Are you planning to visit the Palace of Versailles from Paris? If so, you may be wondering: what is the easiest, most stress-free way to get to Versailles, and how can you get the most out of your experience - especially if you want to avoid wasting time in the notoriously long lines at the Chateau's entrance?
Fortunately, you can choose from many excellent guided tours that allow you to go through a special priority fast-track entrance gate for use only by group tours. Some of them also include transportation on comfortable air-conditioned coaches. For others, you'll meet your guide in Paris and go to Versailles together on the train.
However, sorting through all the tour choices and options can be challenging, especially if you're planning your first or even your second visit.
To make choosing the best tour for you easy, we've compiled a list of the 8 best Versailles Palace tours from Paris. It includes guided tours with bus or train transportation from Paris, guided tours where you take the train to Versailles on your own, and a fun category of guided bike tours of the Chateau de Versailles and its vast Estate.
Top photo: The Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles
Best Guided Tours of the Palace of Versailles with Transportation from Paris
1. From Paris: Full Day Guided Tour of Versailles with Lunch & Transportation
The highly-rated Full-Day Guided Tour of Versailles starts with a comfortable trip by air-conditioned coach from Paris.
Your expert guide will whisk you through a special entrance and take you on a tour of the most spectacular Palace rooms, such as the magnificent Hall of Mirrors. You'll get to enjoy entertaining stories about the history of Versailles and life at the Royal Palace as you explore the Sun King's home.
After your Palace tour, you'll have free time to stroll through the beautiful formal Palace Gardens, where you'll have lunch at around noon.
During the afternoon, your guide will show you Versailles' other most important sights: the Grand Trianon, Petit Trianon, and Marie Antoinette's Estate including her charming Hamlet before your relaxing return to Paris by bus.
2. Skip-the-Line Versailles Palace Guided Tour by Train from Paris
You'll meet your guide for the Skip-the-Line Versailles Palace Tour by Train in central Paris and travel together to the famous Chateau.
After passing quickly through the priority entrance reserved for tour groups, your 3-hour journey through the opulent Palace begins.
Your knowledgeable guide will keep you informed and entertained as you visit the Royal Apartments, Hall of Mirrors, and other opulent rooms, as well as the spectacular gardens. Depending on the day of the week, you'll see the enchanting Musical Gardens or Musical Fountains show.
After your tour, you can head straight back to Paris on the train if your schedule is tight. But if you have enough time for a longer visit, you can linger in the gardens, walk around the Grand Canal, and perhaps even enjoy a delicious French dinner in a nearby bistro before taking the train to Paris.
3. Versailles Palace & Gardens: Ticket, Audio Guide, & Bus from Paris
If you want the convenience of bus transportation to and from Paris but prefer audio guides or exploring independently rather than taking a guided tour, then the Versailles Palace & Gardens: Ticket, Audio Guide, & Bus from Paris may be an excellent choice for you.
You can choose a half-day (with morning or afternoon arrival) or a full day at the Chateau. For the half-day afternoon tour, your ticket will give you access to the Palace and Gardens, where you can experience a Musical Fountains show or Musical Gardens on days when they take place. When you choose the full-day excursion, you will also get access to the Grand and Petit Trianons, as well as to Marie Antoinette's Estate. All options include an audio guide.
A host will accompany you on the air-conditioned bus from Paris and make sure you get through the skip-the-line entry to the Palace. From there, you can spend your time discovering all the exciting wonders of this spectacular UNESCO World Heritage site.
4. From Paris: Day Trip to Giverny & Versailles
To visit both Claude Monet's home and gardens at Giverny as well as the Palace of Versailles in one day from Paris, this Day Trip to Giverny & Versailles Palace & Gardens makes that easy to do, thanks to the included transportation on a comfortable air-conditioned coach.
You can choose guided tours at both places or opt for an audio guide. Whichever you choose, your day will include a break to enjoy a tasty lunch with your group in Giverny.
The Giverny portion of the tour includes a ticket to Monet's house and gardens. At Versailles, your ticket also admits you to the Palace and Gardens, except on days when the Fountains Show or Musical Gardens takes place.
Best Skip-the-Line Guided Tours of the Palace of Versailles
5. Versailles Palace: Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
The Versailles Palace: Skip-the-Line Guided Tour is perfect if you want to explore the spectacular Palace with an expert and learn a bit about Louis XIV (the "Sun King"), Marie Antoinette, and the leading members of the French monarchy who once lived here.
After you meet your guide and go into the Palace through the priority entrance, your guide will introduce you to this architectural masterpiece. Then, as you explore the most important rooms, such as the elaborate King's and Queen's Royal Apartments and the magnificent Hall of Mirrors, your guide will point out treasures you might not see on your own.
When you book: You can choose to do this tour with a group or as a private experience.
After your tour, you can continue exploring the Palace on your own, but please note: this tour does not include access to the Gardens. If you want to also tour the sumptuous Gardens, with or without a guide, during the period when the Musical Garden and Musical Fountains shows take place, you'll need a ticket - so check out the following option below!
6. Versailles Palace & Gardens: Skip-the-Line Guided Tour
Like the previous tour, the Versailles Palace & Gardens Skip-the-Line Guided Tour includes fast entry to the Palace through the priority gate used by tour guides. You also get a fascinating guided tour of the Palace's most important rooms and can choose between a group and a private experience.
But here's the difference: This offer also includes a ticket to the statue-filled Royal Gardens (on days when they're not free) where you can see beautiful flowers and ornate fountains. Your ticket to the Gardens also includes Musical Fountains or Musical Gardens, depending on the day.
When you book your ticket, you can include a guided tour of the Gardens - or choose just to get an entry ticket and explore on your own.
Best Guided Bike Tours of Versailles
7. Versailles Bike Tour with Palace & Queen's Farm Entrance
On the Versailles Bike Tour with Palace & Queen's Farm Entrance, you'll meet up with your guide and the rest of your tour group in Paris and take the train together to Versailles.
Once there, you'll visit the traditional farmers' market to pick up cheese, fruits, and charcuterie for a picnic lunch later in the day by the Grand Canal.
After a quick stop to pick up your bike (plus rain ponchos, just in case!), you're off to cycle around the Chateau's landscaped parklands and sumptuous gardens. With over 2,000 acres, the place is enormous - so you'll appreciate having both a guide and a bike!
Your guide will also take you to see the smaller palaces of the Grand and Petit Trianons as well as Marie-Antoinette's Hameau, her rustic village, and her farm. Meanwhile, your guide will share lots of information about the incredible places you're seeing as well as the colorful French kings and queens who once lived there.
Finally, you'll visit the Palace of Versailles with the skip-the-line entry ticket included as part of your tour. This portion of the trip is on your own, so you can use the included audio guide and explore the Hall of Mirrors and other opulent rooms at your own pace before heading back to Paris on the train.
8. Paris: Versailles Sunset Bike Tour with Fireworks Show (& After-Hours Palace Entrance!)
The Paris: Versailles Sunset Bike Tour with Fireworks Show gives you three phenomenal experiences:
1. The spectacular evening Fountains Show in Versailles' Royal Gardens
2. Exclusive after-hours admission to the Palace where you'll see costumed performers and musicians as they sing, dance, and play musical instruments as you explore the Royal Chambers and other famous rooms without encountering crowds of other visitors.
3. An unforgettable fireworks display over the Grand Canal.
In addition, you'll have plenty of time to ride your bike around the Estate with your guide and see the famous gardens, the Petit Trianon and Grand Trianon, and Marie-Antoinette's Hamlet. You'll even enjoy a picnic dinner.
Similar to the previous daytime tour by bike, you'll meet your guide in central Paris and go together to Versailles on the train. Once you reach Versailles and pick up your bike, you'll head to the market square to pick up food for a picnic dinner.
Once you reach the Palace grounds, you'll explore the estate, with stops at Marie-Antoinette's Hameau, the Petit and Grand Trianons, and finally the Grand Canal, where you'll enjoy your picnic dinner.
Finally, you'll get after-hours entrance to the Palace and Gardens, where the magical evening entertainment unfolds.
After the fireworks, you'll return to Paris by train where your tour ends.
Musical Fountains photo credit: Yann Caradec