It's a no-brainer going to the Versailles Palace as it's served by both the RER and SNCF train lines from Paris
Honestly, if a gal whose French suck big time can make it there, so can you!
To go there, just hop on the RER line C to Versailles Rive Gauche . Just make sure your train goes to Versailles Rive Gauche as the end destination. (The train will be marked with a "V" ) After dropping off at Versailles Rive Gauche, follow the crowds on a half-mile walk to the Chateau. It takes about roughly 30 min to get to the Versailles from Paris and the ticket only cost €3.
To travel by the RER C5 to Versailles Rive Gauche (Château de Versailles) you need a "BILLET ILE-DE-FRANCE" which combines Metro inside Paris and the RER trip from the Invalides to Versailles RIVE GAUCHE (do not take the other RER C7 or C8 trains).
You can buy this Billet IDF (3,05 € since 1/07/2010) as well as the return ticket at the metro stations desks or the machines. For details see my tip at Paris Transportation RER.
You have to validate your ticket when you enter your Metro station but also when entering the RER platforms and leaving the station of Versailles. So keep your ticket for the entire trip.
When arriving on the platform of the RER station, for example Invalides or St-Michel NotreDame, look well out to take the right RER C5 to Versailles RIVE GAUCHE. There are trains about every 25 minutes and the trip takes 30 minutes. The RER of 08.26 h at Invalides will bring you at the opening of the Château gates at 9.00 h.
As of January 2009, it appears that they've discontinued the Forfait Loisirs, too bad it was very convenient
It's very simple to do a day trip on your own from Paris to the palace at Versailles. We were staying near Invalides so we walked to the Invalides RER station, bought our Forfait Loisirs ticket that included the return trip on the train plus admission to the palace.
We took the RER C line, direction Versailles Rive Gauche (train called VICK) and got off at Versailles Rive Gauche station. For the train we were on, Versailles Rive Gauche was the end of the line and coming back, Invalides was the end of the line. The platform was clearly marked at Invalides and we had no trouble figuring out what train to get on to get us back. The train took about 40 minutes and they run fairly frequently.
There are several other options using the SCNF trains from Saint-Lazare station or Montparnasse station or by bus listed on the website attached.
Once we got off the train, it was only about a 5 minute walk to get to the palace and it was clearly marked which way to go plus we had a herd of people to follow to get there.
Motorways links Versailles to the two main International airports serving Paris .
ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE is 40 kms in the North and ORLY 25 kms in the East.
Take the Air-France shuttle of the Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport to go to Porte Maillot and then take a taxi to go to Versailles or to go to Montparnasse train station and then take the train until Versailles-Chantiers.
Take the Air-France shuttle of the Orly airport to arrive either at the Invalides train station and then take the RER C to Versailles-Rive Gauche or at the Montparnasse train station and then take the train to Versailles-Chantiers.
We took the train to Chateau Versailles in Invalides train station.
We bought the combined return journey and entrance pass.
It cost 17.90 euros aprox, and with this pass gives you priority acces to the chateau, the grand and pettit trianon, the gardens and groves, the musical fountain display and the coach museum.
The visit to the gardens can be done on foot, but it's more easy and confortable to do by the mini train. The train visits the Grand Canal, the park, the Petit Trianon and The Grand Trianon before going back to the Chateau of Versailles. The price can be different, it depends by the stop from which you start and where you want to stop.
You can also visit the park as the kings or a queen used to do, renting one of the carriages that tour the park. The departure point of these carriages is in front of this 'parterre'.
This service works in Versailles from Tuesday to Sunday.
Versailles is just outside of Paris. Here is how you can get to Versailles from Paris :
Take the Motorway A13 (direction Rouen), exit Versailles-Château to get to Versailles.
I went by car from Paris to Versailles and had no troubles in getting there. Just outside the Palace there is a huge parking lot (place d'Armes) where you can park your car (payed parking) and walk to the Palace.
By train :
RER ligne C direction Versailles-rive-gauche-château
from Montparnasse station train SNCF direction Versailles-Chantiers
from Saint-Lazare station train SNCF direction Versailles-rive-droite
By bus :
from Pont de Sèvres ligne 171 de la RATP direction Versailles-place d'Armes
We walked from the main palace to Marie Antoinette's estate, the Grand and Petit Trianon, but there's another way to get there if you're not inclined or able to walk long distances.
Once you leave the main part of the Palace, you can head out into the gardens and find Les Petits Trains du Parc de Versailles, a tram that will take you from the Palace to the Petit Trianon, the Grand Trianon and the Grand Canal. According to the website you can get off at each of the stops or stay on the tram, the whole circuit is supposed to take 50 minutes by tram and it says it covers 5 km or about 3 miles.
The tram looks like it currently costs €6, €4.50 for kids 11-18 and disabled visitors and free for kids under 11. The tram is enclosed but didn't seem to have any air conditioning, in the heat we were in, it looked like the people inside were baking behind the glass windows.
We also saw people in golf carts, the Versailles website says they are only for people with limited mobility so I don't know how you go about arranging for these.
28 euros per hour is the price to rent a golf cart ,plus you have a special route you can only use ,otherwise the vehicule stops. It is equipped with sound system that guides you and tells you info on the major sites. Plus it's great fun to bounce with speed through the holes on the road and scream :)))
As the cart's route doesn't pass by the Queen's Hamlet , make sure to not miss is - it's my best memory from Versailles.
Be sure to be at the kiosk early enough as they are closing around 17h - We were lucky to catch the last vehicule ,but there were NOT SO LUCKY group of americans that were left without their cart.