UPDATES FOR 2011.
On the left A = Palace main entrance for individual visitors with tickets.
Tickets for individual visitors are sold at the Billeterie, building on the left called aile Sud des Ministres - South Ministers' Wing.
If you came only to visit the Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate purchase your tickets directly at the entrance of the Grand Trianon or Marie-Antoinette's Estate.
On the right B = Groups access.
OPENING TIMES :
1/11 - 31/03/2011
Every day except Mondays, 9 – 17.30 h
Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate.
Every day except Mondays, 12 – 17.30 h
Garden and Park.
Every day except Mondays, 8 – 18 h.
1/04 - 31/10/2011
Every day except Mondays, 9 – 18.30.
Trianon Palaces and Marie-Antoinette's Estate.
Every day except Mondays, 12 – 18.30 h.
Garden and Park.
Open every day, 8 – 20.30 h
CLOSING DATES: 1/01, 25/04, 1/05, 13/06, 15/08, 25/12/2011.
The info hereafter for 2008 is outdated but I keep it as a souvenir.
Just back from a visit to Versailles (22/07/2008) I observed that a number of information given on the official website is not actual anymore.
When you pass the exterior gate you will have on the left (photo 1) a red panel indicating Billets - Tickets > where you have to buy your ticket (this is unchanged). On the right of that panel stands one with indication A > this entrance is for all individuals having a ticket or a Paris museum pass (photo 2 at 4 pm.).
There is no gate C anymore for the Paris Museum Pass in contradiction with what your will read on the Paris museum pass and previous info from Versailles website. On the extreme right is the entrance for groups.
As more and more visitors buy their ticket in advance you find already a line at 9 hour at the opening of the gate A >. Here visitors pass in a prefab "pavilion" with 3 detector frames (photo 3). They check your bag.
From here you can go where you want, usually the circuit of the "Château de Versailles" with the highlights "Galerie des Glaces" and "Chambre du Roi".
The crowds at the Château de Versailles attain a maximum in summer season, by nice weather (no fun to visit the kilometres of gardens in the rain), and on Tuesday when the Louvre is closed.
Don't think that there will be no lines in the late afternoon. My pic n°4 shows a 200 m line for buying tickets at 16.30 h but on an exceptional sunny day.
In the time of King Louis XIV till Louis XVI an 80 m length monumental gate separated the Main courtyard from the Royal Court. The gate was created by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart about 1680 and was destroyed by the revolutionaries in 1789.
The reconstitution of this Royal Gate started in 2006 and was ended in July 2008. It required 15 tons of iron and the cooperation of the best craftsmen of this art. The gilders patiently applied by hand 100.000 gold sheets. These gold leaves measure 8 X 8 cm and have only 2 microns thickness!
The courtyard of the Château de Versailles appears like it was prior to the French Revolution but there have been a number of critics in France about this reconstitution.
The bronze equestrian statue of Louis XIV set up at this spot in 1836 by king Louis-Philippe has been removed and is being restored. The famous statue, so often photographed by tourists, will not return to its original site now occupied by the restored gate but will be located on the Place d'Armes directly in the axis of the castle.
Sous l'ancien régime un grille monumentale de 80 m de long séparait la Cour d'Honneur de la Cour Royale. Elle fut créée par l'architecte Jules Hardouin-Mansart vers 1680 et détruite à la révolution en 1789.
Sa reconstitution s'est terminée en juillet 2008. Elle a nécessité 15 tonnes de fer et le concours des meilleurs artisans de cet art. Les doreurs ont patiemment appliqués 100.000 feuilles d'or à la main. Ces feuilles d'or mesurent 8 x 8 cm et ont une épaisseur de seulement 2 microns!
La statue équestre en bronze de Louis XIV que le roi Louis-Philippe avait fait ériger en 1836 à l'emplacement de la grille disparue a été enlevée et est actuellement en cours de restauration. Les photos de cette statue publiées encore récemment ici ne sont donc pas des plus actuelles mais il est dit que la célèbre statue de Louis XIV sera placée sur la Place d'Armes dans l'axe du château.
The palace has two floors. On the ground floor there are dophin apartments - royal children. On the second floor there are main apartments, and also apartments of the king and the queen. Besides in the left wing of a building the Museum of history of France is located. the main apartments and the Museum of history are opened for free visiting without a guide.
You can watch my 5 min 30 sec Video Versailles Palace out of my Youtube channel.
The Palace and grounds are the main or perhaps only reason why visitors to Paris make the trek out to Versailles. Even though the palace is partially under construction and seems that it has been for awhile and will be for awhile longer, it's still one of the grandest palaces in Europe thanks to the Sun King (Louis XIV) and his heirs.
I think most visitors follow the same path through the Palace and grounds, start first with the Palace and then onto the gardens and finally to the Grand and Petit Trianon which in those days without modern transport seemed far enough away from the Palace to be a retreat for the kings and queens who got tired of courtiers and decadent palace life.
You can easily spend most of the day here if you see everything there is to see, come armed with a prepurchased pass and avoid the ticket lines, come armed with a picnic lunch and you can enjoy eating it along the banks of the grand canal under the shade of a tree.
When here, you must see the chateau (It is closed on Mondays) It is absolutely breathtaking to see such an enourmous structure which originally started out as a small hunting lodge turn into the largest palace in Europe. It was started by Louis XIII in 1623, then greatly expanded by Louis XIV. By 1682, it become the official residence of the Court of France. Work was finally completed on the Grand Staircase in 1985. At the chateau's pinnacle, it was said to be able to hold up to 20,000 servants. It's no wonder the French people started a revolution!
After collecting our headsets, the Royal Chapel was the 1st room on the tour of the interior of the Palace. You can't enter the chapel so you and 50 other people will likely be jostling each other in the entrance way in order to try and snap a photo. The architecture is both gothic with stained glass, and gargoyles and baroque with carved pillars, painted vaults, and marble tiling.
The last three kings, Louis XIV, VX and XVI, attended mass here on the upper level of the chapel, the downstairs nave was filled with courtiers and ladies of the court.
Chateau de Versailles (Versailles)
Huge chateau built by Louis XIV, the Sun King. Very luxurious, and home to the fabled Hall of Mirrors. (Be warned it's crowded) You can also tour the king's apartments or the Parlimentary Museum. There is also a hall filled with beautiful paintings of all the battles France has been in since the time of Clovis and statues of famous Frenchmen.
We saw Versailles on a hot and sunny June Saturday. Needless to say, it was crowded. Our entrance to the palace was delayed on account of a union "situation". Although we arrived at 10:30 the line at the entrance was at a standstill but fortunately, said situation was resolved within around 20 minutes.
That being said, even though we had a delay and the crowds seemed astronomical in proportion, Versailles is fabulous! This is why I took many, many photos and posted them in my travelogues. Hope you enjoy.
The present chapel is the 5th built at Versailles, in 1689-1699, and consecrated in 1710. It is the tallest room in the palace, disrupting the roof-line of the rest of the building.
Decorations throughout the chapel incorporate both Old and New Testament themes.
The sunburst above the altar contains the Tetragrammaton, WHWH, Hebrew letters representing God's name, which in English is translated Jehovah.
A two-storey palatine chapel. Built and decorated from 1699 to 1710 under the direction of Jules Hardouin-Mansart and Robert de Cotte
The Tribune was reserved for the King and the royal family.
The side galleries for the ladies of the court and the ground floor for the rest of the attendees.
As you walk towards the palace the first thing that I saw was the splendor of the fences, which already gives you a clear indication of what is to follow. They are beautiful but a bit over the top.
Here one can write a lovely diary or letters to your family and friends, telling them how fantastic your garden is looking and what is happening in the daily life at Versailles
I am the sun king, here my word counts. You may only speak if I give you permission, and right now, I do not feel like giving you permission to speak. So .............. silence please.
Visit the Royal Palace buildings and gardens.
It will take you several hours to see it all; guided tours are available to show you much more detail and hidden gems.
More pictures at my two Palace of Versailles Travelogues.
When you walk passed the 'Water Parterre' and turn around you have a great view of the backside of the chateau. The whole complex is huge and of course it never fits into one picture. What you see here is only a tiny part of the chateau.