from Paris, and here are four of the very best that you can get for your euros.
FROM: €85/per person
The best way to explore a marvel like Versailles is when most of the crowds have already finished and gone home. This tour aims to get you through the door at the latest possible entry time, so that you can experience the royal rooms and gardens as they were intended. The fully guided tour of both palace and gardens also ensures you can learn the important facts and see the most intriguing aspects of this large site during the visitation time. Tour transport from Paris is by minibus from a designated meeting point.
From €111/ per person
For anybody who’d prefer to be collected directly from their hotel, this tour begins with a special pick-up service. At Versailles, you will be able to skip the queues and get straight to exploring some of the 700 rooms of the palace, aided by your guide, who will point out features of particular interest. There will be plenty for time for a stroll around the gardens on this six-hour tour, before being dropped off at your hotel again. Food and entry to the Trianons is not included, but transportation, the guided tour and queue-jump tickets are.
From €90/ per person
If time is an issue and you’d prefer to avoid the group-tour dynamic, this four-hour private tour is a great solution. With a round-trip from your hotel in Paris, your own guide and a queue jump entrance ticket to save time, this tour is especially useful for seeing the highlights of Versailles, such as the State Rooms and the Hall of Mirrors. There should also be some free time to wander through the gardens before the return leg to your hotel. There are various guides who collectively cover a multitude of languages including English, Spanish, German, Japanese and Chinese.
From €44/ per person
If you’re not staying in a hotel that offers breakfast and you’d prefer to get the day started with a full belly, this is an excellent tour. Starting with a trip to Ore Restaurant, the tour then heads to Versailles, where the queue-jump ticket allows access to the palace, gardens and the Trianons. This is an excellent value tour for all of this, and although there is no guide to help you reach the highlights, an audio guide (available in 11 languages, including English) is included in the price to add context to the wonderful rooms through which you’ll wander. The tour begins and ends at a designated meeting point in Paris.