In this four-hour Versailles Palace Tour excursion from Paris we will join a historian to see the magnificent château and jardins of Versailles, the seat of the royal court from 1682 until the Revolution. As we walk with an expert in history or art history, we’ll contextualize the architectural and historical significance of this immense site—including the expansive royal gardens designed by renowned landscape architect André Le Nôtre—all the while taking in its awe-inspiring beauty.
Arriving at Versailles, we’ll begin our tour with the royal gardens, taking in the carefully manicured hedges, reflecting pools, and artfully carved open-air statues. We will dissect Louis XIV's powerful solar myth which led to Le Nôtre’s conception of these gardens, and contributed to the decorating scheme of the State Apartments. Next, we'll proceed inside for our Versailles Palace Tour. Upon entering, we will talk about the château's successive architectural evolutions during the reigns of Louis XIII to the 19th century, including Louis XIV’s addition of more wings, the marble court, and the famous Hall of Mirrors. (For more on the French monarchy, try our French Revolution Tour Paris
.) Throughout the tour, we’ll immerse ourselves in the lavish narrative of Versailles, and as our walk comes to a close, come away with a better understanding of Le Nôtre’s innovative designs and their relationship to Louis XIV's commitment to maintaining his image as the Sun King.
Miscellaneous Notes About Our Tour
During the summer, there is a special music & fountain show on Saturdays and Sundays. On Tuesdays and Fridays, there is music, but no fountain show. On these days, the bosquets and groves are all open. On the other days of the week (Wednesday, Thursday), and in the winter months, they are not open, nor are the fountains on. Much of the site is closed on Mondays.
What is a private tour?
Our private tours are limited exclusively to travelers in your party. They are designed to provide a learning experience that is completely tailored to you and your traveling companions. Private tours give you more flexibility with scheduling (you decide when the walk best fits in your trip), the ability to tailor your itinerary (we'll work to match the itinerary to the interests and dynamics of your group), and more personalized time with your guide.
What is a semi-private tour?
Our semi-private tours cover many of the same itineraries as our private tours, but they place you with other travelers in groups of 6 or less. They operate on a pre-scheduled calendar, and are designed to provide an opportunity to engage with and learn from other travelers. Most of our semi-private tours require at least three (3) participants to run, although there is some variation from walk to walk. However, there is some variation from walk to walk. As you sign up for a tentative walk we display the minimum number required in order to confirm.
Where does the tour start? Where does it end?
The tour meets in Paris, near the train station. Your confirmation will have the exact meeting point. Your guide will help you purchase the train tickets, and then you will take the train together. The ride is about 45 minutes, and is part of the overall 4 hour duration of the tour. You will end the tour in Versailles. Your train ticket is round-trip, and you can return to Paris at your leisure.
Does the tour include the interior of the palace?
Yes, our tour will include the interior of the palace as well as the magnificent gardens surrounding the palace.
Does the tour include the Trianon Palace and Marie Antoinette's Hamlet?
No, but you can visit these on your own after the tour (if booking a morning tour), or you can arrange a full-day private tour with us. Please contact us for more details about this latter option.
Will the fountains be turned on?
Fountain shows are scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays, April 1-October 31. There are also fountain shows on certain Tuesdays during this period. On all other Tuesdays and Fridays, April-October, there is music in the gardens, but no fountain show. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, April-October, there is no music or fountain show. In the winter months, there is no music or fountain shows on any day.
I see you offer the tour in both the morning and afternoon. Which is better?
We don't necessarily recommend one over the other. The 9 a.m. start time allows you to stay on for the rest of the day to explore the rest of the grounds independently. The afternoon tour would not allow for this, but you do have the benefit of slightly reduced crowds.
Can we take a car instead of the train?
For private tours starting in Paris, yes. Please contact us for pricing. The guide and driver will meet you at your hotel.
Will you pre-purchase entry tickets for us?
Yes, and the tour price includes the entry tickets. Your guide will have them for you at the start of the tour.
Is this tour wheelchair accessible?
This tour is designed to use public transportation to travel to and from Versailles, and unfortunately not all of the RER stops are wheelchair accessible. Please contact us to discuss in more detail your mobility concerns so that we can best advise. We are also happy to design a private, customized tour using car service for visitors with mobility concerns.
Is this tour appropriate for children?
For families with children, we recommend our Versailles for Kids tour
, which looks at the site through an age-appropriate lens.